It was a clean sweep for the Greater Middlesex Conference on Saturday afternoon, as all three CJSR-area teams moved on to sectional title games next Monday. And one of those title games will be an all-GMC affair.
Both the South Plainfield and Colonia boys’ teams won their North 2, Group 3 semifinal contests Saturday, while the Colonia girls won their Central 3 semifinal as well.
On the boys’ side, the 2nd-seeded Tigers easily handled 3rd-seed West Morris, winning 73-48. The Tigers jumped right out of the gate and held the Wolfpack to just three points in the first quarter with stellar defense, and led 16-3 after the first eight minutes, 37-18 at the half. It was never close the rest of the way. Michael Mendez led the way with 19, while Joseph Oduro chipped in with 17.
Meanwhile, top-seed Colonia fell behind early against 5th-seed Mendham, down 15-6 at one point in the opening period, and 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. But the Patriots put together a run against the Minutemen, and took a six-point lead at the break, 30-24. They never trailed again, and won 62-46, thanks in large part to Saivon Pressley’s offensive firepower. He scored 30 points for the second time in three state tournament games, and is averaging 25 points a game in these playoffs.
Now, Colonia (24-4) and South Plainfield (23-6) will meet for the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 title Tuesday night in Colonia, the last home game for Patriots’ this season. The Tigers have not beaten the Patriots in 18 meetings; their last win was in the 2005 GMC Tournament semifinals, 56-44. That year, South Plainfield – as a third-seed – beat 4th-seed St. Joseph 66-65, with Jeff Lubreski at the helm; Mark Taylor coached the Falcons.
The winner would move on the the Group 3 semifinals Thursday at Phillipsburg High School at 7 pm against Tuesday night’s winner of the North 1, Group 3 Championship Game. That features top-seed Ramapo (21-6) and 2nd-seed Tenafly (20-4).
The 2nd-seeded Colonia girls, meanwhile, continue their historic season with a trip to the Central 3 final Monday night, after a 58-55 win over 3rd-seed Wall. The Patriots (25-4) will play Monday night at top-seed Ewing (24-1), which beat 4th-seed Colts Neck 52-46 Saturday afternoon.
Following is the remaining known state tournament schedule for all the sections where CJSR-area teams remain alive:
MONDAY, MARCH 7
Central Jersey Group 2 Championship:
2-Bound Brook at 1-Rumson-Fair Haven, 6:30 pm
Non-Public North B Semifinals:
4-Morris Catholic at 1-Roselle Catholic
3-Gill St. Bernard’s at 2-Saddle River Day
Non-Public South A Semifinals:
4-St. Joseph-Metuchen at 1-Red Bank Catholic
3-Rutgers Prep at 2-St. Thomas Aquinas (LIVE on CJSR)
Central Jersey Group 3 Championship:
2-Colonia at 1-Wall, time TBA
Non-Public North B Semifinals:
4-Gill St. Bernard’s at 1-Saddle River Day
3-Montclair-Immaculate at 2-Morris Catholic
Non-Public South B Semifinals:
5-St. Rose at 1-Rutgers Prep
3-Gloucester Catholic at 2-Wildwood Catholic
TUESDAY, MARCH 8
North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 Championship:
2-South Plainfield at 1-Colonia, TBA
North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Championship:
6-Hillsborough at 1-Westfield, 7 pm