NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–On Sunday night, GMC Hoops got on the road after work, and headed once more to the College Avenue Barn on the main campus of Rutgers University for another nightcap game of the doubleheader from the Star-Ledger College Summer League. In the finale, D’Annunzio & Sons continued to roll with yet another victory for its eighth straight win while in the opener, AXA Advisors kept pace with the aforementioned league leaders with a victory over the Scarlet Fever.
The first game saw AXA, which has now won three straight, stay within two games of D’Annunzio & Sons thanks to a 108-85 rout of the Fever. Two Rutgers stars, recent St. Anthony’s graduate, Mike Rosario and Earl Pettis (29 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists) each had a game high 29 points for AXA while St. Joseph’s graduate and FDU standout, Sean Baptiste registered a team high 22 points for the losers. On the glass, Jonathan Mitchell (15 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double) grabbed double digit boards with 10 while Jamil Goodwin nabbed a game high 13 for the Scarlet Fever. Mount Vernon’s own Mike Coburn of Rutgers dished out game high 9 assists for AXA while Rob Delaney handed out a team high five for the Fever. Kofi Genfi of Sayreville put in a decent showing with 12 points and 8 rebounds while Goodwin added 11 points to his game high total in boards.
In the nightcap, Nelligan Sports Marketing seemed to be poised on the precipice of a major upset in the league when it held a 76-69 advantage over first place D’Annunzio & Sons with 5:31 to go, but D & S did what all good teams do, and that is find a way to win with clutch defensive plays, particularly by Hamady N’Diaye, and much needed scoring down the stretch for a game ending 17-8 spurt including an 11-0 tear to get the 86-84 win, and clinch the top seed in the upcoming playoffs. Newark Eastside graduate, and current Rutgers star, Corey Chandler pulled out all the stops with a game high 35 points and 5 assists while Chris Gaston of Fordham led Nelligan with a team high 23 points.
N’Diaye had a team high 13 rebounds to go along with 8 points and 8 blocked shots to lead D’ Annunzio down low while Ridgewood standout, and Yale star, Paul Nelson pulled down a more modest 14 rebounds to earn game high honors on the glass. Pedro Burgos handed out a game high in assists as well with 5 for NSM while Pat Jackson came through on the perimeter with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Chris Gaston did what he could to give Nelligan a fighting chance with a double-double effort of 23 points and 11 rebounds while Linden’s Darryl Lampley added 20 points in a losing cause for Nelligan. Lampley’s teammate, Jonathan Jones, who plays at Tennessee Tech, didn’t back down an inch to the likes of N’Diaye with his hard drives to the basket for rim rocking dunks and jams that were worth noting here as well.
GMC Hoops entered the gym with 14:03 to go in the first half with the score 12-10 in favor of D’Annunzio & Sons. Seven seconds later, Chandler added a layin for a 14-10 lead at the 13:56 mark. Nelligan then added a pair of free throws to close the gap to two once more at 14-12 with 13:41 to play. Chandler continued the mano a mano battle as he clicked on a short jumper for a 16-12 D & S lead at the 13:27 mark. Jones, who put on an athletic display throughout, grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in for a 16-14 D’Annunzio lead with just inside 13 minutes left in the first half. Then, on a subsequent possession, Jamal McBride from Franklin Township, went to work on the boards with two offensive rebounds for a putback, and an 18-14 D’Annunzio & Sons lead, but Nelligan promptly responded a bit more than a half minute later with a three pointer to pull within one at 18-17 with 11:42 left in the first half.
Sunday night’s nightcap marked the site’s first sighting of former Colonia standout, Kevin Edmonds, who now plays at Carl Albert Junior College in Oklahoma. This summer, Edmonds plays with D’Annunzio & Sons, and he made his presence felt with a three pointer from the left wing to expand the lead to four at 21-17, but Nelligan promptly responded once more in the form of a trey of its own from Bloomfield Tech’s R.J. Hall, who is going to attend Marist in the fall, to make it 21-20 at the 11:08 mark. Nick Del Tufo, who played high school ball and Mendham in Morris County, and now plays in college at Monmouth, came up with an offensive rebound and follow for a 23-20 lead, and sparked a 9-3 run that made the score 30-23 before Nelligan got a three pointer from the left baseline by Chris Gaston to make the score, 30-26 at the 8:33 mark.
The three pointer by Nelligan sparked a 6-0 rally that was capped by a jam at the 7:45 mark of the first half for a 30-29 D & S lead as D’Annunzio head coach, Corey Lowery, called a 30 second timeout. Following the stoppage, Plainfield’s own Anthony Nelson, who briefly played at St. Joseph’s during his freshman year, and now plays college ball at Niagara, netted two free throws for a 31-30 Nelligan lead with 7:08 left in the first half. D’Annunzio & Sons then came up with a long two to grab the lead back, but then Lampley drained a three that brought back memories of his performance against South Brunswick in the 2007 Group IV State Championship game at the RAC about a year and a half ago to give Nelligan at 34-32 lead at the 6:36 mark.
Coming to the rescue for D & S was Pat Jackson, who drained a three pointer, and connected on a long two for a personal 5-0 run, and a 37-34 lead. The game continued to seesaw back and forth as Nelligan embarked on a 6-1 run that was capped by a nice dish from Lampley to Jones for a jam, and a 40-38 lead at the 3:47 mark. D & S replied with five straight points of its own including a three pointer from the right wing by Edmonds to go ahead, 43-40 at the 2:31 mark. Nine seconds later though, Nelligan promptly responded with another Lampley three for a 43-43 tie at the 2:22 mark. Over the next 29 seconds, D’Annunzio & Sons scored the next four points including a pair of charity shots by Chandler for a 47-43 lead only to have Nelligan knot the game up again with four unanswered of its own in just a 19 second span including a steal and assist on a Lampley layup for a 47-47 tie at the 1:34 mark.
Justin Garris of NJIT, who played high school basketball in Morris County, then got a field goal and a layup for a four point, 51-47 D & S lead before Lampley netted another trey to close out the first half scoring with a 51-50 score at the brief intermission. During the course of the first half, neither team had a lead bigger than four points while there were a total of eight lead changes and two ties in the final 7:08 of the half. After some chatting with Jay Gomes of NJ Hoops during the course of the intermission and early part of the second half, GMC Hoops returned to the action with D & S leading by five, 57-52 thanks to a 6-2 start to the new period. Chandler then drained a three pointer from the left wing for a 60-52 advantage at the 17 minute mark. Chris Gaston got some of that back for Nelligan with a layin at the 16:45 mark for a 60-54 score.
Over the next forty-four seconds, Nelligan got two more scores including a short bank shot from the left side by Hall to close to within four again at 62-58 at the 16:01 mark. NSM had a chance to get closer, but Jonathan Jones misfired on a couple of free throws at the 14:36 lead. Edmonds then got on the board for D & S when he was fouled on a layin attempt that produced two free throws, and a 64-58 lead at the 14:16 mark. A short time later, D’Annunzio & Sons tried to expand its edge to eight points, but Jones came up with a steal for an emphatic jam, and a 64-60 D’Annunzio lead with 13:40 remaining. Gaston then followed that up with an offensive rebound and putback that closed the gap to two again at 64-62 as Lowery called for a full timeout to regroup his D’Annunzio & Sons squad with exactly thirteen minutes to play. Following the timeout, Nelligan scored six of the next eight points to take its first lead since the 3:47 mark of the first half at 68-66 with 9:13 to play.
Twenty-four seconds later, Roberto dished to Jones for another emphatic two handed slam for a 70-66 edge at the 8:49 mark. It was at this point that perhaps D’Annunzio & Sons realized the gravity of the situation. Twenty-seven seconds later, Chandler took a pass from Edmonds, and clicked for a three that pulled D’Annunzio within one at 70-69 with 8:21 remaining. Moments later though, Nelson came up with a three point play for a four point lead, and then Nelligan added a field goal before Gaston clicked on a baseline jumper from the left side for a 76-69 advantage at the 5:31 mark. Sensing the urgency of the situation, Chandler got D & S going again by drawing a foul on a three point attempt, which resulted in 2 of 3 at the line for a 76-71 Nelligan lead at the 5:10 mark. Then, after a jumper by Hall put NSM back up by seven, N’Diaye netted a hook shot for a 78-73 score with 4:41 left. The N’Diaye bucket sparked a 7-0 spurt that was capped by a Chandler dish to Justin Garris on the left wing for a jumper that tied the score again at 78-78 with 3:27 to play.
Following a Nelligan Sports Marketing timeout at the 3:21 mark, N’Diaye came up with a huge block on the defensive end that led to a Pat Jackson three point play at the other end, and put D’Annunzio & Sons back out in front for the first time in 6:16 at 81-78 with 2:57 left. Neither team scored for a bit over a minute before a timeout was called at the 1:50 mark. With 1:22 remaining, Chandler had an opportunity to put D & S up by five, and perhaps sow up the game, but misfired on the front end of a one and one. However, the Newark native would make up for that with a dish to N’Diaye for a two handed jam and the foul some 18 seconds later for a traditional three point play, and an 84-78 lead. Despite a late three by Nelligan, D & S was able to avoid the upset with a hard fought, 86-84 win. With the victory, D’Annunzio & Sons improved to 8-1 overall on the season, and clinched the top seed and a first round bye in the upcoming playoff round.
|D’Annunzio & Sons (8-1)||51||35||86|
|Nelligan Sports Marketing (3-6)||50||34||84|