Category: Boys Basketball

Coming soon: CJSR’s Top Moments of Year One

There were big hits, touchdowns, and shots. There were championships and outstanding performances. There were great stories, too.

In a year dominated by a polarizing election and a worldwide pandemic, high school sports gave all of us – student-athletes, coaches, parents, fans, and the media – a much needed distraction from it all.

And despite shortened seasons – some with playoffs, some without – there was a sense of normalcy, and there were so many great stories.

As we approach the first anniversary of Central Jersey Sports Radio going live with our first post on August 14, 2020, we’ll take a look back at some of the top stories and games we covered during the school year gone by. We’ll go day-by-day, up to the top of the list, with some audio highlights sprinkled in as well.

So keep an eye out for it on cjsportsradio.com over the next few weeks.

And of course, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and our site in the coming days, weeks and months for all the latest preseason football news and analysis.

AUDIO: Bound Brook’s Melesurgo says shorter season takes opportunity away from hoops players

The 2021 basketball season was an unusually short season, but it was an anomaly as New Jersey worked its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023, things could look very different again, but intentionally so, and Bound Brook boys’ basketball head coach Anthony Melesurgo isn’t a fan.

He’s been among the more vocal coaches on social media opposed to an NJSIAA proposal that’s halfway to the finish line, one that aims to have consistency among seasons, equity for all sports and student-athletes, and allow schools greater scheduling flexibility.

And while football wouldn’t be affected – since that’s getting its own overhaul – it would slash the basketball season from 26 to 22 games – not counting the state tournament and TOC – and shorten the length of the season overall to make it uniform with the fall and spring seasons.

That would leave gaps between seasons, ostensibly for multi-sport athletes to recover and take some time off. But Melesurgo says that gives some kids nothing to do, and that they would be better off around their sports.

The NJSIAA says the changes would increase the opportunities for multi-sport athletes who don’t need to worry about missing the first few weeks of practice for their next sport while finishing up another.

For a complete look at the original proposal, click here to download a PDF document.

The proposal – which the NJSIAA’s Executive Committee passed Wednesday on a first reading with only one vote in opposition – will come up for a final vote next month. If approved, it would go into effect for three years, starting with the 2022-23 school year.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko’s interview with Bound Brook boys’ basketball coach Anthony Melesurgo:

40 teams from across New Jersey set to compete, raise awareness at Autism Challenge this weekend

When it started in 2008, there were just eight Greater Middlesex Conference teams taking part.

Thirteen years later – after a pause in 2020 due to COVID-19 – this weekend’s Autism Awareness Challenge at North Brunswick’s Community Park will feature 40 high school baseball teams from all over the Garden State – including 16 from the GMC and another five from Somerset County.

The theme is “More than just a game,” says Mike Garlatti, who heads up Baseball Warehouse in Highland Park, is a Colorado Rockies scout, and is a former Rutgers assistant under the late Fred Hill on the team that was a win away from the College World Series in 1990).

Garlatti started the Teamwork Unlimited Foundation a couple of years after the 2008 event, which didn’t even have a fundraising component; it was simply dedicated to raising awareness about autism, after his son was diagnosed and found to be on the spectrum.

The Foundation now distributes money raised to autism support services and related groups. Scholarships are also handed out.

Garlatti spoke with Central Jersey Sports Radio about this weekend’s event. Click below to listen, and scroll down for a YouTube video about the event, as well as this weekend’s full schedule:

Mike Garlatti of Teamwork Unlimited Foundation talks with CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko about the 2021 Autism Awareness Challenge.

2021 Autism Awareness Challenge

Friday, April 23

4 pm: Piscataway Tech vs Carteret, St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Spotswood
7 pm: South Plainfield vs. Millburn, Somerville vs. St. Joseph-Metuchen

Saturday, April 24

10 am: JP Stevens vs. Governor Livingston, Metuchen vs. Bernards
1 pm: Cranford vs. South Brunswick, Voorhees vs. West Morris
4 pm: Red Bank Catholic vs. Delbarton, Ridge vs. Mendham
7 pm: Randolph vs. Jackson, Middletown South vs. Ramapo

Sunday, April 25

10 am: Rahway vs. South Amboy, East Brunswick Tech vs. South River
1 pm: Gill St. Bernard’s vs. Livingston, Edison vs. Barnegat
4 pm: Holy Spirit vs. Pope John, Don Bosco Prep vs. Old Bridge
7 pm: Passaic* vs. Elizabeth, North Brunswick vs. Hillsborough

*Passaic was a late replacement for Sayreville.
Dates, times and matchups subject to change.

All games will be streamed on GameKast Live.

Follow Team Work Unlimited Foundation on Twitter at @teamworkunlimit for schedule updates and more, including how to make a donation.

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 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 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.

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

The game was less than perfect, but their season was.

The top-seeded Bound Brook Crusaders coughed up a 21-point third quarter lead in the fourth, but took it back and beat third-seed Immaculata 75-68 to win the Skyland Conference Tournament Gold Division Championship, heard Saturday afternoon on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

The win put the exclamation mark on a Bound Brook season that ends up at 14-0, believed to be the Crusaders’ first-ever undefeated season, at least in the modern era.

After the first quarter ended with a 15-all tie, Brook took a nine point lead into the half, 36-27. They extended it to 21 midway through the third quarter, but Immaculata (6-8) started chipping away, and trailed only be 12 heading into the final quarter.

The Spartans kept chipping and chipping, until they tied the game at 60 with just under five minutes to go, and took a 62-60 lead soon after. Bound Brook pulled back ahead on a three by Cam’ron Summers, and went ahead by three with 3:22 to play on a Donovan Nwenyi steal and transition bucket.

Click below to listen to the sequence that game Bound Brook the lead for good:

Cam’ron Summers – a senior – finished with 16 points, all but one of which came in the second half, and 13 of them came in the fourth quarter.

Junior Quadir Harrell led all scorers with 21 points, 14 of which came after intermission, and despite not hitting a single three-point basket. He had hit three each in the first two games of the tournament.

Immaculata was led by junior Darren Tuck’s 15 points, including a pair of treys.

The win also gave Bound Brook a postseason sweep, as the Lady Crusaders took the girls’ Gold Division Pod Championship Friday night, beating Watchung Hills.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Bound Brook’s win in the Skyland Conference Tournament Gold Division Championship game:

Head Coach Anthony Melesurgo
Senior forward Cam’ron Summers
Junior guard Quadir Harrell

Friday Championship Recap: A look back at titles for Colonia boys; Monroe, Rutgers Prep and Bound Brook girls (with audio and photos)

It was a big night for high school basketball in the Skyland and Greater Middlesex Conferences, as the Skyland crowned girls’ pod championships, while the GMC held its boys’ and girl’s finals all on the same night.

Central Jersey Sports Radio covered four title games Friday night; here’s a audio look back at coverage from CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko, Dom Savino and Justin Sontupe: