Tag: boys basketball

Rutgers Prep inches up after win over Gill, but STA remains No. 1 in Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving boys’ rankings

Rutgers Prep’s convincing rematch win over Gill St. Bernard’s last Tuesday night on Easton Avenue moved the Argonauts up another notch in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten for Week 7, St. Thomas Aquinas remains No. 1 in the rankings.

Both squads had 3-0 weeks, with the Trojans now 19-1, and the Argonauts 14-6 overall. Gill (13-5) also lost to Paterson Eastside 62-51 to finish the week with a 1-2 mark.

The next four teams all stay put, with just one loss among them. Colonia (15-4) remains in fourth, followed by South River (18-1), Bound Brook (14-2), and South Plainfield (16-3).

The Crusaders were the only one of the four clubs to lose a game in the week gone by, coming to Franklin, which is 11-8 overall, but with four of those losses coming to Gill and Rutgers Prep, and a loss each to South Plainfield and North Brunswick, the first- and second-place teams in the GMC White Division, with just four defeats between them.

READ: Edison community and beyond comes together to “Fight For Allie,” help local 11-year old girl beat brain tumor

North Brunswick (16-3) rejoins the rankings at No. 8 with a 4-0 week, including victories over Princeton, Perth Amboy, Edison and Sayreville, while Hillsborough makes its debut at No. 10. The Raiders had a thrilling four-point win id double-overtime at Immaculata, plus wins over Watchung Hills and Edison for a 3-0 week.

Ridge (13-4) drops to tenth following a 2-1 week, including wins over Montgomery and Somerville, sandwiched around a loss to Watchung Hills.

Dropping out this week are No. 8 St. Joseph-Metuchen (10-7) – after an 0-3 week, with losses to St. Thomas Aquinas, Seton Hall Prep and Newark Central – and No. 10 Immaculata – which went 1-2 this past week, including a win over Perth Amboy and a loss at Phillipsburg.

Below are the full Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Week 7 Rankings:

Playoff Chase: A closer look at GMC and Somerset County boys’ basketball power points as the cutoff nears

The cutoff for the NJSIAA tournament isn’t for another two weeks – February 11th – but if things ended today, around 35 teams from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area would be in the boys’ basketball tournament.

The NJSIAA uses traditional power points, and takes each teams best 16 power point games before the cutoff, using opponents’ first 16 games overall for residuals. That means teams that can reach 16 wins before the cutoff are in much better shape than those who reach only 14, since two of their power point values are likely to be losses, and lower scores.

The top 16 teams in each section make the playoffs, which is typically about 70-75% of all public teams. In the non-publics, all teams make the playoffs, with some of the higher seeds earning byes.

Here’s a section-by-section look at where area teams stand heading into Saturday play in January 28th:

Central Jersey Group 4

Trenton holds the top spot by 54 points over North Brunswick, a pretty comfortable lead at this point of the season. But the Raiders lead third-place Jackson Memorial by only 10 points and Freehold Township by a more comfortable 27. Atop four finish is a pretty good bet for the Raiders, considering the best 16 power point values count. With 15 wins, a loss here or there likely won’t knock them from the top four.

South Brunswick is at No. 8 (11-5, 323 points) and narrowly ahead of Manalapan (10-7, 315). Teams with room to get to 16 wins can make big jumps, so nothing is really set in stone for the Vikings; they could just as easily end up in the top half of the bracket as the bottom half. Montgmery is in tenth (6-12, 304), with Old Bridge two spots behind (7-9, 261). Both are a good bet to qualify at this point.

Sayreville would be considered a bubble team, along with East Brunswick. The Bombers are 4-15 with 204 points, while the Bears are 5-12 with 200 points.

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Central Jersey Group 3

There are only a handful of teams here; Somerville and Carteret should be the only teams to make it, with JFK way out of the running.

Ewing leads the pack by 57 points over Brick Memorial, which still can pick up two more wins before the cutoff.

The Pioneers check in at No. 12 (6-10, 244) while the Ramblers are at 14 (6-11, 234), and both could make significant jumps with a couple of wins over the next two weeks.

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Central Jersey Group 2

South River has been the Cinderella of the GMC this year, widely considered to be worthy of the No. 3 seed in the GMC Tournament out of the Blue Division, by virtue of a December 26th win at St. Joseph-Metuchen. The Rams sit behind Manasquan, which leads this section – but not by much. ‘Squan is 16-3 with 515 points, while the Rams are 17-1 with 511 points.

That’s a slim margin, and with both at the 16-win plateau, it’s going to come down to who can pick up more quality wins over the next two weeks. Surely, both may look to add a tough opponent to their schedule between now and then.

Bound Brook is at No. 4 with a 14-1 record and 431 points, just 20 ahead of Delaware Valley, and 31 ahead of Roselle, but the Crusaders have room for two more wins to boost their number, while the others can only fit one more win to get to 16.

Spotswood (13-5, 355) is fairly comfortable in the top eight, but may not be a shoo-in yet.

Middlesex checks in at 12 (12-6, 291), with East Brunswick Magnet (9-8), Metuchen (8-10) and Roselle Park (5-11) all tied at 207 points. The Blue Jays are likely in, but the Tigers and Bulldogs are squarely on the bubble.

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Central Jersey Group 1

Keyport leads the section at 12-3, with 324 points, but they haven’t locked up anything yet. Even fourth place Manville (10-5, 300) is just 24 points behind them, and there’s plenty of opportunity for the top four teams to win games between now and February 11th, just as there is for the teams outside the top four, three of which – Shore (11-2, 297), Highland Park (11-3, 275) and Florence (9-7, 267) – are withing striking distance and 30 points of them.

South Amboy holds the No. 8 position at 9-6 with 220 points, with Somerset Tech at 12 (8-6, 166), Dunellen in 14th (3-13, 136) and Perth Amboy Magnet (0-12, 87) at 17 and on the bubble.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4

This will be a fun race to watch down the stretch, with Skyland Conference Raritan Division-mates Ridge and Hillsborough holding the top two spots. The Red Devils are 12-4 with 475 points, and have two wins this season over the Raiders, who are 11-5, with 428 points. There’s plenty of room for these teams to gain major points over the next two weeks, since every win up to 16 likely knocks a loss off the ledger.

Franklin – having a nice year at 10-8 – sits in eighth, and has 364 points, 23 ahead of No. 9 Elizabeth (9-6). Again, there’s a lot of room to move here with plenty of wins still available and two weeks to play before the cutoff.

Down at No. 12 is Watchung Hills (9-7, 318), then seven teams are bunched up at 14 through 20, five of them from the CJSR coverage area, and all of them separated by just 24 power points. That’s some big bubble!

Scotch-Plains Fanwood (10-5, 297) is at No. 14, followed by Woodbridge (9-8, 296), JP Stevens (7-10, 293), Perth Amboy (8-8, 292), Piscataway (7-12, 289), Bridgewater-Raritan (5-12, 273) and Union (8-7, 271).

Edison is a real long shot, 66 points out of the running with a 7-11 record.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3

Another good battle is brewing here between former White Division-mates in the GMC, but still rivals Colonia and South Plainfield. The Patriots are 14-4 with 479 points, 15 points ahead of the Tigers, who are 15-2. Colonia has more room to make bigger gains here. But they’re not alone. West Morris (16-2, 453) is just 11 points behind South Plainfield, but after that, Chatham (13-2) is way back with 365 points, 88 behind the Wolfpack.

After that, there’s no one from the area until you get all the way down to 18, but North Plainfield (6-8, 202) isn’t out of it yet. The Canucks need some wins, but they’re just 13 points out of a playoff spot behind Warren Hills (5-10), with Governor Livingston (6-9, 207) in between them.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2

Caldwell is atop this section, at 14-2 with 463 power points.

The only area team here is Bernards (8-10, 283) sitting in eighth. Potentially four teams are within realistic striking distance behind them, including Science Park (10-6, 277), Hackettstown (10-4, 2776), Verona (7-10, 274) and Lyndhurst (12-5, 272).

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Non-Public North B

The top team here in the standings is St. Thomas Aquinas, which is 18-1 with 521 points, but the question is can they hold on to it. Behind them are St. Mary-Rutherford (15-2, 464), Gill St. Bernard’s (12-5, 430) and then the No.1 team in the state rankings, Roselle Catholic. Despite what the rankings say, and maybe even the eye test, the Lions are just 10-4, with a lot of room to move up, but will they? That will be the thing to watch over the next two weeks. Their schedule is stacked, but even some of those opponents have a few losses. It’s surprising, but then again, maybe not really.

Timothy Christian (8-9, 282) is in eighth, but it’s not a 16-yeam bracket, with only 14 in the section, and who knows is a school like Wardlaw-Hartridge – at 0-12 – will even play in the tournament.

Non-Public South B

State-ranked St. Rose of Belmar (16-2, 482) leads the pack here, and there’s just one CJSR-area team in the section. Calvary Christian of Old Bridge – the GMC Gold Division leader by a half-game over Highland Park heading into the weekend – is sixth with a 13-2 record and 278 points.

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Non-Public South A

This section is just flat-out stacked. And it’s Camden Catholic atop the pile with a 13-3 mark and 546 points, 70 ahead of St. Augustine (13-4). Then Immaculata at 12-4 with 420 points, and then Rutgers Prep (13-6, 395).

And it’s so close behind the Argonauts, too, as St. Joseph-Metuchen at 10-6 is just one point away (394) and Notre Dame in sixth is just four points behind Prep, with 391 points.

Pingry (11-5, 330) checks in here at No. 9.

INSTANT REPLAY: No. 7 South Plainfield 54, Woodbridge 38 (Boys)

Senior guard Tyreak Williams’ 16 points led No. 7 South Plainfield past Woodbridge in a GMC White Division game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Fellow senior guard Brandon Dean chipped in 15 despite still dealing with an injury to his shooting hand, as the Tigers are now just two wins away from clinching the division title.

Kendall Pala and Nadino Jospeh paced the Barrons with 8 points each.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko call all the play-by-play from Woodbridge High School on January 26, 2023:

No. 7 South Plainfield overcomes slow start to win at Woodbridge, inch closer to GMC White crown

The first quarter may not have been they best they’d played all year.

South Plainfield and Woodbridge were tied 7-7 after one, but the Tigers were able to pull way after that.

The Tigers slowly grew the lead, then got a spark at the end of the half from senior guard Brandon Dean, who swished a pair of shots from downtown back-to-back, to close the half with South Plainfield ahead 28-13.

It would get as close as nine in the second half, as the Barrons made a bit of a run in the final eight minutes, but no closer. Final score: 54-38 Tigers.

Dean finished with those two triples and 15 points, but game high honors went to Tareak Williams, a fellow senior guard who has picked up the slack while Dean has been dealing with an injury to his shooting hand that’s been enough to slow him down, but not enough to keep him off the court.

For the Barrons, no one cracked double figures, as senior Kendall Pala and junior Nardino Joseph each finished with eight points. The trouble was the South Plainfield D did a number on Micah Eason, the team’s leading scorer. Coming in averaging nearly 15 points a game, he was held scoreless until the third quarter, and finished with just four points on a field goal and 2-of-3 shooting at the line.

The win puts South Plainfield at 11-1 in the GMC White with two games left, 15-2 overall. Woodbridge drops to 9-8, 7-5 in the White.

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Click below for postgame reaction brought to you by the Sportsplex at Metuchen:

South Painfield senior guard Tareak Williams
South Plainfield’s Tareak Williams (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
South Plainfield head coach John Greco

Barrons looking to play more than spoiler Thursday in White Division clash with South Plainfield

Sure, 7th-ranked South Plainfield is looking to finish the season strong and close out its third straight divisional championship in the GMC.

But that doesn’t mean Woodbridge is looking to play spoiler tonight when the Barrons (9-7, 7-4 GMC White) entertain the Tigers (14-2, 10-1) on senior night, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio

Woodbridge is trying to finish the year strong, too, after a 2021-22 campaign that saw many players get baptized by the GMC White fire, which last year included Colonia and St. Thomas Aquinas, now departed for the Red Division.

They started the year strong with three straight wins, but have had their share of heartbreaking, buzzer-beating defeats. Those include losses to rival Perth Amboy, Edison, and the Tigers themselves, in the first meeting, when senior Brandon Dean hit a runner as time expired for the victory in South Plainfield.

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Tonight’s game can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio beginning with pregame at 5:15 and tip-off at 5:30 pm. Mike Pavlichko will call all the action. Click here to listen.

The Barrons are led by Micah Eason, a junior averaging nearly 15 points a game, and otherwise have balances scoring with senior Kendall Pala and sophomore Derrick Anderson averaging just over 8 ppg.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Woodbridge head coach Jonathan Toczynski:

South Plainfield looking to close out strong, win first division title since 2005

Sure, the South Plainfield Tigers have won two straight division titles in Greater Middlesex Conference play, and are just three wins away from locking down a third all on their own.

But those came in the Blue Division.

When No. 7 South Plainfield (14-2, 10-1 GMC White) travels to Woodbridge (9-7, 7-4) Thursday night – in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – the Tigers can take one more step toward clinching their first outright White Division title in 17 years, since the days of Jeff Lubreski as head coach, and standouts on the floor like Marquis Jones and Darren Smith.

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And the Barrons are likely their biggest hurdle.

South Plainfield won the White in the winters of 2003 and 2004, and took the GMC Tournament title in ’04 and ’05, sharing the White crown in 2005 with Colonia.

A win would would leave two remaining division games – North Plainfield and New Brunswick. A split clinches a share of the division for the Tigers, and a sweep wins it outright, as they lead North Brunswick – which is 8-2 in the White – by a half-game. The Tigers split with the Raiders this season.

You can hear all Thursday night’s action live from Woodbridge High School with Mike Pavlichko calling the play-by-play. Pregame begins at 5:15 pm with tipoff at 5:30 pm. Click here to listen.

South Plainfield is lead by Brandon Dean, a senior guard averaging 21.4 points per game, one of the tops in the GMC. He also hit the game-winning shot against Woodbridge at home to beat the Barrons 48-46 on December 22nd.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with South Plainfield head coach John Greco:

INSTANT REPLAY: No. 3 Rutgers Prep 64, No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s 43 (Boys)

Third-ranked Rutgers Prep led nearly wire-to-wire in a 64-43 home win over No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s, fueled by a game-high 22 points from senior Marist commit Jadin Collins, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Cameron Piggee, in his fourth game back off a high-ankle sprain had 10 points, including a pair of treys, while Nick Losada led Gill will 13, including two threes of his own.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tasakonas call all the play-by-play on January 24, 2023:

No 3. Rutgers Prep boys make their case for top SCT seed with tip-to-horn win over No. 2 Gill St. Bernards

Jadin Collins got third-ranked Rutgers Prep out to a 2-0 lead, and the Argonauts never looked back.

And now they may be looking at the top seed in the Somerset County Tournament.

They sure have a strong case after their defense suffocated No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s for the full 32 minutes Tuesday night, in a 64-43 win heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The wins mean the teams split the regular season series, and should be co-champions in the Skyland Conference Delaware Division, assuming Prep (12-6) beats Bridgewater-Raritan at home Thursday night. That would leave the Argonauts and Knights (12-4) both at 7-1 in the division.

Comparing the head-to-head matchups, Gill won by two back on January fifth, and Prep just won by 21.

It was all Rutgers Prep in this one, virtually wire-to-wire. Marist commit and senior Jadin Collins finished with a game-high 22 points, including one of the team’s seven treys, to Gill’s three. In the earlier meeting, Gill hit 12 times from downtown, and Prep only once.

But Cameron Piggee missed that game – and several others – with a high ankle sprain. Back in the lineup for his fourth game since returning from injury, he had two first quarter threes that got Prep out to a 22-5 lead after one quarter.

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That extended to 18 in the second before GSB got it down to five, but Rutgers Prep extended it to eleven by the break, and it never got under ten the rest of the way. Johnny Nsenkyire added a paire of threes, while John Kelly and Jordan Atkins each hit one.

The win was just the third in the last 20 meetings between the teams, but they’ve also split their last four. Rutgers Prep won their meeting in the 2019-20 season, but Gill won last year’s Somerset County Tournament final against Prep 84-63, and then had the January fifth win this year.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

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Senior Jadin Collins
Head coach Matt Bloom

Gill St. Bernard’s may have upper hand, but after buzzer-beating win, top SCT seed up for grabs in battle at Rutgers Prep tonite

In a series that has been dominated by Gill St. Bernard’s over the years – which has won 17 of the last 19 meetings between the schools, there’s a lot legitimately on the line tonight when the 2nd-ranked Knights travel to Somerset to square off against No. 3 Rutgers Prep.

Gill (12-3, 7-0 Skyland Delaware) is in the driver’s seat, of course, thanks to a buzzer-beating three-point shot by Nick Losada that gave the Knights a 67-65 win at home back on January 5th. A win, and they lock up the Skyland Conference’s top division title, and the top-seed in the Somerset County Tournament.

But a Rutgers Prep win would likely leave them co-champs, and then you can let the debate begin.

You can hear tonight’s game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame beginning at 6:45 pm and tip-off at 7. Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the action. Click here to listen.

The Argonauts (11-6, 5-1) have not won in this series very often, but there have been some close games. In addition to this month’s previous matchup, Prep beat them in 2020, played to an eight-point game in February 2019, and lost by two in the county final the year prior.

Add to that the fact that Rutgers Prep has been without captain Cameron Piggee for a good chuck of the season, including the prior matchup this month with Gill, in which the Knights drained 12 three-pointers, while the Argos only hit one.

Click below for preview interviews with both head coaches:

Chris Tsakonas with Gill St. Bernard’s head coach Mergin Sina
Mike Pavlichko with Rutgers Prep head coach Matt Bloom

Down the home stretch, how do the top GMC and Somerset County boys’ teams shape up?

We’re less than two weeks away from the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament seeding meeting, and a little more than two weeks away from the Somerset County Tournament gathering. The future for some teams is fairly certain, while others still have a lot up in the air with a lot of moving parts.

Here’s a look at the teams in our Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area:

GREATER MIDDLESEX CONFERENCE:

Red Division: With a pilot program in place for this year that only requires teams to play each other once, the division title in the GMC Red was determined back on Tuesday night, when St. Thomas Aquinas outlasted St. Joseph in Metuchen, 66-62, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. That left the Trojans undefeated in league play (8-0). Nicely and neatly, they’ve essentially locked up the No. 1 seed in the county tournament.

Some teams are playing each other twice, including Aquinas, Colonia and St. Joe’s. In fact, the Falcons avenged a triple-ovetime 83-78 loss to Colonia back on December 20th with a 47-45 win Thursday night. But that win doesn’t matter. After the first pass through the regular season, Aquinas finished first in the division, with Colonia (7-1) second and St. Joe’s third (6-2). So, when it’s time for seeding Aquinas will come first, Colonia second and Joe’s third, even if the Falcons come back and beat Aquinas in North Edison next Tuesday.

White Division: Since all the other divisions are “normal” this year, there’s a lot of basketball yet to be played for many teams. South Plainfield and North Brunswick are both 12-2, but the Tigers are 8-1 in divisional play and the Raiders’ 7-2. They split with each other, but North’s extra loss is to Perth Amboy. They best the Raiders’ can do to get a shot at the division title is to run the table, and hope the Tigers trip up somewhere. That would force at least a co-championship, with the tie to be broken at the seeding meeting.

South Plainfield only played “up” once, losing to St. Joseph in Metuchen by 14 on January 3rd. North Brunswick beat two Red Division teams in their own holiday tournament: East Brunswick (5-10) and South Brunswick (9-5). If it got that far, you’d have to think, advantage: Raiders.

The Tigers have four more divisional games left, with three against the bottom half of the White, and another next Thursday against Woodbridge (8-6), which should be their toughest test of the bunch. Central Jersey Sports Radio will be there to bring you all the live play-by-play.

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Blue Division: Even though Piscataway was the first team to beat South River this season, it’s looking like no one in the division will beat the Rams, who pulled away from Spotswood Friday night in the second half of their rematch game, en route to a 73-51 win. They’re 9-0 in division play, but even with five games left, who else is going to beat them? Spotswood and Middlesex – both 11-4 overall – are the only .500-or-better teams in the division. The Rams have already taken the Chargers twice, and Middlesex is coming up at home next Friday.

Gold Division: Calvary Christian leads the pack at 7-0 with the second half of their divisional schedule left to play, a half-game ahead of 7-1 Highland Park. The problem for the Owls is this: their rematch game with Calvary is scheduled for 5:30 on February 3rd, about ten hours after the GMC seeding will take place, so it won’t be considered. Unless that game gets moved earlier, Highland Park may need to rely on them to trip up somewhere.

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GMC Tourmanent Projection: It’s still way too early for a lot of teams, but it’s pretty clear the top two seeds will be St. Thomas Aquinas, followed by Colonia. That would leave most likely St. Joseph, North Brunswick/South Plainfield, South River, and Calvary Christian/Highland Park on the board. Which means the three-seed will come down to St. Joseph or South River. We think it’s a no-brainer: despite the Rams’ loss to then-5-8 (now 5-11) Piscataway, they beat St. Joe’s head-to-head, making the Rams an easy choice for the No. 3 seed.

Why does it matter? You’d potentially avoid St. Thomas Aquinas until the final, even though you’d still have to get through Colonia or St. Joe’s (again) in the semifinals to get there. It may be a pick-your-poison scenario, but hey, everyone has to play the games.

So we think South River at three, then Joe’s at No. 4. Five is likely the White Division winner. Then the question is whether the six-seed will go to the second-place team from the White, or the fourth-place team from the Red. That’s a choice between South Brunswick or South Plainfield/North Brunswick.

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Should the Tigers win the division, that should go to North Brunswick, which beat South Brunswick head-to-head, as well as East Brunswick from the Red. So if South Plainfield takes the White, it should go: Tigers at five, Raiders at six, Vikings at seven.

If North Brunswick winds up winning the division, they would go at five, then it’s down to South Plainfield and South Brunswick for six and seven, and that would make a good debate. Against teams already seeded, the Vikings would have lost to St. Joe’s and Aquinas once each, as well as Colonia, and they play the Patriots today at 1:00 on the road. They also would have split with North Brunswick, making them 2-4 against teams “on the board,” with one more game to play against Colonia. South Plainfield would have split with North Brunswick and lost to St. Joe’s, going 1-1.

The eighth seed would automatically go to the Gold winner, whoever it is, Calvary Christian or Highland Park, as the seeding rules call for all four division winners to be seeded among the top eight.

SOMERSET COUNTY:

While the coveted seeds with double-byes are the top eight in the GMCs, the Somerset County Tournament only has the top four teams getting the double byes. And it’s a little more difficult because those teams play in the Skyland Conference, with divisions combining Warren and Hunterdon County teams, which have their own tournament with Sussex County squads.

Nonetheless, the top seed will come down to Tuesday night’s game – which can be heard at 7 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio – between Gill St. Bernard’s and Rutgers Prep. In their only meeting last year, the top-seeded Knights beat the Argonauts 84-63 in the Somerset County Tournament Final. But this year, Gill beat Prep 67-65 on a buzzer-beating three by Nick Losada up in Peapack-Gladstone on January 5th.

That was without Cameron Piggee, who got banged up against Neumann Goretti on December 30th and missed two weeks, returning to play against Seton Hall Prep a week ago. But he sat out wins against Hunterdon Central and Saddle River Day this week. It remains to be seen whether he’ll suit up – or be at full strength – against the Knights on Tuesday.

That being said, Tuesday night’s game essentially is for the top seed. A Gill win would make it easy, sweeping the two-game season series. A Prep win would spark an interesting debate, since neither team has come close.

Rutgers Prep has played only three games against Somerset County competition so far, and won all three, beating Franklin twice and Bridgewater-Raritan once, by an average 17 points. The wins over the Warriors were by eight on opening night, and by seven last week. After gill, they only play Bridgewater-Raritan the rest of the way.

Gill has done the reverse, beating Bridgewater twice and Franklin once, with just Franklin coming up – besides, of course, the game at Prep Tuesday. The margin in those three games has been just under 16 points.

So, if Rutgers Prep forces a split in the season series with Gill, it may come down more to how they beat them.

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For the Somerset County Tournament, the coaches fill out their seeds, top to bottom, and each team is scored. The one that gets the most points is awarded the top seed. An Argonauts win would make it real interesting.

As for the third and fourth seeds, there really are three teams in play, and the one that gets in could face the one that get left out in the 5-vs.-4 game in the quarterfinals. Under consideration would be Immaculata (11-2 overall), Ridge (10-3) and Bound Brook (12-1).

At this point – remember, there’s still much basketball to be played – Immaculata is likely the third-seed. The Spartans are 7-1 against Somerset County foes this year, their lone loss to Hillsborough (8-4), which moved down from the Delaware Division to the Spartans’ Raritan this season. That was a 60-55 defeat, on the road, on January 10th, and their first loss of the season. (Their other came to Ranney out of Monmouth County.)

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Here’s where it gets interesting: Ridge is 5-2 against Somerset County competition, with a pair of wins over Hillsborough, and wins over Montgomery, Watchung Hills and Pingry. Their two losses came to Immaculata. They still have Montgomery, Watchung Hills and Somerville before the seeding.

Bound Brook is 4-0 against Somerset County competition, with two wins over Pingry – both by a single point – and single victories over Bernards and Somerville. They still have Somerville, Franklin and Immaculata before the meeting.

If it ended today, we might give a super slight edge to Bound Brook. But it’s the game against the Spartans that likely will be the difference. A win over Immaculata would seal the deal. That game is Friday, February 4th at 7 pm in The Brook, a tough place to play. The last time they met on that side of Route 287 was in the 2021 Skyland Conference one-off Gold Pod Final, which the Crusaders won, capping a 14-0 season for Bound Brook.

Ah, intrigue!