It’s been said somewhere that the Rutgers Prep boys’ basketball team played its worst game of the season on January 30th down in Bayville, when the Argonauts gave up a season-high 90 points and lost by eleven to Red Bank Catholic in the Jimmy V Showcase.
But head coach Matt Bloom says it’s only a bad loss if his team doesn’t learn from that game. And they’re determined to make amends tonight.
If they play the type of game they played Monday night – in stifling St. Thomas Aquinas and holding leading scorer Adam Silas to just 12 points all evening, including a single point in the entire first half – then the mission will be accomplished.
Third-seed Rutgers Prep faces top-seed RBC in the Non-Public South A championship game tonight down at Lenape High School in Medford, NJ, and you can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio beginning with the pregame show at 6:45 and tip-off at 7:00. Mike Pavlichko will call all the action, and you can click here to listen live, for free, with no paywall.
Rutgers Prep is seeking its first state title since joining the NJSIAA in time for the 2012-13 school season
Besides the defensive pressure, the offense got a boost Monday from Jadin Collins, the junior guard who notched a double-double with a career high 30 points, as well as ten rebounds, four assists and seven steals. Senior forward Ryan Zan also had a double-double, with 12 points and ten boards.
The Caseys, meanwhile, are led by senior guard C.J. Ruoff at “just” 11.4 points per game, but they have a balanced scoring attack.
Alex Bauman can create matchup headaches. The senior was a football All-State tight end, first team, for the Non-Public B Champions in 2021, catching six touchdown passes, 26 overall, for 432 yards. All he did in the first matchup against Rutgers Prep was score 17 points and grab a whopping 19 rebounds. But the kid can rebound, too. The Tulane-bound (for football) Bauman also had four assists in that game.
How they got here:
(3) Rutgers Prep: defeated 14-Union Catholic in the first round, 81-58; defeated 11-Immaculata in the semifinals, 84-63; defeated 2-St. Thomas Aquinas in the semifinals, 68-59
(1) Red Bank Catholic: first-round bye; defeated 9-Camden Catholic in the quarterfinals, 88-62; defeated 4-St. Joseph-Metuchen in the semifinals, 70-58
Offensive/Defensive numbers: Stat-wise, Rutgers Prep outscores Red Bank Catholic on average nearly 77-63. But defensively, they have both been very good, and are fairly equal: 55.2 allowed by the Argos, to 50.2 allowed by Rutgers Prep. That out their meeting on January 30th for both, and it’s even closer: Prep is allowing 53.8 a game, 49.12 for RBC.
What’s the goal? In all three Rutgers Prep losses, they’ve allowed at least 70 points. The Caseys are 8-0 when scoring more than 70. In RBC’s four losses, they never managed 60 points – 58 was their highest – so 60 may turn out to be the magic number on the board for the Argonauts.
Click below to hear Rutgers Prep coach Matt Bloom talk about his team’s title game against Red Bank Catholic tonight with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko: