Each team was missing key players – Terrell Pitts and Jaquan Harris for St. Thomas Aquinas, and Denver Anglin and Naasir Cunnigham for Gill St. Bernard’s – but there was no lack of star power for either side.
Ultimately, it was Adam Silas’ career-high 33 points that powered top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas over 2nd-ranked Gill St. Bernard’s, 65-61, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio Saturday night at the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational at Roselle Catholic.
The senior guard consistently hit big shot after big shot, outudeling Gill’s duo of Mackenzie Mgbako – who finished with 26 for Gill – and Giancarlo Pejuero, who scored all 15 points of his in the second half.
He also had a good supporting cast. Jalen Pichardo played well defensively when he drew Mgbako, Kamal Lee was everywhere on defense and had some key rebounds, and Jaden Kelly had three more treys as Auquinas hit the bottom of the net nine times from downtown. (That was far from the season high they had earlier this week against Sayreville, however, when they dropped 14 from beyond the arc.)
And yet, the game could have been over pretty quickly. Gill jumped out to a 13-point first-quarter lead, and led by as many as 15 in the second quarter, 23-8. But Aquinas put together a 23-4 run the rest of the half and took a 31-27 lead into the locker room.
The lead changed hands a few more times in the third quarter, but Aquinas would pull ahead late, and hold off Gill with solid defense to pull off the victory, to improve to 22-1 on the season, and hold on to the top ranking in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten. The Knights dropped to 13-6.
It was a matchup of two of the top teams in the state, as Gill St. Bernard’s was ranked third in the statewide rankings entering the evening, and the Trojans were ranked fourth.
Gill also was missing head coach Mergin Sina, who injured his back during the week and was in the gym just before tip-off, but apparently couldn’t give it a go on the bench, with assistant Joe McDonald taking over.
Click below for postgame reaction with Aquinas head coach Bob Turco and senior guard Adam Silas:
Hudson Catholic 80, St. Joseph-Metuchen 67
Three Falcons scored in double figures, but St. Joseph of Metuchen fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and couldn’t recover, falling to state-ranked No. 5 Hudson Catholic 80-67 in the first of two games broadcast by Central Jersey Sports Radio from the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational at Roselle Catholic High School Saturday night.
Ethan Simmon scored 24 points and had five treys, but only six came in what turned out to be the pivotal first half, which saw Joe’s (16-5) trail by eleven at the end of the first eight minutes of play, and 16 at the intermission, 43-27.
Josh Ingram added 18, and Amari Campbell chipped in with 15.