Author: Mike Pavlichko

Another week at No. 1 for Rutgers Prep girls in Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

On the strength of a 2-0 week after a COVID pause, the Rutgers Prep girls remain the Number One team in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Week Three Top Ten.

The Argonauts got back into action with a pair of games this past weekend, beating Camden Catholic Saturday 78-46, then topping Long Island Lutheran 68-49 down in West Deptford at the Blue Star High School Invitational.

There was a little movement this week, as St. Thomas Aquinas – with a 2-0 week – jumped over Gill St. Bernard’s. The Knights went 0-1 this week, losing their only game 45-42 at Hillsborough. The Trojans beat Edison by 24 and South Brunswick by 14.

Bound Brook held in fourth, while Colonia – which went 3-0 this week with wins over North Brunswick, at Woodbridge, and at Carteret – vaulted up to fifth, and Mount St. Mary held in 6th.

South Brunswick went 2-1 – the loss coming to St. Thomas Aquinas – and moved to seventh, while Old Bridge – undefeated at 5-0 – jumped into the rankings at No. 8. The Vikings had wins over South River and Edison.

Woodbridge went 1-1 and dropped to ninth, while Middlesex – which beat Spotswood and South River in the week gone by – held in tenth.

Below are the Week 3 rankings:

INSTANT REPLAY: No. 6 Bound Brook 67, Middlesex 56

Senior Donovan Nwenyi led Bound Brook with 15 points, but a key nine points from Quadir Harrell in the second half also were big in helping No. 6 Bound Brook beat Middlesex in the finale of the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge on Saturday, January 8, 2022.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Dennis McNulty call all the action from Bound Brook High School:

Harrell’s second half helps No. 6 Bound Brook edge out pesky Middlesex in Skyland-GMC finale

In a 14-game undefeated season, Middlesex gave Bound Brook one of its toughest fights of the year. The Blue Jays led after one quarter, but eventually, the Crusaders’ talent found a way to pull out a win.

Their 2022 meeting in the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge at Bound Brook went very much in the same vein.

After Jeremiah William’s three-ball to open the game for the Brook, Blue Jay Zach Chippendale answered right back, and Middlesex went on a run to take an eight point lead, closing the first period with a 21-13 lead. But 6th-ranked Bound Brook chipped back, and by halftime, after four lead changes, took a 30-27 lead they would never relinquish.

Senior Quadir Harrell led the way with 11 points, all but two of which came after intermission, while game MVP Jeremiah Williams – who turned his ankle in the second half and missed the rest of the contest – had 13, including a pair of threes.

Bound Brook won its 18th straight dating back to last season, and improves to 4-0 on the year, while the Blue Jays dropped to 2-5, losing their fourth straight.

But they hung in until the final few minutes of the game, with the GMC’s leading scorer as of January 6th – Michael Salvatore – scoring 23 points, less than a point off his season average.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Bound Brook’s win:

Senior guard Quadir Harrell
Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo

Franklin picks up second win since COVID stoppage with 76-44 win over Timothy Christian

The Warriors might have won by 32 points, but considering how the day started – with bus issues that delayed the game by a half an hour – it could have been a lot worse.

And like everyone involved in the third game of the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge at Bound Brook would agree, at least it had nothing to do with COVID.

But it did, in a way, for Franklin, which played its opening game December 17th, but due to COVID-related issues, was shut down for over two weeks, until resuming play this Tuesday against Hillsborough, picking up a win.

Against Timothy Christian, the Warriors (2-2) bounced back after a heartbreaking two-point home loss to Hunterdon Central, getting 15 points from game MVP Jake Novielli, including three treys, in a 76-44 win.

Josh Migledolph chipped in 14 while Cameron Brown added 11 off the bench. All of that coming with starting point guard Darnell Marche and starting center Peyton Bonds missing the game for non-COVID-related issues.

Guard James Hayes led Timothy Christian (3-3) with 13 points in defeat, while Jonathan McNulty added 11.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from junior Jake Novielli and head coach Tony Mento:

Franklin guard Jake Novielli
Franklin head coach Tony Mento

Union’s Davison Igbinosun chooses Ole Miss over Rutgers, two other SEC schools

A week before the All-American Bowl, Union athlete Davison Igbinosun announced on Twitter he’d come down with COVID, and would be unable to play in the game. But it didn’t put a damper on his plans to announce it during the nationally televised contest.

In between the first and second quarters Saturday afternoon, Igbinosun – the most highly-touted recruit this year in the Big Central Conference – announced he would play at Ole Miss in the SEC.

He chose the Rebels over Tennesee, Kentucky and Rutgers. After a visit to Piscatway, he said Rutgers was the “home school” but called the SEC “big boy football.”

Igbinosun’s senior season came to an untimely end in the state playoffs, when the district’s Superintendent pulled the team from its second round game due to a number of positive COVID tests on the team, prompting a swift backlash from parents and fans. Igbinosun spearheaded a move by him and his teammates to get the team reinstated, but by then it was too late, and the plug was pulled.

READ MORE: National recruit Davison Igbinosun of Union says Farmers are “heartbroken” over playoff cancellation, vows to keep fighting

Igbinosun had several dozen Division I offers.

Eight teams, four games, one day: Bound Brook hosts Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus showcase

Starting anything outside the confines of a pandemic is challenging enough, but doing so in the midst of one is hit or miss.

And so it went last year with what should have Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo’s inaugural Coaches vs. Coronavirus showcase, a fundraising event meant to raise money for those hit hard by the the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year? He again got plenty of interest, and the fates have smiled on the event, at least for the participants.

Though cases continue to surge in New Jersey – and across the U.S. – spurred by the omicron variant, all eight teams are healthy enough to play in today’s event, including the Crusaders, who are coming off a two-week layoff and only got back onto the practice floor as a group yesterday.

Scroll down for previews and notes on today’s games.

Click below to hear organizer and Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo talk about the event with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Skyland vs. GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Schedule
Saturday, January 8 – Bound Brook High School

Dunellen vs. South Hunterdon, 12 pm
South Plainfield vs. Pingry, 2 pm
Franklin vs. Timothy Christian, 4 pm*
Bound Brook vs. Middlesex*

*games broadcast live on Central Jersey Sports Radio; click here to listen


Undersized Middlesex looks to give Bound Brook fits again when they meet in Skyland-GMC Challenge

The Bound Brook boys’ basketball team has won 17 straight games, going back to the start of last year’s 14-0 campaign. But perhaps none were as challenging as the Crusaders’ game against neighboring rival Middlesex.

The Blue Jays had Bound Brook tied up in all kinds of knots last February 20th, and led by 9 after one quarter, though the Crusaders’ eventually triumphed, 77-67. “They just ran up and down the court against us, and we had a difficult time against them,” says Brook coach Anthony Melesurgo.

The two teams will square off Saturday at 6 pm in the final of four games at the Skyland-GMC Challenge at Bound Brook, which can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The game will immediately follow the 4 pm tilt between Timothy Christian and Franklin. Mike Pavlichko will call all the action, with Tigers’ coach Dennis McNulty providing analysis. Click here to listen.

But this year, the Blue Jays have lost three straight, and are 2-4 on the season, coming off a 78-49 loss at South River Friday night.

In one respect, they’re still looking to replace thousand-point scorer Mark Brower, but on the other hands, there are nine players overall – and a half-dozen on the varsity roster – who also play baseball for Middlesex, which won the state Group 1 title last year.

So while the “W”s haven’t taken care of themselves just yet, it’s a group that knows how to win, and how to win championships. Doing it on the court is the next step.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Middlesex head coach Jared Goldstein about the season so far, and Saturday’s matchup against Bound Brook:

After two weeks off, Bound Brook gets back at it, will face Middlesex in Skyland-GMC challenge

Anthony Melesurgo, the Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in 2020, helped navigate his team last year through numerous hurdles. Few of them occurred on the court.

There was COVID. Then there was George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

This year, after just a two games, it was another COVID stoppage.

Bound Brook beat Warren Hills on the road just two days before Christmas, and hasn’t played since. They had a pair of games scheduled at home in the Crusader Classic, but Point Pleasant Beach had to cancel because of COVID, scrapping Brook’s opening game. Then, Bound Brook themselves had to cancel for the same reason the next day.

After two weeks off, they got back to practice today (Friday) and Saturday (tomorrow) will take on neighboring Middlesex in the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge. It’s a rivalry game that should attract a good crowd.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio at 6 pm, the final game of the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Classic, right after after the Franklin-Timothy Christian game. Mike Pavlichko has all the play by play, with Timothy Christian coach Dennis McNulty providing color commentary. Click here to listen.

Click below to hear Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo talk about the early season, and Saturday’s game against Middlesex:

Timothy Christian unfazed by big schools; Tigers face Franklin Saturday in Skyland-GMC Challenge

They play in in opposite counties, in divisions perched on opposite ends of the size spectrum.

Timothy Christian is a member of the GMC Gold Division, which features Middlesex County’s smallest teams, like South Amboy and East Brunswick Tech.

Franklin plays in the Sklyand Conference Delaware Division, which features some of the largest schools in Somerset County, like Hillsborough and Bridgewater-Raritan, as well as perennial powerhouse Gill St. Bernard’s.

But that doesn’t matter to third-year Tigers’ head coach Dennis McNulty, who likes to challenge his team, and, in fact, already has done so this year, having scheduled a last-minute tussle less than a week before Christmas against Monroe.

Though the Tigers lost 18-point per game scorer Ronnie Burwan from last year, they return senior guard Gian Wagner, who also scored 18 a game last season, while averaging four rebounds. And others have helped dampen the blow as well.

Saturday, it’s another large school on the docket for TCS, which plays Franklin at 4 pm in the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge at Bound Brook. You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko calling all the action; pregame is set for approximately 3:45. You can listen for free by clicking here.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Timothy Christian head coach Dennis McNulty: