Category: Boys Basketball

Central Jersey Sports Radio announces 2022-23 High School Basketball schedule

Central Jersey Sports Radio is taking no time off with the end of football, and getting ready for the 2022-23 high school basketball season.

This year’s coverage of high school basketball on Central Jersey Sports Radio will kick off on Thursday, December 15th – the season’s Opening Day – as the Rutgers Prep girls, the defending Somerset County Tournament Champions, entertain rival Franklin. We’ll also have coverage of Somerset County Tournament boys champ Gill St. Bernard’s, GMC Tournament boys and girls champions St. Thomas Aquinas, and many more.

Click here for the full broadcast schedule.

Thanks to our loyal sponsors, the CJSR coverage is all free to you – with no paywall – whether it’s games, stories, interviews or analysis.

Bellamy & Son Paving will be the sponsor of the boys’ and girls’ Top Ten rankings once again this year. Joe Bellamy has been a founding sponsor of CJSR since the 2020 football season, and we thank him for his unending support of local student-athletes. Click here to visit the Bellamy & Son Paving website.

All season long, our game recaps and postgame reaction will be sponsored by SportsPlex at Metuchen. For an immersive sporting experience, they have youth and adult leagues and classes, and can host your party. Click here to visit the SportsPlex at Metuchen website.

Of course, we’ll have coverage of both county tournaments. GMC Tournament coverage – starting with the seeding meeting in early February – will be sponsored by Dayton Toyota Service and Dayton Collision on Route 130 in South Brunswick. We’ll be expanding our coverage this season, adding the girls’ semifinal games to the boys’ semifinals we’ll be covering from Monroe Township High Schools, as well as the Championship Doubleheader.

We’ll have semifinal coverage of at least one Somerset County Tournament game – as those are played at higher seeds all on the same night rather than on a neutral court – plus the girls’ and boys’ Championship Doubleheader.

State tournament coverage will be announced at a later date.

Car got wrecked and feeling blue? They’ll make it good as new!

Spotswood inducts third Athletics Hall of Fame Class, including its most decorated girls basketball player, its best baseball team ever, and Ron Mazzola

The most decorated girls basketball player and the most successful baseball team in school history – along with its star pitcher – were among several inductees into the Spotswood Athletics Hall of Fame this past weekend.

Beth Dickinson Cipot (then known as Beth Dickinson) is the school’s all-time leading scorer in girls’ or boys’ basketball, while the 2007 Charger baseball team won every possible title it could: GMC Blue Division, GMC Tournament, Central Jersey Group 2 and the statewide Group 2 title.

Dickinson scored 2,100 points in her career, and is the only player on either side to pass the 2,000-point mark, She captained the 19989-99 team that won the Central Jersey Group 1 title, and was a three-time all-county player in the Star-Ledger and Home News Tribune, ultimately making third-team All Group 1 by the Ledger and Associated Press.

She played collegiately at St. Peter’s and Fordham, where she was an All-Academic Atlantic Ten selection in 2004, and later coached at the Bronx school, as well as Georgetown from 2004 to 2007.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko talk with Spotswood Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee Beth Dickinson:

Editors’ Note: Beth Dickinson and Mike Pavlichko both attended Spotswood High School, where Mike was the PA announcer while in school, graduating in 1996, and continuing through Beth’s senior season in 1999. Mike was inducted into the SHS Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007, as a contributor.

The 2007 Spotswood baseball team – coached then, as now, by Glenny Fredricks – went 26-4 and remains, by far, the best the school has ever had. It set school records for wins, batting average (.369), runs scored (239) and RBI (196). The Chargers finished the season ranked No. 1 in Middlesex County, and No. 7 statewide. And they are one of only two Greater Middlesex Conference teams to win the conference tournament and a state group championship in the same year. (Edison did it first, in 1993.)

Inducted were Fredricks, along with his assistants – his brother, Danny, Chris Ferrone, Matt Ardizzone, Mike Bruschini and Mike Feaster – and the following players: Anthony Addone, John Michael Berner III, Michael Collins, Brian Curci, Daniel Hohman, Richard Kuhn Jr., Jonathan Martin, Cody Pace, Joseph Reid, Timothy Snook, Vincent Vizzi, William Beard, Nicholas Brown, Jamie Cullen, Patrick Dwyer, Mike Hohman, David Lynch, Christopher Mooney, Joseph Petosa, Brian Scott, and Phil Spina.

Inducted separately was William Beard, who set single-season pitching records in 2007 for victories, strikeouts and complete games. He threw three no-hitters for the Chargers, including a perfect game. He’s the winningest pitcher in Middlesex County history with 27 victories and holds nearly all of Spotswood’s single-season and career pitching records. Beard later pitched at Rutgers, where he was a team captain and three-time Academic All-Big East pick.

Two other athletes, a coach and a contributor also were inducted.

The contributor was the late Ron Mazzola. Known as “Mr. Old Bridge,” he was also “The Voice of the Chargers,” providing the public address announcements for football for many years. Ron has been honored by so many of the schools and organizations he worked with before his untimely passing last Spring. Last month, Old Bridge renamed its press box after him.

READ MORE: A fitting tribute for Mr. Old Bridge, as Knights’ football press box is named for the late Ron Mazzola

READ MORE: Remembering Ron Mazzola, Mr. Old Bridge

The coach was Kevin Brady, who’s currently the girls’ soccer and softball mentor at East Brunswick, but who began his career with the Chargers in 1995, taking that very first team to the GMC Blue Division title with a record of 15-5-1. His teams won four Division title – in 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2005 and went 139-65-14 during his tenure. The 2001 team set a school record for victories with 16 – surpassed with 17 by his final team in Spotswood – and won the Chargers’ first-ever sectional championship: a penalty-kick victory over arch-rival South River. Brady also was an assistant on the girls’ basketball team when Dickinson starred on the hardwood.

Tim Logan, class of 2005, was a multi-sport athlete who is one of the few Chargers to be named first-team All-GMC in more than one endeavor. A four-year varsity letterwinner in basketball, he scored nearly 20 points a game and was fourth in scoring in the area, which he led in three-point shooting. In soccer, he was a two-time Captain, an all-section pick by the Soccer Coaches Association of New Jersey, and was the 2004-05 Spotswood High School Athlete of the Year. He played basketball for a year, but soccer for four seasons at the University of Scranton, where he ranks ninth all-time in school history in both career goals and career points.

Jason Pope, class of 1999, was a four-year first-singles varsity tennis player, who to this day holds the school record for career victories with 72. He was an All-GMC pick three times, and an All-Blue Division selection all four years with the Chargers, leading them to a division title in 1996. He competed collegiately at Niagara University, where in four years, he set school records for most season and career wins, and achieved an NCAA ranking in singles in 2002, as well as being named to the MAAC All-Academic team three times. He set that precedent in high school when he was president of the Spotswood chapter of the National Honor Society, and was presented with the SHS Booster Club’s Scholar-Athlete award in 1999.

No. 1 Phillipsburg dominates No. 3 Hillsborough with balanced scoring, stifling defense

HIllsborough came into Maloney Stadium in Phillipsburg Friday night riding the state’s third longest winning streak, at 16 games.

It got back on Route 22 to head home with its first loss since a 50-49 barnburner in late November 2020.

Top-ranked Phillipsburg got balanced scoring en route to a 34-0 win over the third-ranked Raiders, who won all 13 games a year ago to take the South Jersey Group 5 regional championship, returning the favor after a 21-14 overtime defeat in Hillsborough early last season.

Five different players scored for the Stateliners, who got on the board early with a one-yard TD run by Xavier Moore.

Quarterback Jett Genovese followed with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Scerbo, Jr., then Genovese took one in for himself, 67-yards to the house down the right sideline, giving P’burg a 21-0 halftime lead. The sophomore signal called was 14-for-18 for 171 yards and one TD pass.

In the fourth, Phillipsburg added two more scores, on a one-yard TD run by John Wargo, then an Isaiah Jackson 53-yard punt return for a score.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Chris Tsakonas:

Phillipsburg sophomore QB Jett Genovese
Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy

No. 1 North Brunswick pulls one out in a wacky game at No. 9 Edison

North Brunswick Mike Cipot has said over the last several years – in which all three meetings with Edison have been on the road – that it’s a game like no other, a rivalry like Red Sox-Yankees, in his eyes.

Wild things happen, and it was the same Friday night.

With two of their biggest players out due to injury – quarterback Matt Yascko and wide receiver/defensive back Malcolm Stansbury – Edison gave it all they had. But it was North Brunswick that came out with a 13-10 victory on the Boulevard of the Eagles, to improve to 2-0.

It was Edison’s first loss of the year, as the Eagles drop to 2-1.

Senior quarterback Frankie Garbolino threw two TD passes in the game, including one to his younger brother, Jack. But it was another catch Jack Garbolino had that may have been even more critical – a late-game interception to help stave off Edison and seal the win.

Click below for postgame reaction from North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot and linebacker/runningback Tamir Jenkins:

A fitting tribute for Mr. Old Bridge, as Knights’ football press box is named for the late Ron Mazzola

He was everything to the Old Bridge community for decades. PA man, coach, mentor, organizer, uniform maker. But perhaps most importantly, a friend.

The passing of Ron Mazzola back in February at the age of 61 sent a tidal wave of shock and grief through the Old Bridge community.

So, less than seven months later, on the first day of September, he was honored in the best way possible: with the press box at Bob DeMarco Field being renamed, “The Ron Mazzola Press Box.

Click below to watch a video recap of Thursday’s ceremony:

St. Joseph alum, MiLB broadcaster John Nolan wins one for grooms everywhere

The average guy, when it comes to wedding prep, is somewhere in the background. Maybe an opinion or an idea here and there, but it’s often the bride-to-be designing and creating the wedding of their dreams.

John Nolan – a 2009 graduate of St. Joseph-Metuchen, who’s getting married this December – had one big idea. It went viral, and now it’ll be a part of the celebration when he marries his fiancee, Nicole.

Nolan – now in his tenth season broadcasting Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball, a high-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres – grew up a big Mets fan, just like his father, who’s also the President of St. Joe’s. He’s been enjoying – from afar – the Mets’ run this year, leading the NL East through the end of play Sunday by 6 1/2 games over the Braves, after taking four of five from Atlanta at Citi Field this past weekend.

John Nolan and his fiancee, Nicole, take in an 8-5 Mets win over San Diego at Citi Field in New York on July 24, 2022. (Submitted photo)

And so John had the idea that he and his bride make their first public appearance, at their reception, walking out to the song “Narco,” performed by Blasterjaxx and Timmy Trumpet. That’s the tune that has been a sensation this summer, played over the PA in Queens as Mets’ closer Edwin Diaz comes in from the bullpen. The whole ballpark – even Mr. and Mrs. Met, faux trumpets blaring – participates.

Nicole didn’t think much of it, so Nolan took his idea to social media, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As of Monday afternoon, the post had surpassed 16,000 likes, more than four times his goal, and many more times what he ever thought it would get.

Click below to hear how John Nolan’s tweet went viral, and how he and his bride will walk out to “Narco” at their wedding this December:

Brown says St. Joseph took 2021 to bond, and still won the GMC; this year it’s full steam ahead

When the Middlesex baseball team won the statewide Group 1 title in 2021, and the Hillsborough Raiders won football’s South Group 5 championship, going 13-0 last year, it was the culmination of years of hard work, often together.

Most of the Blue Jays had been played Little League together; some even met there. Most of the Raiders had grown up on the Pop Warner fields in town.

That’s not typically the case at a parochial school like St. Joseph-Metuchen, where students often come from several towns away in any direction, and might take more time to mesh.

Which made it all the more remarkable what the Falcons did last year, playing consistent team baseball as they learned about each other, considering there was no 2020 baseball season, and not everyone was in school. They went on to win the GMC Tournament championship.

This year, the Falcons – now the top-seed – are in the finals again, looking for back-to-back titles and their eighth overall, when they take on 6th-seed North Brunswick at 2 pm Saturday at East Brunswick Tech’s Ray Cipperly Field. You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action; click here to listen.

CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko talked about the 2022 season, their 2021 bonding, and Saturday’s title tilt with junior shortstop Josiah Brown. Click below to listen:

Rutgers Prep’s Matt Bloom named CJSR Boys’ Coach of the Year after historic season

The first-ever sectional title in Rutgers Prep boys’ basketball history has earned Argonauts’ head coach Matt Bloom Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year Honors from Central Jersey Sports Radio.

They certainly reached new heights in 2022, getting contributions from so many players.

And Bloom is quick to deflect all praise to them: guys like Jadin Collins, Ryan Pettit, Cameron Piggee, Jordan Atkins and Ryan Zan.

So, Mike Pavlichko sat down not just with the head coach, but with Piggee and Atkins in the room, to get a sense of the player/coach/family dynamic Bloom has instilled at Prep.

Click below to hear Matt Bloom, Cameron Piggee and Jordan Atkins talk about Bloom’s recognition as Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year by Central Jersey Sports Radio:

St. Joe’s leads inaugural Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Top Ten

Thanks to Joe Bellamy at Bellamy & Son Paving, high school baseball now has a weekly Top Ten on Central Jersey Sports Radio!

And it’s St. Joseph of Metuchen – the defending GMC Tournament champion – which holds the top spot in the preseason rankings.

The Falcons took the title last year over South Brunswick, which came in third, just behind second-ranked Watchung Hills, which is expected to be one of the top teams again in Somerset County.

Here’s the complete preseason Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, with each team’s 2021 record and postseason achievements, where applicable:

Trojans’ Adam Silas named CJSR Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year

Even in a year when St. Thomas Aquinas lost the de facto GMC championship to Colonia, junior Adam Silas was one of the best players on the floor.

In his senior year, he was almost always the best player on the floor. Even on the rare night he didn’t pour in 20-plus points, or have double digits in assists or rebounds, Silas was always doing something to lead and steer his team to new heights, like beating Gill St. Bernard’s in a battle for No. 1 in the Bellamy Top Ten, or holding off Colonia to win the program’s second GMCT title.

READ MORE: CLEAN SWEEP! St. Thomas Aquinas boys win GMC Tourney title, make it two trophies for the Trojans in one night

For that, he is Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year for the 2021-22 season. (Scroll down to see Honorable Mentions, in no particular order.)

Silas went through a lot to get to North Edison. He started his scholastic career four years ago at St. Benedict’s, which turned out not to be the right fit for him. Silas finally thought he found a home at Marist, but the school closed after his sophomore year.

That’s when he found his new home on Tingley Lane.

Silas scored 12 points a game last year in the COVID-shortened season, but upped his game this year, averaging 19 even, and 5.1 assists per game to boot. And yet, it wasn’t just about the numbers.

St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco (left) and senior guard Adam Silas are all smiles after a huge win over national power Gill St. Bernard’s on February 12, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

All year, head coach Bob Turco, at least publicly, expected, or maybe just hoped – to have back Jaquan Harris, the Seton Hall-bound point guard who was the leader of the team. He suffered an ACL injury late last basketball season, and missed all of football. But he never came back. And slowly, but surely, the leadership role fell to Silas, who welcomed it with open arms.

Click below to hear CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko talk with 2021-22 Player of the Year Adam Silas of St. Thomas Aquinas:

HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order):

  • Saivon Pressley, Colonia
  • Jadin Collins, Rutgers Prep
  • Denver Anglin, Gill St. Bernard’s
  • Mackenzie Mgbako, Gill St. Bernard’s
  • Quadir Harrell, Bound Brook
  • Ethan Simmon, St. Joseph-Metuchen
  • Elijah Lewis, Watchung Hills
  • Ryan Curry, Montgomery
  • Brandon Dean, South Plainfield
  • The Okocha Trio (Jon, Josh and Eli), Monroe