First Quarter Run by Gill Too Much to Overcome
ROSELLE, NJ–The time of year might be early January, but for the Sayreville Bombers, it is already close to mid-season. Monday night’s nightcap game at the 2017 Eric LeGrand Classic at Roselle Catholic High School was the eighth game of the season for the Bombers.
And, the Bombers haven’t ducked anyone. Despite losing its season opener to 9th ranked North Brunswick in a double overtime thriller, Sayreville has gone 5-2, and played the likes of Middletown North, Mater Dei, Bishop Ahr, and Colonia. Add Gill St. Bernard’s to that grueling early season schedule.
The Knights were coming off their holiday tournament in Paterson over the holidays, and would represent another tough test from a Non-Public B South squad for the Bombers. Sayreville lost to Mater Dei, a team Gill dispatched in the 2016 Non-Public B South semifinals, in the Championship Game of the 2016 Albert E. Martin Buc Classic over the holidays.
Sayreville started out fast by scoring the first five points on a three pointer and a jumper from Henny Mautes. However, Gill put together a 15-0 tear over a three minute span to take a 15-5 lead, and despite the Bombers pulling within two on a number of occasions late in the first half and early in the second, it was able to maintain control of the game, and eventually lead by double figures in the fourth quarter before winning, 58-49.
Leading the way in the victory was Paul Mulcahy, who had a game high of 14 points. T.J. Chaney chipped in with 9 points including a key three pointer while being fouled for a 35-30 lead. Alex Shachne and Evan Storch also contributed with 9 points. Meanwhile, the Bombers also had a balanced attack with four different players scoring in double figures. Mautes, Ryan O’Leary, and Jahsim Floyd each had 12 while Xavier Townes chipped in with 11.
Gill’s decisive first quarter run was highlighted by a three from Chaney and a pull-up jumper from the right wing by Shachne at the 3:55 mark for a 12-5 lead. Sayreville battled back by scoring 7 of the last 9 points of the period including a three by O’Leary and two layups from Mautes, who scored 9 of his points in the opening period. Trailing 17-12 at the start of the second, Sayreville opened the frame with a 6-3 run including a layup by Jahsim Floyd, who powered down the left lane for the score at the 4:47 mark.
The Knights responded with six unanswered points for a 26-18 lead before Townes stroked a trifecta from the right wing at the 2:07 mark to pull the Bombers within five. Mautes then followed suit with a trey of his own about a minute or so late to close the gap to 26-24. However, Gill ended the first half scoring with a three of its own to take a 29-24 lead into the intermission.
Sayreville got off to another solid start in the third by scoring 6 of the first 9 points including a three pointer from the left corner by O’Leary for a 32-30 Gill lead at the 5:35 mark. The Bombers stayed within two for nearly two minutes before Mulcahy weaved his way upcourt through traffic to flip up a shot from the right lane that banked in for a 37-33 lead at the 3:37 mark of the third.
The Mulcahy bucket sparked a 6-1 run by the Knights including a reverse layup by Mulcahy with 38 seconds left in the stanza for a 41-34 lead. The fourth began with Gill scoring 4 of the first 6 points for a nine point lead before Mautes was able to get his hands on a loose ball, dribble into the Sayreville frontcourt, and lob an alleyoop pass to Floyd who jammed it home for a 45-38 Gill lead with 5:53 remaining.
Gill St. Bernard’s then scored 4 of the next 6 points over a span of 1:48 including a foul line jumper from Mulcahy that got a kind bounce for a 49-40 lead at the 4:05 mark. The Knights then scored 9 of the next 14 points before Townes slashed in from the right side of the floor for a layup to close the gap to 58-47 with just 37 seconds to play. Floyd then scored on a putback in the closing seconds to round out the 58-49 final score.
With the victory, Gill St. Bernard’s improved to 7-2 overall on the season with its only two losses coming at the hands of Don Bosco Prep (64-56) and St. Mary’s of Elizabeth (64-56). Sayreville, which will play St. Mary’s of Elizabeth when the Eric LeGrand Classic shifts to Kean University’s Harwood Arena on January 15th, fell to 5-3 overall with the loss and returns to action on Tuesday night with a game at home against Edison.