Category: Notebook

Harrell’s 17 make him Bound Brook’s all-time leading scorer, help Crusaders extend state-best win streak to 24.

The horn blew in the middle of the third quarter, but it wasn’t a mistake, or anyone fouling out. In fact, it was celebratory in nature.

Quadir Harrell’s three-point basket to give his team a seven-point cushion in a tight game against New Egypt set a new scoring mark for the program, as he jumped over Jordan Hawkins, who just happened to be on hand.

Oh, and it also helped Bound Brook pull out a 45-38 win which extended the Crusaders’ state-best winning streak to 24 games.

Bound Brook’s last loss came when it was eliminated in the 2020 state tournament, when Harrell was a sophomore. The Crusaders went 14-0 last year – when there was no state tournament – winning the one-off Skyland Conference Tournament’s middle pod, and are now 10-0 this season after the win over New Egypt.

Brook jumped out to a 12-2 lead, but as has been the case all year long, the Crusaders seem to get everyone’s best effort. The Warriors got back within four, and Bound Brook went into the half up 27-23. But some key buckets by Harrell and Jordan Summers in the third helped their team get out to a 38-31 lead at the end of three, and they would hold on down the stretch.

Click below to hear Quadir Harrell talk about his new program record, and a big win over New Egypt on Saturday afternoon:

NJSIAA gets lenient on maximum games per week for basketball to alleviate COVID, winter weather stresses

The NJSIAA is giving high school basketball teams across the state a lot more leeway when it comes to how many games they’re allowed to play per week, in a move expected to allow teams more scheduling flexibility, in particular helping those who’ve suffered from a COVID shutdown.

Typically, high school basketball teams in New Jersey are allowed only one four-game week per season, and cannot play on three consecutive days. A week starts on Monday.

NJSIAA Assistant Director for Basketball Al Stumpf confirmed to Central Jersey Sports Radio this week that Association’s Executive Executive Committee approved a measure at it’s January 12th meeting that will allow an additional four weeks of four games each.

That means a team could play as many as five weeks of four games each, provided they meet one other criterion: The rule prohibiting games on three consecutive days remains in place.

In the COVID-truncated 2021 high school basketball season, the NJSIAA allowed one addtional four-game week, for a total of two. This year, five are being allowed, in a move likely to be welcomed by many head coaches and athletic directors whose teams are trying to make up games lost due to COVID.

Of the 20 teams in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball Top Tens to start the New Year, eleven – more than half of them – did not play over the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Some, like Franklin’s boys and girls, had a more than two-week layoff between Opening Night on December 17th and their next games.

Harrell, Summers team for key late shot to beat pesky Voorhees, extend NJ’s longest active winning streak to 23

Twenty-two and counting.

Not only are the wins for Bound Brook piling up quickly, but the attention being paid to them is growing.

That’s what happens when the team that used to have the longest active winning streak in New Jersey – which was Camden at 44 games – loses for the first time in the current decade, and you’re suddenly at the top of the pile.

But it took a full 48-minute from Bound Brook to beat Voorhees Thursday night, as a Quadir Harrell to Jordan Summers play that resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play broke a 40-all tie with under a minute to go, and gave the Crusaders – now 9-0 – a 44-40 victory.

Click below to listen to Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo talk about the win, and his team’s focus as they work through the winning streak:

Bound Brook went 14-0 last year and won the Skyland Conference middle pod championship. Combined with this year, they’ve won 23 straight. There are seven teams remaining in the state who are undefeated, but none have a streak as long as Bound Brook at the moment.

Two of those teams are in the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area: St. Thomas Aquinas (13-0) and Rutgers Prep (10-0). The others are Saddle River Day, Morris Catholic, Morristown, St. Augustine, and Governor Livingston.

Morristown is the only one of those teams playing tonight, according to NJ.com’s online schedule. The Colonials visit Morris Knolls Friday night at 7 pm.

Big night for Monroe’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, knocking off Aquinas and Joe’s in historic Thursday night twin bill

Two parochial powerhouses took separate bus rides all the way down to the deepest recess of Middlesex County, and both headed back up North with losses.

And it was a happy night for Monroe fans.

In a doubleheader at Monroe High School, the unranked girls’ team – which started the season second in the Bellamy & Son Paving rankings after winning the GMC’s top pod last year – knocked off current No. 2 and previously-unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas, 55-41.

The Falcons (6-2) never trailed after jumping out to an early lead, and avenged a season-opening loss to the Trojans by 38 points. That loss, and another to East Brunswick after a COVID stoppage, had the Falcons starting 0-2, and dropping out of the Bellamy rankings. Aquinas fell to 7-1.

Click below to hear head coach Leigh Vogtman talk about Thursday night’s win over St. Thomas Aquinas:

Not to be outdone, the 8th-ranked Monroe boys were next up against No. 4 St. Joe’s of Metuchen, and pulled out a buzzer-beater of a win, as Eli Okocha – one of a set of triplets on the Monroe team, along with Jon and Josh – corralled a long inbound from underneath the basket with 2.4 seconds left, and chucked it up from 30-feet with 1.2 to play. It went in, giving the purple Falcons a 52-49 win, their first-ever victory over their namesakes from Metuchen.

Monroe improved to 7-2, while St. Joe’s fell to 11-3.

Like the girls, the win also avenged a season-opening loss for Monroe, which fell 60-49 to St. Joe’s in Metuchen on December 17th.

Click below to hear head coach Jeff Warner talk about Thursday night’s win over St. Joseph:

INSTANT REPLAY-GIRLS BASKETBALL: No. 8 Old Bridge 69, East Brunswick 63 (OT)

Junior Leena Tran paced 8th-ranked Old Bridge with 20 points – 13 in the second half – to help the Knights beat East Brunswick 69-63 in overtime, sweeping the season series and taking sole possession of second place in the GMC Red Division, in a Greater Middlesex Conference game on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the action from East Brunswick High School:

No. 8 Old Bridge girls trail most of the way against East Brunswick, but pull one out in OT to sweep season series

The first time around, in the season opener, Old Bridge ran out to a 14-0 lead on East Brunswick, which clawed its way back, only to lose by two.

In their second meeting of the regular season Thursday night in East Brunswick, the script was almost completely reversed. The Bears stormed out to an 11-2 lead, but No. 8 Old Bridge clawed back, playing to within two at halftime at 28-26, and they came out with a 69-63 overtime win to take both games of the season series.

Down three in the third, Old Bridge finally tied it at 49-all with 4:30 to play, and sophomore Abby Jazmin’s big fourth quarter helped force overtime, tied at 57 apiece.

But getting to OT was almost a win in and of itself for Old Bridge. That’s because two key Bears fouled out late, in a game where both teams had multiple players in foul trouble. Senior guard Samantha Lederman – filling in for injured Nicole Motuseski at the position – fouled out with 1:24 to go, after junior Tamea El – a force down low – fouled out with 2:23 left.

Down their best ball-handler and low-post presence, Old Bridge took advantage, ratcheting up the pressure, forcing turnovers, and converting them into several buckets that proved the be the difference in the extra four minutes.

Junior guard Leena Tran led the Knights (7-3, 6-2) – who took sole possession of second place in the GMC Red Division with the win – with 20 points, 13 after intermission. East Brunswick (9-3, 5-3) junior Boorke Motusesky had a game-high 26, including four treys; she had five all season entering the evening.

Click below to hear Dominic Savino with postgame reaction from No. 8 Old Bridge’s win over East Brunswick:

Old Bridge junior guard Leena Tran
Old Bridge assistant coach Matt Donoghue

No. 8 Old Bridge girls try to regain momentum on road trip up Route 18 to face East Brunswick

Old Bridge head coach Alec Alspach says the losses aren’t always as bad as they seem, and sometimes the wins aren’t as good as they seem.

Certainly, he would have liked the season-opener against East Brunswick to be a little more comfortable, after his team raced out to a 14-0 lead. The won the game, but by a single possession, and it showed how tough the GMC Red Division would be this season.

Eighth-ranked Old Bridge (6-3, 5-2) and East Brunswick (9-2, 5-2) sit tied behind first-place St. Thomas Aquinas, but tonight’s winner will take sole possession of second place in the Greater Middlesex Conference red, a coveted spot when it comes time to seed the county tournament next month.

You can listen to tonight’s game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action. Tip-off is set for 6 pm, with pregame at 6:45. Click here to listen.

Click below to head Dom Savino talk about tonight’s game with Old Bridge head coach Alec Alspach:

East Brunswick girls look to exact revenge for season-opening loss to No. 8 Old Bridge

To say the season opener between East Brunswick and Old Bridge was a roller coaster would be an understatement.

The Lady Bears didn’t come out of the gate like they wanted to, and found themselves down early 14-0, but clawed back to within 14-11 at the first break. Then they held the Knights to just six points in the second quarter to take a 23-20 lead. Back and forth they’d go, but ultimately Old Bridge would win it 49-47.

Thursday night, East Brunswick (9-2, 5-2 GMC Red) look to even the score when No. 8 Old Bridge (6-3, 5-2 GMC Red) comes to town for a key divisional matchup. The winner would be in sole possession of second place in the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division, a coveted spot come county tournament seeding time.

You can hear Thursday night’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio, beginning with pregame at 5:45 pm and tip-off at 6:00, as Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the action. Click here to listen live.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with fourth-year East Brunswick head coach Travis Retzlaff:

This story was corrected to show Old Bridge’s record is 6-3 overall, 3-3 in division.

Entire Edison community mourns the loss of much-beloved youth sports leader “Mr. G”

The “G” might as well have stood for Giant, because that’s what he was to thousands of kids who grew up playing youth sports in Edison for the better part of three decades.

Forget Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. Last Thursday, January 13th, 2022 might as well have been “The Day The Music Died” for anyone who played baseball or football as a child in the 1970s, 1980s, and most of the 1990s.

That’s when the man they all know as “Mr G” – William Giampolo – passed away at the age of 82.

Mr. G coached the Edison Falcons and Jets of local youth football fame. He led the Edison Boys Baseball League from 1973 to 1998, a quarter-century run that saw great growth, including an achievement that stands to this day, the development of the baseball complex along Suttons Lane near the Highland Park border.

Everyone who pulls up their stirrups this Spring – whether for the high school Eagles or Hawks, or the youngest slammin’ tee-ball player – owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. G, whether they ever met him or not.

He was instrumental in the Edison Youth Sports Council, back when long-time six-term mayor Tony Yelencsics ran things.

The line is sure to be out the door Friday at Runyon-Costello Funeral Home in Metuchen, where services will be held from 4-8 pm, and again Saturday from 9:30 to 10 am. People in line who might never otherwise have met each other will trade stories about Mr. G., realizing their shared expereinces, even if they were 20 years apart.

To find out more, and read the full obituary, click here.

Brian Calantoni, current President of the Edison Boys Baseball League, wrote to Central Jersey Sports Radio about Mr. G:

“It is with sadness and regret that we announce the passing of a legend. Mr. William J. Giampolo has passed away. Mr. Giampolo was president of Edison Boys Baseball League for many years. Mr. G was the type of man every man aspires to be. A family man, a businessman, a man of the community. Cared about morals, rules, and traditions and passing them down. He’s the reason why most of us coach and volunteer. He was our coach and our leader from a young age and he was there for many generations. Thanks to him we have a place to play, he secured B Field at Suttons Lane for EBBL. He was the one who was on the youth sports council dealing with Mayor Yelencsics. Everything was for the kids. Everything we have at Edison Boys Baseball is because of him. He was a Godlike figure growing up. Coaching baseball, coaching football, president of the league… The man who got the most respect in town, and that never changed! Mr. G paved the way for all of us. He made the blueprint on how to run a youth organization and we followed. He is the reason that us kids volunteered when we get older. The reason why we had such a great experience was because of him and his ideas and his leadership. But the truth thanks, goes out to his family. To his wife, to his children, to his grandchildren. Thank you for lending him to us and for allowing him to make a difference in all of our lives. He is a man that will be emulated but never duplicated. The world lost a great human being but he will be remembered forever. Thank you Mr. G for everything you did for us. Condolences to the family. Mr. G was “Dependable”, the most “Dependable” man ever! We love you!!!!

Click below to hear Coach Calantoni talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio about the legacy of Mr. G:

INSTANT REPLAY: Franklin 44, No. 9 Watchung Hills 41

A three-pointer by Franklin junior Jake Novielli from the deep right corner gave Franklin a three-point lead, and a miss at the other end by Watchung Hills, helped give the visiting Warriors a 44-41 win over the home Warriors, in a Skyland Conference Delaware Division game on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the action from Watchung Hills High School: