Tag: Anthony Melesurgo

Bound Brook’s run ends in sectional final, with loss at Rumson-Fair Haven

Seeking its first sectional title since 1979, the Bound Brook Crusaders ran into a really good Rumson team.

Top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven won its third title in the last six years, getting off to a good start out of the gate en route to a 75-44 win in the Central Jersey Group 2 championship game.

Bound Brook fell behind early, and couldn’t recover from the deep hole of an 11-2 Bulldog run to start the game.

And though the Crusaders found their offensive rhythm in the second quarter, with Donovan Nwenyi scoring 9 points and Brook getting as close as eight, a 6-1 run to close the half by Rumson left Bound Brook down 32-19, and it was an uphill battle from there. A 9-0 run to start the second half spelled the end for the Crusaders, who finish the season with a 22-5 record.

It was the end of the line for a trio of Bound Brook seniors who were the faces of the program for a while: quick guard Quadir Harrell, glue guy Donovan Nwenyi, and solid Bryce Cobb, who missed all of last year due to a football injury. They wound up going to two sectional finals, and winning the one-off Skyland Conference Gold (middle) Pod in 2021, finishing 14-0, the first undefeated season in modern history for the Crusaders.

Click below for postgame reaction as Chris Tsakonas caught up with Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo:

Bound Brook wins (nearly) at the buzzer, moves on to CJ2 title game Monday night down the Shore

It was a move head coach Anthony Melesurgo says he taught senior guard Quadir Harrell, on a play “Q” says he and senior forward Donovan Nwenyi have done for years, going back to their playground days.

And it helped second-seed Bound Brook escape by the hair of its chinny-chin-chin in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals, with a 50-49 victory over 6th-seed Raritan.

After the Rockets missed two free throws with 13.1 seconds to go, they scored on a backdoor feed into the paint to go up 49-48 with exactly eight seconds left.

With no timeouts, Donovan Newnyi took the inbounds pass along the far sideline going left to right, and found Harrell in the forecourt, who drove in from the right baseline, split two defenders, and got the bucket with 1.8 seconds to go, plus the foul, as he went hard to the floor and ended up in a seated position along the baseline padding, where he could get a wide angle view of the hometown fans losing their collective minds over the play.

Harrell then bricked the free throw off the front iron intentionally so as not to let Raritan get a good look on a full-court inbound after a make. Bound Brook got the rebounds, time expired, and the Crusader student section mobbed their classmates in uniform.

It was the last game for Harrell, Nwenyi, and fellow senior Bryce Cobb, and what a way to go out. But their season’s not over. The Crusaders (22-4) will travel to top-seed Rumson-Fair Haven (20-3)Monday night for a 6:30 pm tip of the Central Jersey Group 2 title game. The Bulldogs were 75-56 winners over 4th-seed Holmdel Friday night.

Click below for postgame reaction from Bound Brook’s CJ2 semifinal win:

Senior guard Quadir Harrell
Head coach Anthony Melesurgo

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.

Harrell’s second half helps No. 6 Bound Brook edge out pesky Middlesex in Skyland-GMC finale

In a 14-game undefeated season, Middlesex gave Bound Brook one of its toughest fights of the year. The Blue Jays led after one quarter, but eventually, the Crusaders’ talent found a way to pull out a win.

Their 2022 meeting in the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge at Bound Brook went very much in the same vein.

After Jeremiah William’s three-ball to open the game for the Brook, Blue Jay Zach Chippendale answered right back, and Middlesex went on a run to take an eight point lead, closing the first period with a 21-13 lead. But 6th-ranked Bound Brook chipped back, and by halftime, after four lead changes, took a 30-27 lead they would never relinquish.

Senior Quadir Harrell led the way with 11 points, all but two of which came after intermission, while game MVP Jeremiah Williams – who turned his ankle in the second half and missed the rest of the contest – had 13, including a pair of threes.

Bound Brook won its 18th straight dating back to last season, and improves to 4-0 on the year, while the Blue Jays dropped to 2-5, losing their fourth straight.

But they hung in until the final few minutes of the game, with the GMC’s leading scorer as of January 6th – Michael Salvatore – scoring 23 points, less than a point off his season average.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Bound Brook’s win:

Senior guard Quadir Harrell
Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo

Eight teams, four games, one day: Bound Brook hosts Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus showcase

Starting anything outside the confines of a pandemic is challenging enough, but doing so in the midst of one is hit or miss.

And so it went last year with what should have Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo’s inaugural Coaches vs. Coronavirus showcase, a fundraising event meant to raise money for those hit hard by the the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year? He again got plenty of interest, and the fates have smiled on the event, at least for the participants.

Though cases continue to surge in New Jersey – and across the U.S. – spurred by the omicron variant, all eight teams are healthy enough to play in today’s event, including the Crusaders, who are coming off a two-week layoff and only got back onto the practice floor as a group yesterday.

Scroll down for previews and notes on today’s games.

Click below to hear organizer and Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo talk about the event with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Skyland vs. GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Schedule
Saturday, January 8 – Bound Brook High School

Dunellen vs. South Hunterdon, 12 pm
South Plainfield vs. Pingry, 2 pm
Franklin vs. Timothy Christian, 4 pm*
Bound Brook vs. Middlesex*

*games broadcast live on Central Jersey Sports Radio; click here to listen

READ MORE:

After two weeks off, Bound Brook gets back at it, will face Middlesex in Skyland-GMC challenge

Anthony Melesurgo, the Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in 2020, helped navigate his team last year through numerous hurdles. Few of them occurred on the court.

There was COVID. Then there was George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

This year, after just a two games, it was another COVID stoppage.

Bound Brook beat Warren Hills on the road just two days before Christmas, and hasn’t played since. They had a pair of games scheduled at home in the Crusader Classic, but Point Pleasant Beach had to cancel because of COVID, scrapping Brook’s opening game. Then, Bound Brook themselves had to cancel for the same reason the next day.

After two weeks off, they got back to practice today (Friday) and Saturday (tomorrow) will take on neighboring Middlesex in the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Challenge. It’s a rivalry game that should attract a good crowd.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio at 6 pm, the final game of the Skyland-GMC Coaches vs. Coronavirus Classic, right after after the Franklin-Timothy Christian game. Mike Pavlichko has all the play by play, with Timothy Christian coach Dennis McNulty providing color commentary. Click here to listen.

Click below to hear Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo talk about the early season, and Saturday’s game against Middlesex:

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

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

Harrell, McLarty, Melesurgo talk No. 9 Bound Brook’s gut-check win over Bernards

In a back and forth game, Quadir Harrell took charge – from the foul line.

The junior guard hit nine straight fourth-quarter free throws – and finished with a game-high 19 points – to help the Crusaders get past Bernards 73-61, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

It was quite the turnaround from the first meeting between the teams, which came less than a week prior – just last Friday – and saw both teams score season lows in points, in a 39-33 Bound Brook victory.

By contrast, it was the third-highest point total of the year for each team.

Bound Brook kept its undefeated season alive with the win, improving to 10-0, and 8-0 in the Skyland Conference Valley Division, while Bernards dropped to 5-3, and 3-3 in the division.

The Crusaders have one more opponent to face, with a win giving them an undefeated regular season. They face Voorhees Saturday. Then, it’s off to the Skyland Conference “Gold Division” bracket of the Skyland Conference Tournament, the top-seed in the eight team field, facing 8th-seed Bridgewater-Raritan (0-10) Tuesday night in the first round.

Click below to hear postgame reaction for Bound Brook’s big win over Bernards:

Junior guard Quadir Harrell
Senior point guard Davie McLarty
Head coach Anthony Melesurgo

OPINION: NJSIAA should allow season extension if snow delays postseason games

The NJSIAA has shown immense flexibility since the start of the school year, doing everything it can to give kids a chance to play the sports they love. That’s all anyone really asked.

A few districts chose not to play, and that’s their perogative. But the decision was left up to them. And that’s another sign of the “new” NJSIAA.

Even in this truncated 40-day high school basketball season, the NJSIAA loosened restrictions on how many games can be played in a week, becoming even more flexible than a typical non-COVID season by allowing two four-game weeks in the regular season. Generally, one such week is allowed.

The problem is, no one has been able to take advantage yet.

According to NJ.com’s standings on Feb. 17 at 10:30 pm, in the Greater Middlesex Conference, on Day 23 of the season – that’s three weeks and change for the math-challenged – only 27 of 61 teams have played eight or nine games, meaning no one is averaging three or more games per week.

On the boys’ side, 11 of 30 teams have played more than seven games, while 16 of 30 have done so on the girls’ side. Only 12 have played fewer than 6.

In the Skyland Conference, as we say, “fugghedaboutit!” Only 11 of the 41 teams overall have even played seven games. None have played more than seven.

In fact, on the boys’ side, 14 of the 24 teams have managed fewer than six games. That’s less than two games a week.

On the girls’ side, 10 of the 27 haven’t gotten to the six-game plateau.

This week, NJSIAA Assistant Director for Basketball Tony Maselli told Central Jersey Sports Radio that “at this point no extensions” are planned. The key words there are “at this point,” so anything is possible after we get more snow dumped on us tomorrow.

There are calls from some to extend the season, at least by a few days, due to all the snow that has fallen, affecting the schedule even more, like it really needed it, already looking like Swiss cheese due to COVID-19 stoppages all over the place. Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo has been among the most vocal on social media.

So here’s a good compromise – if it actually comes to that: the NJSIAA should extend the season, but only to allow postseason play to wrap up.

Look, there’s no state tournament, and I get that. Based on the widely-varying amounts of games played, massive amounts of games missed, lack of comparable schedules that make even county postseason scheduling an arduous task, not having the state tournament, with all the extended travel, was probably the way to go.

But let’s let the kids play something – anything where a winner can call themselves champions. Championships are part of sports.

Otherwise, we’re just playing scrimmages.

So here’s what the NJSIAA should tell its 15 basketball leagues and conferences across the state: “You can’t push back your postseason to get in more regular season games, but if snow – key word: snow, not COVID – affects your postseason tournament, you can go past March 6 to finish it.”

Who knows next week’s forecast? Who knows tomorrow’s forecast? Remember that historic ice storm we were supposed to get Monday night? Exactly.

But let’s not take the chance that we could start yet another postseason and have to shut it down because of a date on the calendar.

We already did that last year when COVID hit. Let’s not yank another chance at a championship from these kids.

Let the postseason finish, regardless of Old Man Winter.