Tag: boys basketball

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:

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

Bound Brook boys remain undefeated with win in Skyland Tourney opening round; three teams out due to COVID

It was an up-and-down night for boys basketball on Day One of the Skyland Conference Tournament.

With two top-seeds having first-round byes – Gill St. Bernard’s and Somerville – the only one in action moved on, but three teams are out due to COVID shutdowns.

Pingry’s entire athletic department is shutdown, while Ridge and North Hunterdon also are out.

Blue Division

There won’t be a rubber match between Gill St. Bernard’s and Hunterdon Central, after 5th-seed Watchung Hills knocked off the 4th-seeded Red Devils 46-43. Central gave Gill a game in Gladstone in their first meeting, 77-64, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. But the Red Devils won the rematch last week in Flemington, 57-49. Now, it’ll be the Warriors (10-3) who take on the top-seeded Knights (6-3) for a trip to the Blue title game.

Continue reading “Bound Brook boys remain undefeated with win in Skyland Tourney opening round; three teams out due to COVID”

Rivera makes most of Senior Night as No. 2 Aquinas rolls past Raiders

Senior swing Joshua Rivera – who holds multiple D1 offers – continued to step up in the absence of two starters Monday night, pouring in 23 points to help No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas beat North Brunswick 83-58 on the final night of the regular season, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Rivera scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half for Aquinas (8-4, 5-0 GMC White), which earlier in the day received the top overall seed in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s postseason pods, even if the league isn’t revealing its overall seeds.

North Brunswick dropped to 6-6, 3-3 in the GMC White with the loss. The Raiders were paced by senior center Donovan Crawford’s 17 points, while Jabri Fitzpatrick – fresh off a season high 29 points in an upset of then-No. 2 St. Joseph of Metuchen Saturday – chipped in 15.

Three other players scored in double figures for Aquinas. Kyree Henry and Adam Silas each scored 17, including three treys each. Jalen Jones added 14.

St. Thomas Aquinas – the top seed in the “Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod” – will open postseason play at home Wednesday night at 7 against fourth-seed South Brunswick (10-2).

Click below to listen to Monday night’s game broadcast between No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas and North Brunswick:

No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas proves it’s No. 1 in the GMC; postgame reaction from win over North Brunswick

St. Thomas Aquinas let there be no doubt that it’s the overall team in the GMC, hours after being awarded the overall top seed – even though the league isn’t calling it that – in the Greater Middlesex Conference postseason pods.

It was between the Trojans and St. Joseph-Metuchen coming into this past weekend, but Aquinas separated itself with a win over state-ranked Hudson Catholic – which had lost to St. Joe’s days earlier – while the Falcons lost to North Brunswick.

Monday night, St. Thomas Aquinas put the exclamation point on it, by beating the Raiders, but good.

On his Senior Night, 6-7 swing D1 prospect Joshua Rivera scored 23 points – 17 after intermission – to send No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas past North Brunswick 83-58 in a GMC White Division Game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Rivera also added three dunks, including one on an alley-oop.

The win puts Aquinas at 8-4 overall, 5-0 in GMC play, with all those game coming in their division.

And they did it without two key starters. Jaquan Harris ended his season last week due to a bout with tendinitis in his left knee, while Tristian Jeffries was out with an ankle injury suffered in a win last week against St. John Vianney.

Three other players scored in double-figures for the Trojans. Senior guard Kyree Henry scored 17, including a trio of treys, as did junior point guard Adam Silas. Senior forward Jalen Jones had 14.

St. Thomas Aquinas now moves on to the top-tier four-team pod in the GMC postseason, and as the top-seed in the “Karl-Anthony Towns Jay Williams Pod” will play 4th-seed South Brunswick Wednesday night at 7 pm. The other side of the bracket includes 3rd-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen at 2nd-seed Colonia.

The Trojans-Vikings game will be part of a girls’-boys’ doubleheader in North Edison Wednesday night, as the Aquinas girls – the 2nd-seed in the top-tier “Somogyi Family Pod” – will host 3rd-seed Monroe at 4 pm.

Click below to hear Dom Savino’s postgame talk with Rivera, and Aquinas head coach Bob Turco:

Senior swing Joshua Rivera
Head Coach Dave Turco

Regular season finale between North Brunswick, No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas features two teams coming off signature wins

St. Thomas Aquinas has played a challenging out of conference schedule. Saturday they came up with a signature win, knocking off state-ranked No. 11 Hudson Catholic 60-58 in double overtime on a basket at the buzzer by a senior with a bum ankle.

Perhaps they were just trying to outdo North Brunswick, whose unranked ballclub had just finished earning what’s believed to be its first win over St. Joseph-Metuchen since shocking Jay Williams’ 1997 squad in the GMC Tournament final, by beating the Falcons 61-57.

Aquinas and North Brunswick will square off tonight in the regular season finale for both ballclubs, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino have the call, which you can listen to by clicking here, with air-time approximately 6:45 pm for the 7:00 game.

Aquinas may have its work cut out for it, however. As with the Hudson Catholic game, the Trojans will be without junior point guard Jaquan Harris. Head coach Bob Turco announced last week he would be out for the remainder of the season due to tendinitis in his left knee.

Tonight’s game is sponsored locally by St. Thomas Aquinas High School, now holding a virtual Open House online.

Turco also told Central Jersey Sports Radio Monday morning that senior guard Tristian Jeffries also would likely not start, and may not play, with an injured ankle he suffered in a win against St. John Vianney last week. Jeffries was able to give it a go Saturday, however, and was mobbed by his teammates when he hit the game-winner, according to Turco.

Click below to hear North Brunswick coach Ed Breheney and St. Thomas Aquinas coach Bob Turco talk about their teams, and tonight’s matchup:

North Brunswick head coach Ed Breheney
St.. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco

Boys’ regular season wrap-up: Bound Brook heads into Skyland Tourney as lone unbeaten area team, and other notes of interest

What a year the Bound Brook Crusaders have had.

Lucky enough to have no COVID pauses, Anthony Melesurgo’s squad has persevered, and reaped the rewards of their sacrifice to stay safe and stay on the court.

Bound Brook has finished the regular season with an 11-0 mark, entering the postseason as the only undefeated team out of the 54 calling either the GMC or Skyland Conference home.

All but one of Bound Brook’s games came against league competition, with their lone out of conference game coming against a Linden team whose 1-11 record is deceptive, by virtue of playing in the Union County Conference’s stacked Watchung Division – which includes Roselle Catholic, Elizabeth and Union – as well as Paterson Eastside and Montgomery.

Bound Brook won all four of its games this week: Monday at Linden 68-61, Tuesday at North Plainfield 56-41, Thursday at home against Bernards 73-61 (on Central Jersey Sports Radio), and Saturday afternoon against Voorhees 78-55.

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

The Crusaders are the top-seed in the “Gold Division” bracket of the Skyland Conference Tournament, which will include three ‘pods” this year, and for the first time ever put teams in Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties in the same field.

Continue reading “Boys’ regular season wrap-up: Bound Brook heads into Skyland Tourney as lone unbeaten area team, and other notes of interest”

St. Thomas Aquinas boys lock down top GMC postseason pod seed with weekend win over state-ranked Hudson Catholic

It took double overtime, but St. Thomas Aquinas – minus its biggest star – picked up a huge win Saturday afternoon, beating state-ranked Hudson Catholic 60-58 in North Edison.

The Trojans (7-4) learned they earlier this week they would be without junior guard Jaquan Harris for the rest of the season – as first reported by Greg Tufaro of mycentraljersey.com – with tendinitis in his left knee that requires surgery.

Not to say they didn’t miss him Saturday afternoon, but they pulled off a big win over the No. 11 team in the NJ.com statewide rankings. The Hawks entered the week 5-1, but now are 6-3 after two losses to GMC foes this week; they fell 66-61 at St. Joe’s of Metuchen Wednesday night.

The win essentially locks up the top spot in the GMC postseason pod tournament, which will be seeded Monday and begins Wednesday for both the boys and girls. And Aquinas now should sweep both top seeds, as their girls are the top team in the GMC as well, and beat their next closest competiton – Monroe – in their only head-to-head matchup this year.

Both Aquinas hoops teams won last year’s GMC Tournament.

Click below to hear St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco talk to Mike Pavlichko about Saturday’s big win:

North Brunswick upends No. 2 St. Joe’s, fueled by Fitzpatrick

St. Joseph of Metuchen has played a strong out of conference schedule, and the 2nd-ranked Falcons had just come off a big win over state-ranked Hudson Catholic.

None of that mattered to North Brunswick Saturday afternoon.

The unranked Raiders got 29 points from senior guard Jabri Fitzpatrick, including nine free throws – and 5-of-5 at the line in the fourth quarter – to beat St. Joe’s at home 61-57.

And it helped mix up the debate over the upcoming GMC postseason pod seeding Monday morning.

St. Joe’s and St. Thomas Aquinas were considered widely to be battling for the top two seeds in the top GMC boys postseason pod. Now, it would appear at least that Aquinas has a stranglehold on the top spot, since they knocked off state-ranked Hudson Catholic Saturday afternoon 60-58 in double overtime, improving to 7-4.

Click below to listen to North Brunswick coach Ed Breheney talk about the Raiders’ big win Saturday afternoon:

No. 9 Bound Brook outlasts Bernards 73-61 to win 10th straight, remain unbeaten

Undefeated Bound Brook is a win away from completing a perfect regular season, short as it may be due to COVID-19.

The 9th-ranked Crusaders had balanced scoring in a 73-61 home win over Bernards Thursday night, heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio and powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Junior guard Quadir Harrell led all scorers in the game with 19 points. He had ten in the first half – including a pair of treys – and then added nine straight fourth-quarter free throws to help seal the win.

Junior point guard Davie McLarty and senior forward Cam’ron Summers each scored 16 points, and each had three triples, whuile sophomore center Jordan Summers chipped in 15 points.

Click below to listen to No. 9 Bound Brook’s 73-61 home win over Bernards: