Tag: Franklin

Rutgers Prep girls continue to cruise, and hold No. 1 spot in the rankings

One of three unbeaten teams remaining in the area, Rutgers Prep remains the Number One team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Top Ten for Week Five.

The Argonauts are 9-0 following a 2-0 week, outscoring Immaculata and Phillipsburg by a combined total of 128-40; they beat the Spartans 74-15 and the Stateliners 54-25. Prep has now held five of its nine opponents under 30 points.

Gill St. Bernard’s also is 9-0; the Knights beat Franklin in overtime last week 44-42, en route to a 3-0 week, and are in second.

Mount St. Mary rambled through a four-win week, to end the regular season 12-0, with the maximum number of games that can be played through the start of the three-game Skyland Conference Tournament. They beat Pingry and Voorhees this week, bookended by wins in both ends of a home-and-home with Somerville.

Dropping from the ranks of the undefeated was Calvary Christian of the GMC Gold, which fell to 9-1 after a 2-1 week that began Monday with a 42-28 loss to Blue Division crossover foe Metuchen.

Entering the rankings is Middlesex; the Blue Jays check in at No. 8 after beating the highest-rated GMC team, St. Thomas Aquinas, 59-50 at home on Friday.

Aquinas actually held steady in third despite a 1-2 week, having beaten 4th-ranked Franklin but losing at Saddle River Day. The Trojans did not drop, however, because they beat Franklin and a were one spot ahead of them, and two weeks ago beat No. 5 Monroe head to head.

Franklin had a 2-2 week, but their losses were to two teams ahead of them in the rankings – Aquinas and No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s. They followed those defeats with a pair of wins at Bridgewater-Raritan and Watchung Hills.

Below are the complete Week 5 rankings:

OT hero Fajardo, head coach Gnapp, talk gritty win over Franklin to stay unblemished

Ella Fajardo – a big hit in her home country of the Philippines – is a big hit in Gladstone tonight. Not that she wasn’t before.

The senior guard – who’s headed to FDU next year, trading one Knights’ jersey for another – scored eight points in overtime, including two treys, to send No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s to a 44-42 road victory over No. 4 Franklin, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Her heroic efforts came after she missed a three in the closing seconds of regulation that would have won it without requiring an extra roll of Rolaids.

It was the first game all year that Gill St. Bernard’s (7-0) didn’t win by double figures.

Meanwhile, Franklin (3-4) is struggling, having lost two straight and three of its last four, including a defeat at the hands of Hillsborough last Tuesday and a drubbing Saturday at No. 1 and unbeaten Rutgers Prep.

Click below to listen to Dom Savino’s post game talks with Fajardo and Gill head coach Mark Gnapp:

Junior guard Ella Fajardo
Head Coach Mark Gnapp

No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s, No. 3 Franklin prepare for divisional battle of Top Ten girls’ hoops teams

In the decade that Audrey Taylor has led the Franklin girl’s basketball program, the Warriors have faced many of the best teams New Jersey has had to offer. After all, they played in three consecutive New Jersey Tournament of Champions Finals from 2017 to 2019, winning two of them.

But this current stretch of games easily ranks among the most arduous in recent memory.

Tonight, No. 4 Franklin (3-3) will play its third consecutive top-5 team in just a four-day span, with No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s (6-0) coming to town on High School Basketball powered by Bellamy & Son Paving on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Pre-game is at 5:45 p.m., with game time at 6 p.m. You can listen live to Dom Savino’s play-by-play from Franklin High School by clicking here.

Franklin is coming off a 68-53 loss Monday night to No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas. On Saturday, the Warriors began their trip through Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Top 10 with a 65-33 loss at No. 1 Rutgers Prep.

They will face the Knights having lost three of their last four games. The last time that happened was the start of the 2017-18 season, with a season-opening loss at Rutgers Prep, a win against Hunterdon Central, a loss at St. John Vianney, and a loss at Rumson-Fair Haven. That was also the last time the Warriors lost three in a row – a fate they will try to avoid tonight – having lost to Vianney, Rumson, and Long Island Lutheran to start the year 1-4.

Of course, that year, they would finish 25-8, win the Somerset County Tournament, win the North 2-Group 4 title, and go all the way to the Tournament of Champions final, losing to Manasquan, a year after beating them in the TOC title game.

Gill St. Bernard’s enters this Skyland Delaware Division matchup as the top team in the division and one of three remaining unbeaten girls’ basketball teams in the Skyland Conference. The Knights are led by a pair of Division 1 commits: center Caileigh Walsh (Northwestern) and guard Ella Fajardo (Fairleigh Dickinson).

Click below to hear Gill St. Bernard’s head coach Mark Gnapp talk about Tuesday night’s Top Ten matchup:

Rutgers Prep maintains stranglehold on No. 1 ranking

In what may have been its toughest test of the regular season, Rutgers Prep passed with flying colors, and as part of a two-win week, it helped keep the Argonauts solidly atop the Central Jersey Sports Radio Week 4 Girls’ Basketball rankings.

Prep led Franklin 35-6 at halftime, en route to a 65-33 win Saturday afternoon heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. That followed an 87-27 win over Montgomery on Tuesday.

Click below to hear an audio version of the Week 4 Top Ten, including comments from Rutgers Prep’s Mary Klinger and Christina Dalce, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Akyia Baker and Joe Whalen:

At 7-0, Rutgers Prep is outscoring opponents an average of 74-30, holding five opponents to 33 points or less, and three of them under 30.

North Brunswick joined the top ten after a two-win week – beating JFK and South Plainfield – and following a No. 8 Middlesex loss to Bound Brook.

Following are the Week 4 Rankings:

Rutgers Prep girls, Gill St. Bernards boys should be “top seeds” in Skyland’s “postseason”

Barring the unthinkable happening for either team, the Rutgers Prep Girls and Gill St. Bernard’s boys are likely to be the top seeds in their respective Skyland Conference “postseasons,” where eight-team pods will be formed to play down to champions.

On the girls’ side, Rutgers Prep – No. 1 in the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings – showed their dominance against the No. 2 team in the rankings, Franklin, handing the Warriors their second Skyland Conference defeat this week (they lost to Hillsborough Tuesday). That hasn’t happened since January 2017. The Argos led 35-6 at halftime and won 65-33.

Gill, meanwhile, sits atop the Delaware Division, with a rematch with second-place Hunterdon Central not coming until Thursday, the day after the Skyland seeds the tournament Wednesday morning. Seeding committee chair Jason Miller says all games up to and including Tuesday, February 23rd will be considered.

The committee will include Miller, the athletic director at South Hunterdon, as well as six other ADs: Montgomery’s Chris Penna, Phillipsburg’s Tom Fisher, Bound Brook’s Jeff Steele, Immaculata’s Mike Gambino, Bridgewater-Raritan’s John Maggio, and Rutgers Prep’s Mary Coyle-Klinger. Jack Baum – the Sykland’s assignor of officials – also is on the committee.

Girls’ play begins Monday, and will continue Wednesday and Friday, while the boys will start Tuesday, and continue Thursday and Saturday, the final day of play allowed this season by the NJSIAA, which is not holding the state tournament this year due to the COVID-shortened season.

While the top picks on the girls’ and boys’ side seem easy, who will be right behind them? Who else will be in the upper pod of eight on the girls’ side? What other teams will be in the boys’ top pod of seven? (The boys’ side has one less team than the girls.)

Here’s a look at Central Jersey Sports Radio’s projections, based on results through Saturday, February 20th.

Oh, and one last request: please be kind? This is my first basketball tournament projection – ever! I don’t like to do projections unless there’s math involved – even if it is the Born Power Index.

Skyland Boys’ Top 7 Pod:

  1. Gill St. Bernard’s (4-2) – The Knights are the easy top pick from the league’s top division, despite their two losses, which have both come out of conference – to Bergen Catholic and Patrick School. They have legit D1 talent, are ranked No. 6 statewide, and pass the eye test. They’re the best team in the league until someone knocks them off. In the seven-team format, Gill would get a bye from Monday’s first-round.
  2. Hunterdon Central (6-2) – The Red Devils are right behind the Knights, and gave them a run in a 77-64 road loss on Feb. 4 (click here for our postgame coverage). Too bad they won’t get another crack at Gill – at home – before the seeding is done.
  3. Montgomery (7-1) – How much will Monday night’s result against St. Joseph-Metuchen (6 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio – click here to listen) weigh in? Tough to say. A win against one of the top few teams in the GMC and a state power program may boost the Cougars’ standing here more than a loss to a solid non-conference opponent. Their only loss came this week, to Shore Conference opponent Middletown North.
  4. Bound Brook (7-0) – Sure, the Crusaders are a small-school program, but undefeated has to count for something. And Bound Brook has been playing well, and deserves a home game (in a 4-5 matchup). The only problem is, only two of their seven opponents (Warren Hills and Bernards) have winning records at the moment. They’ve been mostly scoring points in bunches.
  5. Watchung Hills (6-2) – Led by dual-sport star Chad Martini – the football QB who just scored his 1,000th point – the Warriors are quietly having a good season, overshadowed in the big-boy Delaware Division by Gill and Hunterdon Central. Making the top seven would put three teams from the Delaware in the upper pod, but they deserve it. Hills lost by five to the Red Devils on February 5th, and rematch Tuesday, the day before the committee seeds this thing. That game could disrupt the apple cart. Stay tuned…
  6. Rutgers Prep (2-3) – The Argonauts were first hit by the late preseason news that Villanova signee Trey Patterson would be leaving the Somerset school to enroll early down on the Main Line. Then, they had not one, but two COVID stoppages, and are still trying to find their sea legs. They’re a tricky team to figure; they deserve to be in the top seven given the talent they have, but have three losses – yet they’re undefeated in league play at 2-0, with wins over Phillipsburg (2-6) and Franklin (2-3). Out of conference losses have come to state No. 1 Camden, Elizabeth and Hudson Catholic. The Argos are a tricky one, for sure; it’s hard to seed any tournament when a team has only played two games against their peers. They have one more game this week before the cutoff, Immaculata (5-3) on Tuesday.
  7. Ridge (6-2) – The Red Devils dropped out of the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten last week, but they’re the next best option down the list in the Skyland Conference. They should edge out Immaculata for the final spot, though the two have similar records. But Ridge has beaten them twice, including Saturday afternoon. However, should the Spartans beat Rutgers Prep on Tuesday, look for some movement here in the bottom two.

Skyland Girls’ Top 8 Pod:

  1. Rutgers Prep (7-0) – You know Rutgers Prep is good. Really good. No. 23 in the nation good. (How have they gone unbeaten and dropped seven spots since the preseason? Whatever!) But have you seen them play? Did you see them put on a defensive, ball pressure clinic against No. 2 Franklin Saturday afternoon. (Click here for our postgame coverage.) Probably not, thanks to COVID, but man they were impressive. They’re the odds on favorite to win the whole damned thing, let alone get the top seed.
  2. Gill St. Bernard’s (6-0) – Unfortunately, Franklin gets Gill on Tuesday – at least it’s at home – the day before the seeding committee puts this whole thing together. But Gill has been solid, too. Too bad we don’t get to see them play Rutgers Prep this year. Then again, maybe we will. Barring any more snow or COVID cancellations, the Knights should roll into the postseason at 9-0 or better.
  3. Mount St. Mary (8-0) – I’m still not sure if these are projections, or my version of the seeding. The Skyland postseason has never been done before, although much of the same seeding principles remain. But I’m a big believer in undefeated teams being rewarded. Regardless of school size or division, to maintain the focus says a lot. That said, I go with Mary’s here, with a perfect record. You play the schedule you’re handed, and when you beat them all, you deserve the credit.
  4. Bound Brook (6-1) – The Crusaders have one blemish, a loss to undefeated Mount St. Mary’s, which is why the Lions are ahead of them here. You can’t argue with that. But you also can’t argue with how good Bound Brook is. They should be winning their sixth straight sectional championship this year, but they won’t get a crack at it. Though they’re tied in the division behind Belvidere, they did dismantle the County Seaters in what will have been their only matchup this year, 78-34 on Feb. 6th.
  5. Ridge (5-4) – The Red Devils sandwiched between Rutgers Prep and Phillipsburg in the Division. They split with the Stateliners (but the win was more recent) and have losses to the Argonauts, plus Watchung Hills, Gill St. Bernard’s and Rutgers Prep, all “quality losses.”
  6. Voorhees (6-2) – The Vikings are red hot at the right time, having won four in a row after splitting their first four. The Voos have done it with defense, holding four teams under 40 points this year, allowing 37, 30, 30 and 27 on their recent streak. They’re deserving of being in the top eight.
  7. Franklin (3-2) – The Warriors should be in the top eight, as they’re one of the better teams in the county; they just don’t look elite this year. Part of that is being hampered by COVID, sure; they played one game before having to pause all team-related activities. They did not look good against Rutgers Prep, and the Hillsborough loss was a head-scratcher, no disrespect to the Raiders. Franklin – at least the Franklin on the last four seasons, with two TOC titles to their credit – doesn’t lose those types of games. They could make a big statement Tuesday against Gill, though, as mentioned earlier.
  8. Hunterdon Central (6-2) – Their only losses are to Gill St. Bernard’s and Franklin, and the jury is still out on Franklin. Still, the Warriors get the nod over the Red Devils due to their head-to-head: Audrey Taylor’s squad beat them by six – just last Wednesday. They’re the last team in, for now. Central has Watchung Hills, a team they beat by eight earlier this season – on Tuesday, but I’m not sure a win there moves the needle much.

No. 1 Rutgers Prep smothers No. 2 Franklin with defense, 65-33

This one wasn’t about the scoring. It was about the defense.

A Rutgers Prep defense that kept the pedal to the medal – poking, deflecting and tipping basketballs all over the place – forcing Franklin into a slew of turnovers that fed a 27-1 run over the final 12 minutes of the first half to give Rutgers Prep a 35-2 halftime lead that would never get any closer.

No. 1 Rutgers Prep asserted its dominance in the Skyland Conference, finishing off cross-town foe and No. 2 Franklin 65-33, to remain unbeaten at 7-0, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Christina Dalce – the senior Villanova signee – finished the game with 15 point, 13 of them coming in the decisive first half. Rutgers Prep had balanced scoring, as nine other players tallied, but none reached – nor needed to reach – double figures in the game.

The Warriors dropped to 3-2.

Coupled with their 62-53 road loss to Hillsborough back on Tuesday, it’s the first time Franklin has lost to two Skyland Conference opponents in the same week since January 17th and 19th, 2017, when the Warriors lost to Rutgers Prep 69-56, followed by a 44-42 home loss to Hunterdon Central.

Click below to listen to the full game broadcast of No. 2 Franklin at No. 1 Rutgers Prep from February 20, 2016:

Dalce, Klinger talk dominant Rutgers Prep win in battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2

Ten players had ink in the scoring column Saturday afternoon for Rutgers Prep, and only one of them put up double figures.

Guess who?

Villanova signee Christina Dalce poured in 15 points – 13 which came in the very decisive first half – as No. 1 Rutgers Prep played stingy defense in a 65-33 win over No. 2 Franklin on Senior Day, heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, and powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Dalce scored nine in the first quarter, and four more in the second quarter. The rest of the Argonaut scoring was balanced, as freshman Mikayla Blakes and senior Kylie Favors – on three treys – each had nine. Sophomore Katie Ledden chipped in eight points.

Rutgers Prep dominated the game from the start, thanks to stifling defense. They never trailed, jumping out to an 8-0 lead, which Franklin cut to 8-5. But the Argonauts then went on a 25-0 run before a Morgan Jones free throw stopped the bleeding. Rutgers Prep finished the half with a 35-6 lead.

Click below to hear Christina Dalce and Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger talk about their dominating victory over Franklin.

Senior F/C Christina Dalce
Head Coach Mary Coyle-Klinger

No. 2 Franklin girls get their crack at No. 1 Rutgers Prep in rematch of 2019 SCT final

The last time the Franklin and Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball teams squared off, it was the final game of the 2019 Somerset County Tournament, a 63-49 win for the Lady Warriors.

The victory was one more notch on the hardwood for a team that would go on to win the Tournament of Champions with a perfect 34-0 record, led by McDonald’s All-American, New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year, and current Maryland junior Diamond Miller.

A lot has changed since then.

Rutgers Prep was widely considered the team to beat in the Somerset County this year, and it’s played out that way.

They will meet Saturday on Central Jersey Sports Radio, presented by Bellamy & Son Paving, and also sponsored locally by Pops Bike Shop in Somerville. The game can be heard by clicking here, with pregame set for approximately 11:40 am and game time at noon. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action. You can also watch the game on Rutgers Prep’s YouTube stream by clicking here, with commentary provided by Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Lady Argos are 6-0 and have been dominant, scoring 75.2 points per game, and winning by an average of nearly 35 points a game. Defensively, they have held three of their opponents to under 30 points, including a low of 19 points in an 83-19 win at Montgomery.

Franklin (3-1) was ranked No. 2 heading into this week, but had only played two games at that point. After a season-opening 51-41 home win over Delaware Division foe Hillsborough, the Warriors spent two weeks on a COVID stoppage, only returning to play last Saturday.

In their second game back from quarantine, they lost the road rematch with the Raiders 64-53.

So Saturday’s game looms large for both teams in terms of seeding in the upcoming Skyland Conference postseason, where teams will be split into three eight-team pods, featuring the top eight, middle eight and bottom eight teams.

A Rutgers Prep win should solidify a No. 1 seed for the Lady Argonauts. A Franklin win would complicate things, as they’d have a loss against a 2-2 Hillsborough squad, but a win over everybody’s favorite to win it all in the Skyland.

Click below to hear both head coaches preview Saturday’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle:

Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger
Franklin head coach Audrey Taylor

Week 3 Girls’ Top Ten, led by Rutgers Prep, has a perfect week

While two teams dropped out of the Week 3 Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball rankings, the two that replaced them – and the eight that stayed – didn’t lose a single game last week.

The ten teams combined to go 23-0 in Week Three.

The group again is led by Rutgers Prep. The Lady Argonauts are 5-0 after a pair of wins – by an average 38 points – over Stuart Day and Ridge.

No. 3 Monroe (6-0) and No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas (5-1) held steady; the two will meet Tuesday night on Central Jersey Sports Radio’s High School Basketball powered by Bellamy & Son Paving, in a Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division game. Both teams are undefeated in GMC play, a combined 11-0, with the Falcons scheduled to travel to East Brunswick Monday night, while the Trojans are off.

Check back Tuesday on Central Jersey Sports Radio for a preview of the Monroe-Aquinas game with Dom Savino.

Two new teams debuted in the Top Ten this week.

Colonia (6-2) debuted at No. 9 on the strength of a three-win week, beating South Plainfield, South Brunswick and North Brunswick.

Calvary Christian (5-0) edged in at the tenth spot. Starting the season late – on Feburuary 5th – the Lady Lions have beaten Wardlaw-Hartridge, Piscataway Tech and Timothy Christian.

Below is the Week 3 Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball Top Ten:

1-0 week enough to keep Lady Argos at the top of Week 2 rankings

Mother Nature only allowed Rutgers Prep to get one game in this week.

The Lady Argonauts made the most of it, downing Phillipsburg 61-28 in Somerset Saturday afternoon, keeping them undefeated at 3-0, and at the top of the Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball rankings.

There were few changes again in week two, with few games being played due to snow wiping Monday and Tuesday games off the slate. Six undefeated teams are sprinkled throughout the rankings, including Franklin, Monroe, Gill St. Bernard’s, and Mount St. Mary, which is an area best 5-0.

Edison pulled into the rankings with a 4-1 record, despite a 1-1 week, while Watchung Hills dropped out after falling to 1-2.

The full Week 2 rankings are below: