The St. Thomas Aquinas girls’ basketball team had done its part, and it was all up to the boys.
The Trojans had beaten Colonia twice this regular season, and even once last regular season. But in the 2021 Towns/Williams GMC top pod, the Patriots got the better of them.
They almost let it happen twice.
Third-seed Colonia jumped out to an 11-2 lead with a balanced scoring attack, a three by red-hot senior Saivon Pressley, and buckets from Jaeden Jones, Billy Anderson and Justin Gordon.
But the top-seeded Trojans – ranked third in New Jersey – were too talented and had come to far to let it go that way the rest of the night. In fact, they answered with an 11-2 run of their own to tie the score at 30-30.
Then they took the lead, and never looked back, even though Colonia would mount a furious comeback. They just couldn’t get close enough to get over the hump.
A major reason why was a thorn in every opponent’s side this season, senior Adam Silas, who recorded yet another – his fifth – career high game in the 2021-22 campaign. Silas scored an all-time high school personal best 37 points – 18 in the first half, 19 in the second – to help give his team the 69-53 win, and a second straight GMC Tournament title.
He finished the county playoffs with 86 points in four games, and was named the GMC Tournament MVP.
Click below for postgame reaction from Silas and head coach Bob Turco, who joined Mike Pavlichko live on the postgame show:
- St. Thomas Aquinas is now a perfect 3-0 in the GMC Finals. As the 2nd-seed, they beat 4th-seed South Brunswick in the 2020 final by a 63-52 score. Their only appearance prior to that was in 1992 under the Bishop Ahr moniker. Like this year, they were the top seed, and beat 2-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen 61-47. Bill Leahy was the Trojans’ head coach, while the legendary John Somogyi coached the Falcons.
- Aquinas head coach Bob Turco is now one of 13 coaches with multiple GMC Tournament wins. He’s 2-1, with both wins at his current school. The lone loss came in 2010, as head coach at Monroe, to his brother, Dave, at St. Joe’s. Dave is 8-4 (7-3 with the Falcons, 1-1 at the Turcos’ alma mater, Carteret) and was in attendance Friday night, dressed in Kean University blue, where he’s the current head coach (and his high school teammate, Lamont Repollet, is the school’s president).
- The 37 points by Tourney MVP Adam Silas ranks as the second-best single-game performance in the history of the GMC Finals. Only Keith Hughes – who scored 40 in Carteret’s 1986 title win scored more. If you include the Middlesex County Tournament (1965-1985), two more were better than that: Gary Brokaw of New Brunswick scored 46 in a losing effort against Metuchen in 1971, and John Somogyi of now-defunct St. Peter’s in New Brunswick poured in 49 in 1968’s title game against unseeded Piscataway.
- Silas’ three treys were also fourth-most in a GMC final. 13 others have done it, the most recent being Karl Towns of St. Joe’s. Three players have hit four in a game, and two have hit five. Darren Smith of South Plainfield holds the record with six.
- While Aquinas is 3-0 in GMC finals, Colonia is 5-4 all-time in MCT/GMCT championship games.
- While it woulnd’t have mattered who won the game, the GMC White Division officially has now won 13 titles, trailing the Red Division by ten. It’s won 23, the Blue has won 6, and no Gold team has ever taken the title.
- It was also the 26th title for the No. 1 seed in the tournament. But winning it all is hardly a lock when facing the No. 2 seed. When the top two teams make the final, the No. 1 seed is now 15-11, including 9-6 in the GMC and 5-5 in the MCT.