Colonia may have won last year’s one-off Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams pod, the top grouping in the GMC, and the de facto title game in the COVID-shortened 2021 season, but winning the full-on tournament title is different.
The Patriots will get the chance Friday night, thanks in large part to a huge game from senior guard Saivon Pressley, who had his biggest offensive night in a Colonia uniform in Wednesday night’s first Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinal at Monroe High School.
Pressley put up 35 points – one off his scholastic career-high of 36 he scored against Calvary Christian while at Wardlaw-Hartridge as a sophomore – including six treys – ten percent of his season total team-leading 58 triples – en route to a 70-58 win for the third-seeded Patriots over second-seed St. Joseph of Metuchen.
Colonia led 4-0 early, then 4-2 and never looked back, even when in the second quarter they had built a seven point lead a number of times. Each time the Falcons cut it to a single possession, the Patriots answered right back.
And when they went on a 17-4 run to start the third quarter, went up by 19, and it looked like they’d blow the doors off the thing, Joe’s cut it to four at 61-57, but Colonia punched back yet again, winning by 12 in the end.
The win puts Colonia – now 21-3 in the GMC Tournament final for the first time in four years, and they’ll seek their first title since they beat St. Joe’s in 2015, with Chris Chiera as head coach. That year, the Patriots beat Chatham to win the North 2, Group 3 title, but were eliminated in the Group 3 semifinals by Bergenfield.
To win the title, they will have to beat St. Thomas Aquinas for the first time in three tries this year. Then again, last year, they lost to the Trojans in the shortened regular season, only to turn the tables in the pod final, and win in North Edison, to boot.
Click below for postgame reaction from Colonia’s win over St. Joseph-Metuchen Wednesday night with senior guard Saivon Pressley and head coach Jose Rodriguez: