Tag: Colonia

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:

Aquinas continues winning, stays atop Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball rankings

On the strength of a 3-0 week, St. Thomas Aquinas continues to hold the No. 1 ranking in the Bellamy & Son Paving Week 6 Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

The Trojans (16-1) had a 2-0 week, beating St. Joseph-Metuchen Tuesday 66-62 on the road to clinch the GMC Red Division and likely the top seed in the upcoming GMC Tournament, as well as Miami Northwestern 78-59 in a showcase game.

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Gill St. Bernard’s (12-3) held at No. 2, with a 2-1 week that included divisional wins over Franklin and Hunterdon Central and a weekend loss to St. Benedict’s Prep. Rutgers Prep (11-6) inched up to third on a 3-1 week, with wins over Hunterdon Central, Saddle River Day and at Ranney, while losing to Manasquan Sunday 64-54.

The Knights and Argonauts will face off Tuesday night at 7 in Somerset in a game with Skyland Conference Delaware Division implications, but which also could determine the top seed in the upcoming Somerset County Tournament. Gill won their previous meeting on January 5 on a buzzer-beating corner three from Nick Losada.

Colonia (12-4) dropped a spot to fourth despite wins at JP Stevens and against South Brunswick, as the Patriots also lost to St. Joe’s 47-45.

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South River (14-1) and Bound Brook (12-1) had perfect weeks and held steady in fifth and sixth, respectively.

South Plainfield (13-2) nudged up two spots to seventh on a 3-0 week, with a non-conference win over New Providence, as well as divisional wins over Perth Amboy and Edison.

St. Joe’s (10-4) went 1-1 in divisional play against the two top teams in the GMC Red, splitting with Aquinas and Colonia, while also beating Roselle this past weekend in non-conference play, and moves up to No. 8.

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Ridge (11-3) drops to ninth after a 1-2 week that included losses to Immaculata and Phillipsburg, despite a win over North Brunswick (12-3), which dropped out of the rankings on a 2-1 week that included a loss to Ridge.

Immaculata (12-2) – tied for tenth last week with the Falcons – holds the spot all on their own, with a 3-0 week that included the win over Ridge, and victories over Watchung Hills and Koinonia.

Below are the full Week 6 Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Rankings:

Top five hold, bottom five shuffle, plus one new team in Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball rankings

There was no movement among the top five teams in the Week 6 Bellamy & Son Boys’ Basketball Top Ten, but plenty below them, and a new team in the fray as well.

St. Thomas Aquinas (13-1) held onto the top spot with a 2-0 week, while Gill St. Bernards (10-2) used a 3-0 week to stay put at No. 2.

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Colonia (10-3) held at third despite a 1-2 week, with one of those losses to top-ranked Aquinas, and the other an out-of-area loss to state-ranked Linden.

Rutgers Prep (8-5) holds in fourth after a 2-1 week, the loss coming out-of-area to state-ranked Seton Hall Prep., while South River holds at five despite suffering its first loss of the season, coming to Red Division opponent Piscataway.

Bound Brook (10-1) – which lost to the Rams a week ago – rebounded with a 3-0 week and climbs two spots to sixth, Ridge (10-1) also moved up two spots on a 3-0 week.

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North Brunswick (10-2) joins the rankings at No. 8 after beating South Plainfield (10-2) Saturday, dropping the Tigers to ninth.

St. Joseph-Metuchen (8-3) holds in tenth, tied with Immaculata (9-2), which went 1-2 this week, 1-1 in-league with a five-point loss at Hillsborough, while dropping a non-league game to Ranney.

Below are the complete Week 5 Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Rankings:

Two GMC division leaders fall, but what will the impact be on tourney seeding?

The teams atop the Greater Middleex Conference White and Blue Divisions both suffered losses this Saturday, with South River taking its first L of the season, and South Plainfield picking up its second.

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, but how will it affect the seeding in the GMC Tournament next month?

Well, a lot still depends on what happens in the Red Division.

There has been much talk about South River getting one of the top three seeds in the tournament after the Rams shocked St. Joseph with a win over the Falcons in Metuchen by eight on the day after Christmas. Any Blue Division team beating a Red is a big deal, let alone one considered at the top of the division.

But what about a loss to a Red Division team, and one that has been struggling immensely?

That’s what happened Saturday, when South River suffered a stunner of its own, falling by a single point to Piscataway, which is now just 5-8 on the season.

Put a pin in that for a moment and let’s circle back to the Red Division title race. With Colonia having beaten St. Joe’s, and St. Thomas Aquinas beating Colonia last Thursday night (as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio), the division comes down to this: if Aquinas can beat the Falcons on the road Tuesday night – also to be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – the Trojans will be division champs. Colonia will be second, and the Falcons third.

Should that happen, Aquinas is easily your No. 1 seed, followed by Colonia. What about South River?

The prevailing thought was the Rams could – and should – get the third seed by virtue of having beaten St. Joseph head-to-head. And while there has long been a perceived Red Division bias in many sports in the GMC, there are rarely head-to-head matchups to consider. More often, a debate has been something like: “Do we go with this undefeated Blue team or this 5-win Red Division team as the sixth seed?”

The head-to-head makes this one different. Will the loss to Piscataway make a dent? After all, if a Blue beating a Red is such a big deal, that would be because of the preconceived notion that a Blue team is not supposed to beat a Red. So, why should a loss to a Red team be a knock on South River?

Should the Rams lose one of their remaining Blue Division games, all bets are probably off. And that’s not out of the realm of possibility; they host Spotswood on Friday night in a rematch of an early season game that saw the Rams win by their closest margin against a GMC opponent all year, just six points. But if they finish the season without another GMC loss, they really should be in play for one of the top three seeds.

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The White Division played itself out of one of the top three seeds (Why top three? Because everyone wants to avoid playing the No. 1 in the semifinals.) in the past week when the Tigers lost to St. Joseph, and the division took its final body blow when North Brunswick beat South Plainfield Saturday, leaving the top two teams in the White with division losses (the Raiders already lost to Perth Amboy earlier this season).

In the GMC Tournament seeding room, it goes like this. All the division winners are considered first. So – if Aquinas wins Tuesday – you would likely have Aquinas from the Red, North Brunswick or South Plainfield from the White, South River from the Blue, and Highland Park or Calvary Christian from the Gold.

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Aquinas goes first. Then Colonia. Now the four on the board are Joe’s, North Brunswick/South Plainfield, South River, Highland Park/Calvary. The Gold will get the eight-seed, the lowest a division winner can be seeded. North Brunswick would be out, with a loss to Amboy, so it comes down to Joe’s and South River. Assuming the Rams are unbeaten in Blue play, with the win over Joe’s, and despite a loss to Piscataway of the Red, it would be mighty hard to still pick Joe’s over South River.

The real wrinkle? Well, that comes if St. Joe’s beats Aquinas at home on Tuesday night on Central Jersey Sports Radio. That would force a three-way tie in the division, and Aquinas, Colonia, and Joe’s would be co-champs. The rematches would not factor into who the champions are, per a one-year pilot program in effect this year in the Red Division where the teams only have to play each other once. However, the rematches would be used to “break the tie” among the three teams, a process done by the seeding committee before slotting teams in the bracket.

That means that if Joe’s wins, and all three are tied, the committee would use all available games to see who comes out first. The three-way tie would give new life to St. Joe’s. For example, if they win both rematches with Colonia and Aquinas, they would have three wins in the series, more than anyone else, and could go No. 1 in the tournament. That would push Colonia and Aquinas to Nos. 2 and 3 in any order, and leave South River no better than fourth, most likely.

(Of course, there’s also the question of: should South River be seeded ahead of Piscataway?)

The upshot is this: The White Division won’t have a shot at one of the top four seeds in the GMC Tournament. But South River should still be very much in play as long as St. Thomas Aquinas takes care of business Tuesday night.

INSTANT REPLAY: No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas 69, No. 3 Colonia 46 (Boys)

Top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas used a 15-5 second-quarter run to take the lead, and clamped down on defense in the third quarter top beat No. 3 Colonia 69-46 in North Edison, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Junior guard Deuce Jones led the way with a game-high 16 points for St. Thomas (12-1) while Samir Thomas added 14, including four treys in the second quarter, and Terrell Pitts added 10. Senior Anthony Gooden led Colonia with 15 points.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play on January 12, 2023:

No. 1 Aquinas uses defense to topple No. 3 Colonia, take control of GMC Red race

Even when Samir Thomas sank four threes in rapid succession in the second quarter, the game was far from over.

He got top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas back in the game when his team was down five, at 25-20 in the second. Then gave his team the leas as the Trojans took a 15-5 run into the locker room to lead 35-30 at the half.

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And yet, No. 3 Colonia kept it a game, but not for much longer.

That’s because the Trojans did what they do best: turn on the defense, and get out in transition. That helped Aquinas outscore the Patriots 16-9 in the third quarter, and never look back, now taking control of the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division race into their own hands.

The significance of STA’s 69-46 win heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio Thursday night is this: While Colonia could have won the division outright with a win in North Edison, Aquinas now gets a chance to do just that, when the Trojans play at No. 10 St. Joseph-Metuchen next Tuesday night at 7, in a game you can also hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The title can be decided this early thanks to a one-year pilot program approved by the GMC last Spring, by which teams only have to play each other once in the Red Division. A second meeting is optional, but only the first meetings will count toward the division title.

Should Aquinas lose to St. Joe’s on Tuesday, all three would be co-champs, and the tie would have to be broken only for GMC Tournament seeding, with all games being taken into account.

At the moment, Aquinas is 12-1, 7-0 in the Red Division, while Colonia drops to 10-2, 7-1 in the Red.

Junior guard Deuce Jones led the way for St. Thomas with 16 points, ten after halftime. Thomas followed with 14, while senior guard Terrell Pitts added 10 before fouling out late.

Colonia was led by senior guard Anthony Gooden’s 15 points, ten of which came in the second half.

Aquinas was in foul trouble most of the night, with Pitts and senior Jalen Pichardo on the bench most of the first half after picking up two first quarter fouls apiece. By the second quarter, Thomas and senior Kamal Lee also had two fouls, but the Trojans hung in there for the win.

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Click below for postgame reaction from Justin Sontupe, sponsored by SportsPlex at Metuchen:

St. Thomas Aquinas junior guard Deuce Jones
St. Thomas Aquinas junior guard Deuce Jones (right) talks with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe after a 69-46 win over Colonia in Edison on January 12, 2023. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco

Jones brings QB vision back to hardwood for Colonia, while pouring in more points

It’s hard to believe Colonia point guard and leading scorer Jaeden Jones is still just a junior.

It might be because of his multiple monster games on both the hardwood and the gridiron. It might be because of his maturity on and off the floor.

Ask him, though, and it might just be because all he really wants to do is help his team win.

And so, it is another year, another tight race in the GMC Red Division, and another pivotal game in the Colonia-St. Thomas Aquinas rivalry. A win by Colonia sews up the division nice and neatly, with the Patriots holding the trophy all alone at the top.

Follow Sportsplex at Metuchen on Instagram for the latest on open gym sessions on their courts and turf!

Will the magnitude of the game, the intensity of the Aquinas crowd in their loud, band-box gym have any impact on Jones?

Probably not, and he will say, that’s just how he likes it.

Jones started at point guard for the Patriots as a sophomore last season, but often deferred as a lead scoring option to veterans Saivon Pressley and Billy Anderson. This season, Jones is shouldering a bit more of the load, averaging 15.5 points per game. He dropped a career-high 29 in a December win at St. Joe’s.

But part of what makes this Patriots team so dangerous is the depth and balance on the offensive end. Jones (15.5), senior big Noah Taylor (14.1), freshman wing Aiden Derkack (10.5), and senior wing Anthony Gooden (10.5) all average double-digit points per game.

Colonia (10-1) looks to bring home a banner and improve to 8-0 in the GMC Red Division Thursday night at St. Thomas Aquinas (11-1, 6-0 GMC Red). Coverage begins approximately 6:35 with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Click here to listen.

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Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Colonia junior point guard Jaeden Jones:

Colonia will need to snap long streak tonight at Aquinas to win GMC Red crown

Colonia controls its own destiny, as they say.

A win for the third-ranked Patriots (10-1) at top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (11-1) Thursday night would give Colonia the GMC Red Division title outright, and very likely the top overall seed in the league tournament next month.

But to do it, they will need to stop a very long streak.

To be clear, it’s not necessarily one of their own.

While the Trojans won all three meetings between the teams last year, Colonia did beat STA in the finale of the GMC’s Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod in 2021, the top mini four-game pod in the COVID-shortened season.

No, we’re talking about the St. Thomas streak of 52 straight wins in divisional play, which has continued this year despite a move up to the GMC Red Division, along with Colonia.

This will be the first meeting between the teams this year, and it could be the only one of their two games to count toward the Red Division title, thanks to a one-year pilot program approved last spring by the GMC. That pilot only mandates one game against every divisional foe, with a second matchup optional. And only the first go-round through the schedule will be considered to determine the division champion.

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Since Colonia already beat St. Joseph in triple overtime back in December, a win tonight would clinch the division. Should Aquinas win, they could win outright Tuesday if they beat St. Joseph in Metuchen. If Aquinas wins tonight, but St. Joe’s wins Tuesday, all three would be co-champs, making things a little more complicated, as the second matchups would then come into play at the seeding meeting in a few weeks.

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Tonight’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Pre-game starts at approximately 6:35, with tip-off at 7:00. Click here to listen to the live broadcast for free.

Nonetheless, Colonia has been having a fine season. The Patriots’ lone loss came out-of-conference to Westfield in the LeGrand Holdiay Jubilee. But they won their last two games in that tournament between Christmas and New Year’s, and have won six-in-a-row since that defeat.

Balanced scoring has been the name of the game for Colonia, which has four players – Jaeden Jones, Noah Taylor, Anthony Gooden, and freshman Aiden Derkack – scoring between 10 and 16 points per game, with Jones – the football team’s quarterback this past season – leading the pace with 15.5 points per contest.

Derkack has been a big plus, leading the team in steals (27) and pulling up right behind the starting point guard, Jones, with 43 assists; Jones has 47.

Click below to hear Colonia head coach Jose Rodriguez talk about his team and the matchup against Aquinas:

Pichardo says first loss of the season came at right time for Trojans

One of the biggest cliches in sports is that you can learn more from a loss than a win.

If that holds true for St. Thomas Aquinas, they may have learned a ton this weekend.

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A gutting, one-point, triple-overtime loss in the Seagull Classic this weekend to Camden Eastside taught the team they need to work on their defense, according to senior Jalen Pichardo.

The 6-7 senior swing is a key part of that defense, as well as the team’s leading rebounder, with a handful of double-doubles already this season.

And that lesson about the Trojans’ “D” may have come just in time, as top-ranked Aquinas (11-1) faces No. 3 Colonia (10-1) Thursday night in a huge GMC Red Division game. Should STA fall, Colonia would win the division outright, and almost assuredly lock themselves in as the No. 1 seed in the GMC Tournament next month. But if the Trojans win, they would have a chance to win it themselves next Tuesday night when they visit St. Joseph in Metuchen.

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You can hear the game, of course, on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Pre-game starts at approximately 6:35, with tip-off at 7:00. Click here to listen to the live broadcast for free.

Pichardo, who transferred in from East Brunswick after his sophomore season, has not lost to Colonia while at Aquinas, as the Trojans went 3-0 against the Patriots last season, including a pair of regular season wins in the home-and-home as part of their White Division slate, and a victory in the GMC Tournament final.

Click below to hear St. Thomas Aquinas senior Jalen Pichardo talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Turco talks Trojans ahead of Colonia clash

Nearly every game between the two teams – whoever wins them – has been an all-out battle.

Whether it was St. Thomas Aquinas winning all three matchups last year, including the GMC Tournament final, or the Trojans beating Colonia in their only regular season meeting of the COVID-shortened 2021 season, only to have the Patriots beat them on their home court in the GMC top pod title game, they have all been bitter battles.

Add to that the implications of Thursday night’s game between top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (11-1) and No. 3 Colonia (10-0), and it should be a good one in North Edison.

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You can hear the game, of course, on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Pre-game starts at approximately 6:35, with tip-off at 7:00. Click here to listen to the live broadcast for free.

The implications for GMC Tournament seeding and the all-important Red Division title are this: since only one round of games through the division count, under a one-year pilot program approved last spring by the GMC, should Colonia beat St. Thomas, the Patriots would be the outright Red Division champs, by virtue of being 2-0 against Aquinas and St. Joseph of Metuchen, which they beat in triple overtime back on January 20th.

Should Aquinas win, both the Trojans and Patriots would have one win each, and Tuesday’s matchup of Aquinas at St. Joe’s becomes huge. A win there for STA would give them the division outright, as they would have two wins and Colonia one.

A win for the Falcons would force a three-way tie, and all three would be Co-Champions. To break the tie at the GMC seeding meeting in February, the second round of games between the three schools would have to be considered since they’re head-to-head matchups. Then, all three teams would be back in play to come out of the Red first, and likely earn the top-seed.

But there’s a big game to be played in North Edison first on Thursday night before we get to all that.

Click below to hear St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco talk about his team’s 11-1 start, and Thursday’s matchup with Colonia: