Tag: Franklin

Mid-Season Playoff Analysis: More than half-dozen BCC “big boys” have legitimate shot at top seeds

At the mid-way point of the high school season, with four more weeks of football until the playoffs are seeded, there are seven large – Group 5 or 4 schools – with a realistic shot at earning a top seed when the sectional playoffs begin the weekend of October 27th.

This is our first week of playoff projection analysis on cjsportsradio.com, presented by My Family Appliances in Edison, and we begin with a look at North and South Group 5 and 4 supersections..

With still a lot of football to be played, the analysis will be a bit more general in nature this week, but will get increasingly detailed with each passing week as the numbers come into better focus.

Playoff Qualification Primer

The NJSIAA uses the United Power Ranking (UPR) to determine where teams are seeded. Without getting into all the behind the scenes calculations and caveats, each team’s UPR is based on two factors: their rank in the supersection based on power points and on OSI.

Power points are an average and based on the traditional formula that’s been used – albeit altered from time-to-time – over the years. Teams get six points for every win, group points based on the group of the opponent, and residuals – 3 for every win by a team you beat, 1 for every win by a team you lost to.

OSI is the Opponent Strength Index, and average of all the opponents played. Teams get the full value of a team’s Strength Index for a win, half for a loss. A win over an opponent with an SI of 80 gets and 80, a loss gets you 40 points. SI varies based on results throughout the year.

Teams are ranked in each category. OSI values are worth 60 percent of the formula, power points 40 percent. That added number makes the UPR, with lower numbers better. The best UPR a team can have is a 1, which is first in both power points and OSI.

The UPR is calculated for the NJSIAA by the website Gridiron New Jersey. Central Jersey Sports Radio also does its own unofficial calculations throughout the season, and will unveil its playoff projections in our annual special broadcast, this year on Saturday, October 21 from 5-7 pm, presented by My Family Appliances in Edison.

North Group 5

There are three area teams in the top five at the moment. After Passaic Tech in first, there’s Watchung Hills second, Union third, then Union City, and Phillipsburg in fourth.

The Warriors (5-0) have a big clash at home Saturday night with Montgomery (5-0) so that could boost their power point average. Union also has a huge game at Cooke Field with Hillsborough, which just knocked off previously-undefeated P’burg Sunday in the Rumble on the Raritan at Rutgers. The Stateliners try to get back on the horse Friday against Hunterdon Central, which just took its first loss of the season Friday to Ridge.

After that, there’s a chance for a home game for Plainfield, which is 3-1 at the moment and sitting in seventh. They go out of conference Friday night with a trip to North Bergen (2-2), and have a big one with Watchung Hills next week at home before closing at Monroe and home to Franklin, two very winnable games. The Cards look like the have a shot here.

Next, you have to go down to 12th to find Westfield, whose victory over winless Scotch Plains-Fanwood Friday probably did them no favors. The good news is, they Blue Devils are 2-2 after an 0-2 start, so they’re trending in the right direction. Westfield is at St. Joseph-Metuchen Saturday afternoon.

Though they’re on the right side of it at this point, we’ll call Piscataway and Bridgewater-Raritan bubble teams for now. The Chiefs (2-3) are in 14th, while the Panthers (1-4) are in 15th. This is a danger zone, because any team with one or two wins will make big jumps if they win a third or fourth game. So, they’ll have to watch teams behind them.

Of course, winning themselves will help.

The last four games for the Chiefs are winnable, starting with Old Bridge on the road this week, then East Brunswick home on Friday, October 6th – a game you can hear on CJSR at 6 pm from Kenny Armwood Stadium. Sayreville and New Brunswick close out their schedule.

Bridgewater-Raritan has a much more difficult schedule. They’re at Ridge this week, and home to Phillipsburg the next, before Elizabeth and a road game at Old Bridge round out the slate.

South Group 5

Two area teams are in the top six here, and you need to finish in the top two to get a top seed in one of the sections, South or Central 5. North Brunswick (4-0) currently sits in fourth, with a 3.4 UPR, just one UPR point behind second-place Toms River North (4-1).

The problem for the Raiders is their schedule is not conducive to climbing up the rankings. Of the four teams remaining, two are winless (New Brunswick and East Brunswick) and Franklin (this week) and Cranford (Cutoff Weekend) each have just two wins at the moment. As far as a top-seed is concerned, there’s zero margin for error here.

Hillsborough sits in sixth at 4-1, and got a big boost with its upset win over previously-unbeaten Phillipsburg. That was 20 power points for the win, as opposed to four for a loss. They’ll have similar opportunities the next two weeks – both on the road – against Union and Hunterdon Central. And their last two home games against Somerville and Westfield won’t hurt them either. Running the table could give them a really good shot.

Hunterdon Central currently sits in eighth, and should be able to get a first round home game. Their remaining four games are a mixed bag. They should beat both Franklin and Perth Amboy to end the regular season, so a first-round playoff game (top 8 finish in the supersection) could ride on getting at least one win in the next two weeks, which includes a trip to Phillipsburg this Friday night, and a home game against Hillsborough next weekend.

South Brunswick sits in 11th, well enough inside the bubble, but also fairly likely a bottom eight finish.

On the bubble are Edison and Franklin. The Eagles are the defending Central Jersey Group 5 champs, and 2-3 at the moment. There are some winnable games on the schedule for the Eagles, including a home game with New Brunswick this Friday night.

The Warriors, however, are another story. While 2-3, their wins have come against East Brunswick and New Brunswick, opponents who are a combined 0-10. Their next three opponents – North Brunswick on the road this week and Sayreville and Hunterdon Central are a combined 11-3. So, we’ll not only see how much Franklin has improved this year, but whether a must-have win against at least one of those teams can get them in the playoffs.

North Group 4

In the top four are two Big Central teams from very competitive divisions, which explains why they’re there. Montgomery sits in third at 5-0, with a 4 UPR, two points behind second place Mount Olive. Then Ridge is right behind them – literally – with a 4.2 UPR. Northern Highlands is right behind the Red Devils with a 4.4 UPR.

This is very bunched up right now, and with a lot of football to be played, too close to call. Bottom line: Montgomery and Ridge will need to keep on winning. A loss by either team might make too high a mountain to climb to get into the top two.

Linden (4-1) has looked very good this year, and the Tigers claim seventh place this week in the UPR standings. They’ve got a reasonable schedule the rest of the way with JFK at home this week, then at Summit and Cranford before finishing at Montgomery in what could be a critical game to clinch at least a first-round home game.

Woodbridge looks like a pretty good playoff bet. The Barrons are tenth and 3-2 on the season, and Rahway – also 3-2 on the year – is right behind them. Woodbridge could have a legit shot at a top eight finish and a first round home game, Rahway a little less so, but they still have a chance with four weeks left and a good enough schedule that could give them a boost. They may have to go 3-1 the rest of the way to do it, though.

Sayreville sits in 13th, and while I wouldn’t call them a bubble team yet, the 3-2 Bombers can’t get complacent. Granted, their losses have come to Phillipsburg and North Brunswick, the only two teams that have occupied the top spot in the CJSR rankings. If Sayreville is as good as their preseason hype, they should do no worse than 3-1 the rest of the way.

Outside the bubble and a longshot to make the field is Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which is 1-4 and in 19th place. But more interesting is Colonia. The Patriots are 2-3, but all the way down in 21st place. They have a 20.2 UPR, 4.8 points out of a playoff spot. The schedule is favorable with winless North Hunterdon coming to the blue turf this week, and then a visit to 2-3 Perth Amboy next week. It could come down to the last two weeks – with home games against Summit and Rahway, two teams in the playoff field – to decide Colonia’s playoff fate.

South Group 4

While there are no Big Central teams in this section, it’s worth mentioning briefly since New Jersey now plays all the way to group champs. For now, we’ll just point out that the top two teams are Mainland (5-0) and Millville (3-1), followed by WInslow (4-1) and Brick Memorial (5-0).

After winless season, Franklin’s off-season work pays off, Warriors head into Montgomery at 1-0

Going through an 0-8 season isn’t easy. Sometimes when you don’t win, you don’t know how to win. How can you do one without the other?

Well, Franklin has done it, and the hard work paid off.

The Warriors beat East Brunswick last Friday on the road 27-12 – forcing Bears’ QB Vito Tropeano, Jr. into three interceptions – for the program’s first win since November, 2021. And they are doing more than hoping that more wins will come. They are working hard toward that goal.

Head coach Blair Wilson says it’s all about the challenging work – on and off the field – his team put in this summer, as well as their experiences last year. If in the past, they didn’t know how to finish, now they do; they’ve actually done it.

It’s not an easy schedule, with teams like Piscataway, Hunterdon Central, Sayreville and others on the schedule. But they’ll lace it up again Friday when they head to Montgomery for the second of a three-game road stretch to start the season.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko with Franklin head coach Blair Wilson, along with junior two-way lineman Ethan Villa and senior tight end/linebacker Joseph Nwachukwu:

2023 Big Central Preview: National Silver Division

North Brunswick won the National Silver Division in 2022, but Edison beat them in a wild game in the playoffs en route to its first sectional title in 31 years. Both teams have lost significant players, but both return some key parts, too.

The Raiders and Eagles should be right there again, along with Sayreville, now under the direction of veteran coach Don Sofilkanich.

The division actually has three new coaches this year, as veteran Carteret coach Matt Yascko – who was Edison’s Offensive Coordinator for three seasons – takes over for the retiring Matt Fulham, while Steve Gluchowski comes over from an assistant role at Spotswood to helm struggling New Brunswick. Blair Wilson, in his second season at Franklin, will also try to turn the Warriors around.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko’s preview of the National Silver Division from the Big Central Conference’s inaugural Media Days:

Somerset County Tournament resumes Saturday morning with four second round games

The Somerset County Tournament kicks into high gear Saturday with four second round games, all played at the home of the higher seeded teams. Here’s a look at all four matchups, with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s coverage of the SCT presented by Zoned Sports Academy in Bridgewater:

#11 Manville (7-2) at #6 Pingry (4-3), noon

Of course, the main goal is to advance in the SCT, but Manville baseball has had a lot of lean years, and at 7-2, a win against Pingry would equal their win total from 2019, when the team was 8-13. And that was he first time they’d won more than five games in a season since at least the start of the last decade. But the Mustangs aren’t resting on their laurels. They have three players hitting .400 or better, including senior Josh Barrios at .400, and senior Geoffrey Mathis and junior James Mascola hitting .500 on the year. Mathis has a team-leading 16 RBIs and has hit two home runs on the year, adding a pair of doubles and a pair of triples. Pingry hasn’t shown the form yet it did last year, when the Big Blue had a 23-3 campaign and won the Prep A Tournament. But that can happen when you lose your hits leader in Liam Royster and strikeout leader on Thomas Santana to graduation. Hitting .320 last year, Pingry is hitting just .199 on the year, and scored only 23 runs through seven games. Senior Jake Francis is their top pitcher, allowing no earned runs and striking out 26 while walking only three in 18 innings pitched, and he’s hitting .222 with a team-leading eight runs batted in. Will this be the year they beat Pingry? It hasn’t happened in at least 19 years of our research, during Manville’s entire time in the Skyland Conference.

#10 Bernards (4-3) at #7 Hillsborough (3-7), 11 am

This is a rare meeting between the two schools, as they have only played each other twice since 2012. The Raiders won both matchups, 2-0 in the 2012 SCT quarterfinals and 7-6 in the 2014SCT semis. The difference is both of those years, Hillsborough had a winning record: 17-14 the year of the first meeting, and 15-8 the second time around. The Mountaineers got off to a rough 1-3 start but have since won three straight over Voorhees, Warren Hills and Roselle Park, outscoring those three opponents 46-1, with the Blue Streaks the only team to score off Bernards – and an unearned run, at that. Bernards is hitting a monstrous .428 as a team, no doubt buoyed by the last three games. Nevertheless, senior Tyler Hepinstill is hitting .688 with 11 hits in 19 at bats. Charlie Gonella is hitting .476 with six runs batted in, and Matt Giunta has knocked in a team-leading eight runs. On the pitching side, the team ERA is 3.15, good enough to keep any decent-hitting team in a ballgame. Hillsborough, meanwhile, is struggling, having started the season 0-4, and dropping five of its first six games. They’ve lost two straight coming in, but to no slouch teams: Ridge (8-0) and Hunterdon Central (8-7). It’s a team trying to figure it out at the plate, hitting just .207, while the team ERA is 4.48 on the season. Then again, playing in the Skyland Delaware Division can do that to a team. With Ridge, Hunterdon Central and Bridgewater-Raritan, that division is simply loaded.

#12 Rutgers Prep (3-7) at #6 Franklin (4-5), 11 am

This is an intriguing one, as Rutgers Prep is one of those teams that has a ton of talent, including standouts Zach Fronio and Andrew Parisi coming back, among others, but just hasn’t figured it out yet as a group this season. What can you say when a guy like Parisi is hitting .520 (13-25) and leads the team in walks with 13, for a whopping .840 on base percentage? Fronio is hitting well also (.423) and so is freshman Ethan Nepomuceno (.400). Can the pitching get it together? That may be the issue against Franklin, which won at Prep 15-3 just eleven days ago. The Warriors are led by sophomore Izaiah Robinson (.419, 9 RBI) and junior Jacob Cruz (.400) at the plate, though pitching has also been an issue, allowing nearly six runs a game. Looking at common opponents here is interesting, too. In its last three games, Prep beat Phillipsburg 7-5, Watchung Hills 8-0, and lost to Montgomery 11-10. Franklin lost to the Stateliners earlier in the season, 3-1, but beat Montgomery back on the 13th by a 10-1 score. They also beat Gill St. Bernard’s on opening day, 4-3, while Rutgers Prep blanked them 25-0. The Argos could pull an upset if the right team shows up this morning.

#9 Immaculata (1-6) at #8 Bound Brook (4-4), 11 am

This will be the first meeting between the schools at least in the past decade or so. The Spartans are just 1-6, but played Ridge to a tight 2-0 loss on Opening Day, lost 3-2 to West Morris, and 6-2 at Bridgewater-Raritan – the tournament’s top seed – in a regular season game just five days ago. So, they can hang. But they’re not hitting well as a team, just .259 at the moment. Playing in the Delaware Division surely has a lot to do with it, seeing some great pitching in-league on a day-in, day-out basis. The leading hitter among regulars in the lineup is sophomore Jayson Labrador at .381, then Colin Kassai at .360, but there’s a drop-off after that. But playing Bound Brook may be more their speed right now, making this a good matchup. The Crusaders may be 4-4, but after a hot 3-0 start, the Crusaders have lost four of their last five, although the last one was a tight 4-3 loss to red-hot Manville, which is 7-2 and having its best season in years. The Crusaders are hitting well, .319 as a team, led by senior Jake Anderson at .500, with five runs batted in. Sophomore Nick Anderson is right behind him at .478 and a team-leading 11 RBIs. The team ERA is well under four, with Anderson getting it done on the mound; he’s got a 1.34 ERA with 15 2/3 innings pitched, striking out 20 and walking only six.

Bernards boys’ upset Hackettstown, while seven other higher seeds advance in Group 2 and 4 opening round action

Of the eight Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area teams advancing in the opening round of the state playoffs on Tuesday for Groups 2 and 4, seven were higher seeds – including top-seed South River in Central Jersey Group 2 – while Bernards pulled off an upset in North 2, Group 2..

The 11th-ranked Mountaineers got a team-high 19 points from Ryan Gaglione – and another 14 from Connor Laverty – to get past 6th-seed Hackettstown on the road, 52-49. Bernards trailed 27-22 at the half and cut the deficit to four after three quarters, but rallied on a 17-10 fourth quarter to win.

Below are full first-round results from Tuesday night in all the sections involving CJSR-area teams. Scroll further down for the upcoming schedule, including matchups resulting from tonight’s games.

Central Group 4
#1 Trenton def. #16 Sayreville, 118-47
#8 West Windsor-Plainsboro South def. #9 Montgomery, 56-46
#5 Middletown south def. #12 Manalapan, 92-65
#4 Jackson Memorial def. #13 East Brunswick, 67-59
#3 North Brunswick def. #14 Princeton, 55-54
#6 South Brunswick def. #11 Old Bridge, 61-35
#7 Marlboro def. #10 Hightstown, 56-48
#2 Freehold Twp. def. #15 Howell, 61-48

Central Group 2
#1 South River def. #16 East Brunswick Magnet, 80-33
#9 Pt. Pleasant Boro def. #8 Spotswood, 51-42
#5 Rumson-Fair Haven def. #12 Roselle Park, 90-54
#4 Bound Brook def. #13 Holmdel, 57-43
#3 Raritan def. #14 Johnson, 66-37
#6 Delaware Valley def. #11 Bordentown, 59-39

North 2, Group 4
#1 Ridge def. #16 Woodbridge, 74-53
#8 Newark East Side def. #9 Bayonne, 56-39
#5 Westfield def. #12 Watchung Hills, 56-50
#13 Scotch Plains-Fanwood def. #4 Elizabeth, 65-55
#3 Hillsborough def. #14 JP Stevens, 53-46
#6 Columbia def. #11 Phillipsburg, 65-54
#7 Franklin def. #10 Irvington, 74-65
#2 Linden def. #15 Piscataway, 53-41

North 2, Group 2
#1 Caldwell def. #16 Becton, 67-41
#8 Science Park def. #8 Lyndhurst, 67-41
#5 McNair def. #12 Verona, 61-36
#4 Newark Central def. #13 Dayton, 66-57
#14 West Side def. #3 Rutherford, 76-71
#11 Bernards def. #6 Hackettstown, 52-49
#10 Hanover Park def. #7 New Providence, 51-41
#2 Madison def. #15 Newark Central, 52-42

Here is the upcoming schedule for all sections in which area teams remain:


Central Group 1 Quarterfinals
#9 South Hunterdon at #1 Eagle Academy
#12 Brearley at #4 Keyport
#6 Manville at #3 Pt. Pleasant Beach
#7 Florence at #2 Shore

North 2 Group 3 Quarterfinals
#8 Summit at #1 South Plainfield
#5 Chatham at #4 Colonia
#6 Snyder at #3 Mendham
#7 Payne Tech at #2 West Morris

Non-Public South A First Round
#11 Pingry at #6 St. Joseph-Metuchen
#10 Christian Brothers at #7 Rutgers Prep

Non-Public North B First Round
#9 Eastern Christian at #8 Timothy Christian

Non-Public South B First Round
#12 Doane Academy at #5 Calvary Christian


Central Group 4 Quarterfinals
#8 West Windsor-Plainsboro South at #1 Trenton
#5 Middletown South at #4 Jackson Memorial
#6 South Brunswick at #3 North Brunswick
#7 Marlboro at #2 Freehold Twp.

Central Group 2 Quarterfinals
#9 Point Pleasant Boro at #1 South River
#5 Rumson-Fair Haven at #4 Bound Brook
#6 Delaware Valley at #3 Raritan
#7 Roselle at #2 Manasquan

North 2, Group 4 Quarterfinals
#8 Newark East Side at #1 Ridge
#13 Scotch Plains-Fanwood at #5 Westfield
#6 Columbia at #3 Hillsborough
#7 Franklin at #2 Linden

North 2, Group 2 Quarterfinals
#8 Science Park at #1 Caldwell
#5 McNair at #4 Newark Collegiate
#14 West Side at #11 Bernards
#10 Hanover Park at #2 Madison


Non-Public South A Quarterfinals
Winner of #11 Pingry/#6 St. Joseph-Metuchen at #3 Immaculata

Non-Public North B Quarterfinals
Winner of #9 Eastern Christian/#8 Timothy Christian at #1 St. Thomas Aquinas
Winner of #10 Hawthorne Christian/#7 Saddle River Day at #2 Gill St. Bernard’s

INSTANT REPLAY: Somerset County Tournament Semifinals

The Rutgers Prep girls’ and boys’ basketball teams advanced to their respective Somerset County Tournament Championship games with wins over Franklin on Thursday, February 16th, 2023, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino had the call.

In Game One, the Rutgers Prep girls ousted No. 5 seed Franklin 67-38, getting a game-high 26 points from junior Mikayla Blakes, and 11 each from senior Katie Ledden and freshman GiGi Battle. Precious Wheeler led Franklin with 14 in defeat.

Girls: #1 Rutgers Prep vs. Franklin

In Game Two, the Rutgers Prep boys beat 5th-seed Franklin 81-66, getting game-highs of 20 points apiece from juniors Jadin Collins and John Kelly. Junior Cam Brown had 18 to lead Franklin in the loss.

Boys: #1 Rutgers Prep vs #5 Franklin

Rutgers Prep boys return every Franklin salvo to clinch third straight SCT finals berth

The Rutgers Prep lead was 12, then ten. Then 12, then ten. Then 12, then ten. Then all of a sudden down to six, before going back to 12 twice more, and before the Argonauts finally pulled away for good.

Fifth-seed Franklin gave top-seeded Prep everything they could handle, and even then some. Junior Cam Brown of Franklin suffered what looked like it could be a devastating ankle injury and came back. Jake Novielli, scoreless since a 13-point first half, banged in back-to-back threes.

But Johnny Nsenkyire’s answer-three held Franklin at bay again, and with a six-point game back up to nine, that was the last rush the Warriors could make.

Rutger Prep (19-7) got 20 points each from Jadin Collins and John Kelly – a pair of juniors – wile seniors Cameron Piggee added 12 and Jordan Atkins scored ten.

Novielli, a junior, finished with 19 to lead Franklin (16-10), while Cam Brown added 18 and Cam Snowden finished with 16.

Now, it’s on to Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament Final at 3 pm at Montgomery High School, where it will be a rematch of last year’s SCT final. Prep will face second-seed Gill St. Bernard’s, which beat 6-seed Ridge 57-50 in overtime Thursday night. You can hear that game on Central Jersey Sports Radio beginning at 12:45 with pregame for the girls’ final at 1:00, which also will feature Prep and Gill.

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

Click below for postgame reaction sponsored by SportsPlex at Metuchen:

Junior Jadin Collins and Senior Jordan Atkins
Junior John Kelly

Make it an eighth straight trip to the SCT Finals for Rutgers Prep, 67-38 winners over Franklin

It wasn’t quite the fast start the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball has been used to in its last four meetings with Franklin, which the Argonauts have won by an average of almost 33 points.

But slowly, and surely, that trademark full-court pressure and stifling half-court defense wasa too much for the 5th-seeded Warriors, as top-seeded Rutgers Prep pulled away a little at a time for a 67-38 win in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals Thursday night in Somerset, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Junior point guard Mikayla Blakes led all scorers, putting on a scoring clinic, with 26 points, including four treys. Freshman GiGi Battle added 15, while Rhode Island-bound senior Katie Ledden added 11.

Sophomore Precious Wheeler led Franklin with 14, the only Warrior in double figures.

The victory puts the Argonauts (19-4) in their eighth straight SCT title game, having not missed since 2015, and they will go for their third straight title, having won last year and in 2020. They’ll be seeking their seventh overall.

Prep will take on second-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in the finals Saturday at 1 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio

Franklin fell to 12-12 with the loss.

Click below for postgame reaction sponsored by SportsPlex at Metuchen:

Rutgers Prep junior Mikayla Blakes
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger

Franklin boys hope third time’s the charm in rematch with Rutgers Prep, with SCT finals berth on the line

You’ll have to forgive the youngest members of Franklin’s boys basketball team for not attending the program’s most recent appearance in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals.

It happened in 2007. They hadn’t been born yet.

Fast forward 16 years, and the Warriors have returned to Somerset County’s Final Four. With their eyes on a championship, they’ll have to get by a familiar foe to continue their postseason run.

Five-seed Franklin travels to top-seeded Rutgers Prep on Thursday night to play for a berth in the County Finals. Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast the game live at 7 pm, with the pregame at 6:45 following the girls’ matchup between the same teams at 5:00. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action. Click here to listen.

The Warriors are hoping the third time is the charm against Rutgers Prep, which won both of the regular-season meetings between the crosstown rivals. Both games were decided by single digits.

The more recent of the two games happened more than a month ago, though. And since then, Franklin has played its best basketball of the season, winning 10 of its last 11.

That includes Tuesday’s mini-upset of 4-seed Hillsborough in the Somerset County quarterfinals. The Warriors led wire-to-wire and got 20-point performances from Cam Brown and Cam Snowden. Before that, Franklin opened the tournament with a 25-point win over Bernards, led by Jake Novielli’s career-high 32 points.

Click below to hear Franklin head coach Tony Mento talk about his team’s hot streak and rematch with Rutgers Prep:

Battle tested Rutgers Prep boys will battle Franklin a third time, this time for a trip to the SCT title game

The Argonauts boys’ basketball team earned its No. 1 seed in the Somerset County Tournament the hard way, with some gritty basketball games in the top division in the conference.

After a buzzer-beater loss at Gill St. Bernard’s, they took firm control with a solid rematch on their home floor. But they didn’t just have to beat the Knights. They also had to gut out tough games like their two matchups with resurgent Franklin this year, including a 90-82 road victory on opening night, and a6 62-55 home win just under a month later on January 12th.

Thursday night, Rutgers Prep (18-7) and Franklin (16-9) will square off for a third time, this time with a trip to Saturday’s Somerset County Finals on the line. It’s a game you can hear live on Central Jersey Sports Radio at 7 pm, with pregame at 6:45 following the girls’ matchup between the same teams at 5 pm.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action. Click here to listen.

For Prep, they are seeking a third straight trip to the Somerset County Tourney title tilt, and fourth in the last five tournaments. They lost to Gill St. Bernard’s in both 2017 and 2018, missed the final in ’19, won it in 2020 by beating third-seed Watchung Hills, then after a one-off Skyland Pod tournament in 2021, fell to top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s last season.

The games with Franklin this year have been good ones. The first one on opening night, December 15th, saw the teams knotted up at 15 after one quarter before Rutgers Prep pulled out to a 14-point halftime lead, and a fourth-quarter rally by the Warriors fell short, losing by eight.

In the second one, it was a similar pattern. Prep led 14-11 after one, then 35-22 at the half, before Franklin made a move in the third quarter and fell short. Jadin Collins scored 23 in both games for the Argonauts.

Click below to hear Rutgers Prep head coach Matt Bloom talk about his team’s season and the matchup with Franklin: