Author: Mike Pavlichko

Central Jersey Sports Radio will debut LIVE H.S. baseball coverage on Opening Day next Monday

Monday, April 19th, will be the first Opening Day for high school baseball in New Jersey in two years, with last year’s entire season wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And when the 2021 season begins, Central Jersey Sports Radio will be on hand, kicking off its season coverage.

We’ll begin the slate with a matchup of GMC White Divsion teams, when Edison entertains Woodbridge at 4:00 Monday afternoon. Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the live play-by-play at, which you can hear by clicking here. Tentative air time is 3:50 pm from the Boulevard of the Eagles, at the school’s brand-new red turf field.

Athletic Director David Sandaal says the field was under construction last winter and would have been ready to go during the 2021 season.

That season that never materialized. Though some Last Dance baseball tournament games were played there, Monday will be the first time Edison High School’s baseball team gets to take the field.

Sandaal says several dignitaries will be on hand.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will add additional games to the broadcast schedule throughout the season, and Mike Pavlichko will report from other games throughout the year as well.

CJSR also plans to broadcast live from Ray Cipperly Field for the Greater Middlesex Conference Torunament Semifinals and Finals, to be held in late May and early June.

For local businesses interested in sponsoring and supporting live high school baseball coverage on Central Jersey Sports Radio, please contact founder and owner Mike Pavlichko via email, at mike@cjsportsradio.com.

SPONSORED: Now is the time to start planning fall fundraisers; John Tuohy of Fundraising U. explains how to raise the most money in the least amount of time

As the world keeps working to get back to a “pre-pandemic normal,” high school sports teams hopefully will be getting back to normal this fall, too.

But that also means they’re going to have to raise as much cash as they did before – if not more – to keep things going.

That’s why John Tuohy of Fundraising University – one of Central Jersey Sports Radio’s founding sponsors – says now is the time to start thinking about fundraisers.

What’s your fundraising goal? What would you like to sell? Who can be involved? Who are you selling to? How can you do it in the least amount of time, while raising the most amount of money?

All questions John Tuohy can answer.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with John Tuohy about the type of money-raising events Fundraising University can offer:

CJSR Girls’ Coach of the Year: Everybody played, everybody scored, everybody won in a dominant year for Mary Klinger’s Rutgers Prep

Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for more coverage on Rutgers Prep’s 2021 season:

Everyone wants to play flashy. Everyone wants to score. Everyone wants the basket seen ’round the world.

Often, that’s basketball these days.

For the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team this year, everybody played defense. And that allowed everybody to get in the games – all 14 players on the varsity roster. Sometimes, everyone scored in a game. And in the end, they all hoisted a trophy: for winning the Skyland Conference’s Blue Division pod.

With a balanced Argonauts squad that was dominant all year – including their final two games when the biggest name on the team, Villanova-bound Christina Dalce, was out with a knee injury – Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger was able to instill her trademark trait in her players: defense.

And defense got it done. Her team allowed an average of 31 points per game, while winning by an average of 45. That’s remarkable, no matter how you slice it.

And for all of that, Mary Coyle-Klinger has been chosen as the 2021 Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

Click below to hear Mary Klinger talk with CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko:

MORE ON RUTGERS PREP:

An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

No Dalce? No problem. Rutgers Prep girls cruise to win top Skyland Tournament pod

Rutgers Prep faces Gill St. Bernard’s for top Skyland girls’ title, with Dalce’s status up in the air

Dalce, Klinger talk dominant Rutgers Prep win in battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2

No. 2 Franklin girls get their crack at No. 1 Rutgers Prep in rematch of 2019 SCT final

CJSR Boys’ Coach of the Year: Bound Brook’s Anthony Melesurgo steered Crusaders through much more than an undefeated season

Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for more coverage on Bound Brook’s 2021 season:

Basketball coaches – the best ones – are often revered by their former players, sometimes even more when they become former players.

That’s because it’s not just what their coaches taught them about Xs and Os, but about life, or even just the idea of perseverance, battling through adversity, lessons that can be used in all walks of life, not just in basketball.

Like all head coaches, life was about more than basketball in 2021, even after last season ended normally for Bound Brook, as it does for so many teams: with a loss, not a COVID shutdown – though that came soon later. Life became about dealing with the pandemic. Throw on that the killing of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement that continued to grow in its wake, and it made for a difficult, scary and unsure path to navigate.

To come through all of that, get through a (shortened) basketball season with no self-inflicted COVID shutdowns – though they had a brief pause due to contact tracing with another team – and go through it undefeated, winning a championship, Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo has been named the 2021 Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

Click below to hear Anthony Melesurgo talk with CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko:

MORE ON BOUND BROOK:

VIDEO RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS: A look back at Bound Brook’s Championship, and perfect finish

PERFECT! Bound Brook holds off frantic ‘Lata rally to win Skyland Gold Championship, finish 14-0

Bound Brook one of a handful of boys basketball teams still perfect as Crusaders head into finale

Bound Brook boys chasing basketball immortality when Crusaders face ‘Lata for title, perfection Saturday afternoon

Postgame reaction: Bound Brook nets clean sweep of Bernards to remain undefeated, earn berth in Skyland Tournament Gold title game

Bound Brook and Bernards set to meet for third time in two weeks, with trip to the Gold finals on the line

Boys’ regular season wrap-up: Bound Brook heads into Skyland Tourney as lone unbeaten area team, and other notes of interest

Harrell, McLarty, Melesurgo talk No. 9 Bound Brook’s gut-check win over Bernards

Bound Brook’s 4-0 start is best in Skyland, but now it’s time for a break

An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

We’ve already told you the numbers: Rutgers Prep outscored its opponents by more points than they allowed to those opponents.

It was a truly remarkable season for Mary Klinger’s squad.

But why let us tell you. Let them tell you.

Let them tell you how it all started with last year’s sectional final loss to Trenton Catholic, how they dealt with COVID, how they kept their eyes on the prize all year, and delivered in the clutch when their biggest star went down.

Click below to hear head coach Mary Coyle Klinger, and seniors Christina Dalce and Belle Pellecchia talk about their remarkable 2021 season:

READ MORE: Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

Here are the two numbers you need to know: 31 and 45.

Want us to use them in a sentence? OK.

The Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team allowed a paltry 31 points per game this year, while beating teams by an average of 45 points.

And we did not just pull those numbers out of a hat.

En route to a perfect 13-0 season, and the Skyland Conference Tournament’s top pod title, Rutgers Prep blitzed all comers this season, and finishes 2021 where it began: as the Number One team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, earning them the honor of our 2021 Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year.

No one even came close.

How good was Rutgers Prep?

Let’s put it this way. No disrespect to any other team, but if you actually ranked the teams in terms of how good they were, Rutgers Prep would be No. 1, and the next team behind them might be at No. 3.

The Argonauts are also ranked No. 21 in the nation – not the state, the nation – by ESPN, behind No. 13 St. John Vianney, but a spot ahead of Trenton Catholic, which is scheduled to close after this academic year, and to whom Rutgers Prep lost last year in the Non-Public South B finals.

LISTEN: An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

Monroe – the winner of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s top bracket, the Somogyi Family Pod – checked in at No. 2, avenging its only loss of the season in the Somogyi Pod title game, using a second half rally to beat St. Thomas Aquinas in their second meeting of the year.

Below are the final girls’ basketball rankings for 2021, including postseason achievements:

Rick Mantz talks facilities, academics, and his plans for Pingry

He says his golf game isn’t going so well, and he misses coaching football.

But really, anyone who knows Rick Mantz couldn’t have expected him to be gone from the sidelines for very long.

Mantz – who had perhaps his greatest success as the head coach of Hillsborough, but also turned around South Brunswick’s program and coached for a spell at Passaic – will be back on the sidelines after spending three years at Rutgers as high school relations coordinator, hired earlier this week as the new head coach at Pingry.

The Big Blue have been playing a mostly prep school schedule since 2017, when it left the now-defunct football version of the Skyland Conference.

And while Mantz says there’s no immediate plans to change that, he also believes there’s no reason Pingry – with what he says are top notch facilities and academics – can’t compete with schools like Morris Catholic, St. Joseph-Metuchen, Bishop Ahr and Immaculata, its nearest non-public competitors, geographically-speaking.

Click below to hear Rick Mantz talk about his plans for the Big Blue with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

An audio look back at Watchung Hills boys’ basketball, 2021 CJSR Team of the Year, with Coach Justin Salton, Trevor Bokach, Elijah Lewis

The Watchung Hills boys basketball team didn’t like how they left 2021: with losses in the Somerset County Tournament Final to Rutgers Prep, and in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 finals to Elizabeth.

So, they did something about it. They won the only tournament in which they could play in the 2021 season: they Skyland Conference Tournament’s top pod, the Blue Division.

READ MORE: The goal was: “Get hardware.” They did, and Watchung Hills is the CJSR boys’ basketball 2021 Team of the Year

They did it by beating the only two teams they lost to in the regular season, and then avenged last year’s loss in the SCT finals.

Click below to hear head coach Justin Salton, senior guard Trevor Bokach and junior guard Elijah Lewis talk about their season, from beginning to end:

The goal was: “Get hardware.” They did, and Watchung Hills is the CJSR boys’ basketball 2021 Team of the Year

There were many good boys’ high school basketball teams in the GMC and Skyland Conferences in this COVID-shortened season, but when you beat three of them – including two that you lost two a total of three times this season – en route to winning your league’s top pod trophy, that has to count for something.

For us, that counts for making Watchung Hills the No. 1 team in the final Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten of the year, and thus the 2021 Boys’ Basketball Team of the Year.

The Warriors finished the year 12-3, their losses coming to Hunterdon Central twice, and once to Gill St. Bernard’s, at the time the No. 1 team in our rankings.

Watchung Hills beat both of those teams in the first two rounds of the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Blue Division pod, then knocked off then No. 5 Rutgers Prep in the finals on the road, on a game-winning baseline bucket by Tyler Bokatch in the final few seconds, holding off one last chance by the Argonauts, who had to go the length of the floor in just under 1.5 seconds.

LISTEN: An audio look back at Watchung Hills boys’ basketball, 2021 CJSR Team of the Year, with Coach Justin Salton, Trevor Bokach, Elijah Lewis

Second in the final rankings was Colonia. The Patriots – in a four-team GMC pod – took down the No. 3 and No. 2 teams in the rankings, respectively: St. Joseph of Metuchen and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Below are the final rankings, including postseason tournament superlatives:

VIDEO RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS: A look back at Bound Brook’s Championship, and perfect finish

The Bound Brook boys’ basketball team on Saturday capped what is believed to be the first perfect season in Crusader history, at least in the modern era, winning the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Gold Division Pod with a 75-68 win over Immaculata.

We do know one thing for sure: the Crusaders were the only undefeated boys’ basketball team in either the Skyland or Greater Middlesex Conferences.

But while we delve deep into the archives – well, we’re not even sure they exist – to put this historical event in perspective, why not take a look at the video highlights from the game.

First, here’s a look at Bound Brook’s win with the play-by-play as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, and seen on the Bound Brook YouTube channel:

Here’s another look at the title game, with narration by Mike Pavlichko:

You can find both videos on Central Hersey Sports Radio’s YouTube channel, by clicking here.