The way things have gone with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has put high school sports teams in some strange situations. Add in the usual flurry of transfers, particularly in high school basketball, and not everyone has “veterans” who remember – or even played in – the state tournament.
That’s hardly the case, however, for Gill St. Bernard’s, as the third-seeded Knights get set to play top-seed Roselle Catholic for the Non-Public North B title at Franklin High School at 5 pm this evening.
Gill is ranked fourth in the state, Roselle Catholic Number Two. It’s the biggest matchup you’ll see in the state tournament until the final-ever Tournament of Champions, which begins next week.
And yet, senior Denver Anglin and junior Mackenzie Mgbako remember their last matchup with Roselle Catholic well. At least they should. They were on that 2019-20 team, as a sophomore and freshman, respectively.
It was before the pandemic. Right before the pandemic. It was the last game either team played before the pandemic, and the state tournament was shutdown.
It was an epic battle that saw Roselle Catholic mount a furious rally to win 59-58.
But it wasn’t their first epic battle. The Rams beat the Knights by four the year before, and have now beaten GSB in five straight sectional finals in Non-Public South B, from 2016 to 2020. Roselle Catholic won the tournament of Champions in 2018.
How they got here:
(3) Gill St. Bernard’s: first-round bye; def. 6-Montclair-Immaculate in the quarterfinals, 80-59; def. 2-Saddle River Day in the semifinals, 81-42
(1) Roselle Catholic: first-round bye; def. 8-Wardlaw-Hartridge in the quarterfinals, 109-56; def. 4-Morris Catholic in the semifinals, 93-73
Here’s a look at Gill St. Bernard’s history in the NJSIAA tournament under Mergin Sina, all in Non-Public South B, except where noted:
- 2020: lost to Roselle Catholic in sectional final, 59-58
- 2019: lost to Roselle Catholic in sectional final, 48-44
- 2018: lost to Roselle Catholic in sectional final, 57-40
- 2017: lost to Roselle Catholic in sectional final, 54-51
- 2016: lost to Roselle Catholic in sectional final, 63-52
- 2015: lost in first-round to Holy Spirit, 67-66
- 2014: lost in sectional quarterfinals to Holy Spirit, 67-52
- 2013: lost in sectional semifinals to Patrick School, 70-59
- 2012: Non-Public South B champions, beat beat Trenton Catholic, 71-70; lost in Non-Public B final to St. Anthony, 67-39
- 2011: lost in Non-Public North B semifinals to St. Patrick, 69-41