Vikings Return to Action with Solid Win Over Rival North Brunswick, 71-49
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—After having its roster depleted by COVID prior to its opening day loss at J.P. Stevens (44-40), and then shutting things down for another week, South Brunswick returned to the hardwood with an opening round match-up versus North Brunswick in the 2021 Brunswick Classic at East Brunswick. The Vikings looked like their usual selves in a 71-49 win over the arch rival Raiders.
Led by the play of senior guard, Yathin Vemula, who had a team high of 13 points, South Brunswick had 8 different players get into the scoring column including four in double figures. The Vikings, which were ranked 4th in the GMC Hoops Pre-Season Top Ten, outscored North Brunswick 58-34 from inside the arc, and 7-6 from the line in the victory.
Junior guard Kalani Antoine chipped in with 12 points including a highlight reel bucket in the second half while seniors Damien Downes and Shyheim Davis each added 10. Senior Ian Morris led all scorers with a game high 15 points while football standout Brandon Harrison and Jurmire Jones each chipped in with 10 points in a losing cause for North Brunswick.
The Vikings had some difficulty shaking off the Raiders early on, which is not surprising since these two schools are fierce long time rivals, and you can throw the records out when they play each other. South Brunswick took a 14-11 first quarter lead as the Vikes scored the final four points of the period including a transition layup from sophomore forward Daniel Swirad off a feed from Downes.
South Brunswick began the second with 6 of the first 9 points including a turnaround jumper by Vemula that got a kind bounce for a 20-14 lead with 6:30 remaining in the half. The Vikings then scored 5 of the next 7 including a layup by football standout, Brian Rawls Jr., off a dish from Antoine for a 25-16 advantage at the 4:50 mark of the 2nd.
North Brunswick wouldn’t go away quietly though as Morris converted a traditional three point play to close the gap to 35-24 at the intermission after SBHS scored 11 of the previous 16 points. Downes highlighted the Viking run with a transition score off a feed from Davis, who added a foul line jumper as well. South Brunswick gradually began to pull away in the third quarter.
After Brandon Lee gave the Vikings a 39-27 lead with a layup in the paint off a great feed from Vemula with 4:38 to go in the frame. The Vikes then scored 6 of the next 8 points including a circus shot from Antoine that got a kind roll for a 45-29 advantage with 2:59 remaining in the third. North Brunswick tried to revive itself with a short jumper late in the period from Jones, but still trailed 49-33 heading into the fourth.
The Raiders began the fourth with some promise as they outscored the Vikings by a margin of 11-6 over the first 3:50 of the final frame including a three from the top of the key Morris to pull within 11 at 55-44 with just over four minutes to play. However, North Brunswick was unable to get any closer as South Brunswick closed the game on a 16-5 spurt including a pull-up jumper by Davis with 2:16 to play, and another score from Lee with 1:45 left to wrap up the 71-49 victory.
With the win, South Brunswick improved to 1-1 overall on the season, and were scheduled to take on Ridge, a replacement for New Brunswick on Thursday, the final day of action at the Brunswick Classic at EBHS starting at 2:30 PM. Meanwhile, North Brunswick fell to 0-4, and will return to GMC White play next week with a home game versus Colonia on January 4th, a visit to J.F. Kennedy on January 6th, and a non-conference tilt versus Ridge at home on January 8th.