Tag: Adam Silas

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

The veteran, the leader, and the newcomer: why St. Thomas Aquinas has a shot to win it all

Somewhere in the middle of the first full season of high school basketball in three years (2019-20 ended short, ’21 was truncated by design) the St. Thomas Aquinas ascended to the No. 1 spot in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten.

To be precise, it was Week Four, after its first of three wins – the most recent in the GMC Tournament final – against Colonia. Sure, Gill St. Bernard’s was ranked higher in the state, and eventually they would play each other, with Aquinas right behind the Knights in those rankings.

After that Saturday night at Roselle Catholic, the state rankings flipped. The Bellamy rankings stayed the same: Aquinas was still No. 1.

Tonight, – after an opening round bye – the 2nd-seeded Trojans open their state tournament journey against 7th-seed St. John Vianney in the Non-Public South A quarterfinals. A win would put them in the semis against Rutgers Prep, the only one of the other elite teams in Middlesex/Somerset Counties that they haven’t faced.

But one thing at a time.

The journey began prior to the pandemic, before masks and constant sanitization of basketballs were a thing.

This is head coach Bob Turco’s fourth season at the school formerly known as Bishop Ahr (which was also formerly known as St. Thomas Aquinas, for those keeping score at home). He’s now 79-18 in that time, but has had great success at his two other coaching stops: Monroe (97-42) and Notre Dame in Lawrenceville (148-46), not to mention a goodly number of years as an assistant with his younger brother Dave. (You might have heard of him.)

Junior forward Jalen Pichardo goes up for two of his 14 points against Colonia in a GMC White Division game on February 3, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

And that’s where the journey began: with the four-year veteran Samar Abdullah, followed by the team’s undisputed leader now, Adam Silas, and then the newcomer who may very well be one of the faces of the program next year, Jalen Pichardo.

Click below to hear their story:

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

The St. Thomas Aquinas girls’ basketball team had done its part, and it was all up to the boys.

The Trojans had beaten Colonia twice this regular season, and even once last regular season. But in the 2021 Towns/Williams GMC top pod, the Patriots got the better of them.

They almost let it happen twice.

Third-seed Colonia jumped out to an 11-2 lead with a balanced scoring attack, a three by red-hot senior Saivon Pressley, and buckets from Jaeden Jones, Billy Anderson and Justin Gordon.

But the top-seeded Trojans – ranked third in New Jersey – were too talented and had come to far to let it go that way the rest of the night. In fact, they answered with an 11-2 run of their own to tie the score at 30-30.

Then they took the lead, and never looked back, even though Colonia would mount a furious comeback. They just couldn’t get close enough to get over the hump.

A major reason why was a thorn in every opponent’s side this season, senior Adam Silas, who recorded yet another – his fifth – career high game in the 2021-22 campaign. Silas scored an all-time high school personal best 37 points – 18 in the first half, 19 in the second – to help give his team the 69-53 win, and a second straight GMC Tournament title.

He finished the county playoffs with 86 points in four games, and was named the GMC Tournament MVP.

Click below for postgame reaction from Silas and head coach Bob Turco, who joined Mike Pavlichko live on the postgame show:

NUGGETS:

  • St. Thomas Aquinas is now a perfect 3-0 in the GMC Finals. As the 2nd-seed, they beat 4th-seed South Brunswick in the 2020 final by a 63-52 score. Their only appearance prior to that was in 1992 under the Bishop Ahr moniker. Like this year, they were the top seed, and beat 2-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen 61-47. Bill Leahy was the Trojans’ head coach, while the legendary John Somogyi coached the Falcons.
  • Aquinas head coach Bob Turco is now one of 13 coaches with multiple GMC Tournament wins. He’s 2-1, with both wins at his current school. The lone loss came in 2010, as head coach at Monroe, to his brother, Dave, at St. Joe’s. Dave is 8-4 (7-3 with the Falcons, 1-1 at the Turcos’ alma mater, Carteret) and was in attendance Friday night, dressed in Kean University blue, where he’s the current head coach (and his high school teammate, Lamont Repollet, is the school’s president).
  • The 37 points by Tourney MVP Adam Silas ranks as the second-best single-game performance in the history of the GMC Finals. Only Keith Hughes – who scored 40 in Carteret’s 1986 title win scored more. If you include the Middlesex County Tournament (1965-1985), two more were better than that: Gary Brokaw of New Brunswick scored 46 in a losing effort against Metuchen in 1971, and John Somogyi of now-defunct St. Peter’s in New Brunswick poured in 49 in 1968’s title game against unseeded Piscataway.
  • Silas’ three treys were also fourth-most in a GMC final. 13 others have done it, the most recent being Karl Towns of St. Joe’s. Three players have hit four in a game, and two have hit five. Darren Smith of South Plainfield holds the record with six.
  • While Aquinas is 3-0 in GMC finals, Colonia is 5-4 all-time in MCT/GMCT championship games.
  • While it woulnd’t have mattered who won the game, the GMC White Division officially has now won 13 titles, trailing the Red Division by ten. It’s won 23, the Blue has won 6, and no Gold team has ever taken the title.
  • It was also the 26th title for the No. 1 seed in the tournament. But winning it all is hardly a lock when facing the No. 2 seed. When the top two teams make the final, the No. 1 seed is now 15-11, including 9-6 in the GMC and 5-5 in the MCT.

Silas, No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas knock off No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s in thriller at Heart 2 Hear Invitational

Each team was missing key players – Terrell Pitts and Jaquan Harris for St. Thomas Aquinas, and Denver Anglin and Naasir Cunnigham for Gill St. Bernard’s – but there was no lack of star power for either side.

Ultimately, it was Adam Silas’ career-high 33 points that powered top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas over 2nd-ranked Gill St. Bernard’s, 65-61, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio Saturday night at the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational at Roselle Catholic.

The senior guard consistently hit big shot after big shot, outudeling Gill’s duo of Mackenzie Mgbako – who finished with 26 for Gill – and Giancarlo Pejuero, who scored all 15 points of his in the second half.

He also had a good supporting cast. Jalen Pichardo played well defensively when he drew Mgbako, Kamal Lee was everywhere on defense and had some key rebounds, and Jaden Kelly had three more treys as Auquinas hit the bottom of the net nine times from downtown. (That was far from the season high they had earlier this week against Sayreville, however, when they dropped 14 from beyond the arc.)

And yet, the game could have been over pretty quickly. Gill jumped out to a 13-point first-quarter lead, and led by as many as 15 in the second quarter, 23-8. But Aquinas put together a 23-4 run the rest of the half and took a 31-27 lead into the locker room.

The lead changed hands a few more times in the third quarter, but Aquinas would pull ahead late, and hold off Gill with solid defense to pull off the victory, to improve to 22-1 on the season, and hold on to the top ranking in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten. The Knights dropped to 13-6.

It was a matchup of two of the top teams in the state, as Gill St. Bernard’s was ranked third in the statewide rankings entering the evening, and the Trojans were ranked fourth.

Gill also was missing head coach Mergin Sina, who injured his back during the week and was in the gym just before tip-off, but apparently couldn’t give it a go on the bench, with assistant Joe McDonald taking over.

Click below for postgame reaction with Aquinas head coach Bob Turco and senior guard Adam Silas:

Hudson Catholic 80, St. Joseph-Metuchen 67

Three Falcons scored in double figures, but St. Joseph of Metuchen fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and couldn’t recover, falling to state-ranked No. 5 Hudson Catholic 80-67 in the first of two games broadcast by Central Jersey Sports Radio from the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational at Roselle Catholic High School Saturday night.

Ethan Simmon scored 24 points and had five treys, but only six came in what turned out to be the pivotal first half, which saw Joe’s (16-5) trail by eleven at the end of the first eight minutes of play, and 16 at the intermission, 43-27.

Josh Ingram added 18, and Amari Campbell chipped in with 15.

No. 1 Aquinas takes GMC White title with win over No. 4 Colonia, stakes claim to top seed in GMC Tournament

The Trojans threw the first punch. Colonia answered. Then St. Thomas Aquinas went got the takedown.

Top-ranked Aquinas beat No. 4 Colonia Thursday night 68-54 in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, to sweep the season series from the Patriots, clinch the Greater Middlesex White Division title, and lay claim to the top seed in the GMC Tournament when it’s seeded a week from today.

Now 19-0 – owners of the state’s second-longest winning streak, behind only Bound Brook, which has won 27 straight since the beginning of last season – Aquinas has beaten everyone in it’s division, as well as St. Joseph-Metuchen, the top team in the GMC Red Division. That should be enough to give the Trojans the No. 1 seed.

Aquinas took a 3-0 lead to start the game, and built it to a 13-point advantage in the second quarter. But Colonia, on the strength of four treys from the combo of Saivon Pressley, Matthew Scherb and Billy Anderson, tied the score 28-all shortly before half, only to see the Trojans go on a mini 4-0 run off a pair of turnovers to take a 32-28 lead into the locker room.

In the third quarter, Colonia went ahead by three with under five minutes to go in the period. Aquinas was in the rare position of playing from behind. But fueled by great team defense, led by Adam Silas and Kamal Lee, constantly poking at the basketball, often leading to transition buckets, Aquinas wrestled back the lead, took a four-point advantage into the fourth quarter, then pulled away.

Colonia dropped to 13-3, 10-2 in the GMC White, with their only non-division loss coming out-of-conference to Lenape.

Click below to listen to St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco and senior guard Adam Silas talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe after the game:

Third-ranked Aquinas puts unbeaten mark on the line against No. 1 Colonia, the last team to beat them

St. Thomas Aquinas lost a number of key contributors from last year’s team – leading scorer Joshua Rivera, Tristian Jeffries, Kyree Henry, and so on – and has a number of new impact players, too, like the team leader in steals, junior Kamal Lee.

So, not many of them remember – or at least weren’t on the floor for any significant amount of time – when they lost to Colonia in the GMC’s top pod final, the Karl Towns/Jay Williams title game, on their home floor.

But senior guard Adam Silas (17.7 ppg this season) remembers. And he doesn’t want to forget. He’ll keep that feeling with him when his team head to Colonia Tuesday evening as the No. 3 Trojans (9-0) and top-ranked Patriots (4-1) square off.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko spoke with Silas about the season, last year’s clash with Colonia, and Tuesday night’s matchup.

Click below to listen: