Category: Girls Basketball

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 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

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:

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:

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

With little fanfare, Villanova-bound Christina Dalce missed Wednesday’s 73-18 semifinal pod win over 5th-seed Hunterdon Central. You wouldn’t have noticed unless you saw the box score, and no line with her name on it.

She missed top-seed Rutgers Prep’s championship game as well in the league’s top Blue Division pod, but the Argonauts still won.

They beat 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in yet another dominant performance, 69-41, to win the Blue title, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Senior Belle Pellecchia had a game- and career-high 25 points, including 12 free throws, more than making up for the absence of Dalce. Freshman guard Mikayla Blakes added 11, and dished out three assists.

The win moves Rutgers Prep to 12-0, with one more game to play. They host a “regular season” game against Saddle River Day Saturday afternoon at 1, after which the Rutgers Prep boys play in the top boys’ pod against Watchung Hills, a surprise winner over top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in the semifinals.

The Gill girls drop to 10-2.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Rutgers Prep’s win in the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Blue Division title game:

Rutgers Prep senior guard Belle Pellecchia
Rutgers Prep freshman guard Mikayla Blakes
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger

Bound Brook girls take Skyland Gold pod title with victory over Watchung Hills

There may not have been a state tournament for Bound Brook to win its sixth straight Central Jersey Group 1 crown, but no matter. They went out as champions anyway.

In fact, for the second year in a row, the Lady Crusaders went out with a win.

Last year, their season was cut short by COVID, when the NJSIAA shut down the state tournament. Bound Brook found out when they got back from their Group 1 semifinal road win over Woodbury.

This year, the end was more definitive, and they were all smiles.

Senior guard Arianna McCleod capped her stellar career with a season-high 24 points, including a game-high 11 field goals, as top seed Bound Brook took the title in the Skyland Conference Tournament Gold Division Pod with a 60-49 win over 2nd-seed Watchung Hills.

The Crusaders finish the season 12-1; the Warriors fell to 7-8.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Bound Brook head coach Jen Derevjanik and senior guard Arianna McCleod:

Bound Brook Head Coach Jen Derevjanik
Bound Brook senior guard Arianna McCleod.

Monroe avenges regular season loss to Aquinas to win GMC Girls’ Somogyi Family Pod championship

There it was, hanging out there: one loss, to the two-time defending GMC Tournament Champions.

Aquinas also beat them in last year’s GMCT final.

Oh, and don’t forget that the Monroe girls’ basketball team, which prides itself on its defense, gave up the most points it had all season in that game, in a 49-41 loss.

Don’t worry, they didn’t forget it either.

While third-seeded Monroe didn’t ever have a lead in the first half, they used a 12-1 early second-half run and a 23-7 third quarter to power past and hold off second-seed St. Thomas Aquinas, 46-40, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. The win gave the Falcons (13-1) the Somogyi Family Pod Trophy, given to the winner of the GMC’s top four-team girls’ pod.

St. Thomas Aquinas (9-8) had the game’s leading scorer in 5-4 freshman Amarilis Shubick. She’s the second-leading scorer on the team, but was the only Trojan in double-figures, scoring 16, nearly six over her average. Shubick had four treys, including two in the second half that helped Aquinas’ effort to get back into it.

Senior co-captain Akyia Baker was held to just seven points, all in the second half.

For Monroe, senior forward Rosie Regan led the way with 14 points, eight of which came after intermission.

Click below to hear postgame comments from Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman and senior forward Rosie Regan:

Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman
Monroe senior forward Rosie Regan