Tag: Gill St. Bernard’s

Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

Here are the two numbers you need to know: 31 and 45.

Want us to use them in a sentence? OK.

The Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team allowed a paltry 31 points per game this year, while beating teams by an average of 45 points.

And we did not just pull those numbers out of a hat.

En route to a perfect 13-0 season, and the Skyland Conference Tournament’s top pod title, Rutgers Prep blitzed all comers this season, and finishes 2021 where it began: as the Number One team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, earning them the honor of our 2021 Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year.

No one even came close.

How good was Rutgers Prep?

Let’s put it this way. No disrespect to any other team, but if you actually ranked the teams in terms of how good they were, Rutgers Prep would be No. 1, and the next team behind them might be at No. 3.

The Argonauts are also ranked No. 21 in the nation – not the state, the nation – by ESPN, behind No. 13 St. John Vianney, but a spot ahead of Trenton Catholic, which is scheduled to close after this academic year, and to whom Rutgers Prep lost last year in the Non-Public South B finals.

LISTEN: An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

Monroe – the winner of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s top bracket, the Somogyi Family Pod – checked in at No. 2, avenging its only loss of the season in the Somogyi Pod title game, using a second half rally to beat St. Thomas Aquinas in their second meeting of the year.

Below are the final girls’ basketball rankings for 2021, including postseason achievements:

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:

No Dalce? No problem. Rutgers Prep girls cruise to win top Skyland Tournament pod

With little fanfare, Villanova-bound Christina Dalce missed Wednesday’s 73-18 semifinal pod win over 5th-seed Hunterdon Central. You wouldn’t have noticed unless you saw the box score, and no line with her name on it.

She missed top-seed Rutgers Prep’s championship game as well in the league’s top Blue Division pod, but the Argonauts still won.

They beat 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in yet another dominant performance, 69-41, to win the Blue title, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Senior Belle Pellecchia had a game- and career-high 25 points, including 12 free throws, more than making up for the absence of Dalce. Freshman guard Mikayla Blakes added 11, and dished out three assists.

The win moves Rutgers Prep to 12-0, with one more game to play. They host a “regular season” game against Saddle River Day Saturday afternoon at 1, after which the Rutgers Prep boys play in the top boys’ pod against Watchung Hills, a surprise winner over top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in the semifinals.

The Gill girls drop to 10-2.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Rutgers Prep’s win in the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Blue Division title game:

Rutgers Prep senior guard Belle Pellecchia
Rutgers Prep freshman guard Mikayla Blakes
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger

Rutgers Prep faces Gill St. Bernard’s for top Skyland girls’ title, with Dalce’s status up in the air

As a footnote to Rutgers Prep’s Blue Division semifinal win over 5th-seed Hunterdon Central – the third team in 11 games they’ve held in the teens – one player was missing from the box score.

Against the Red Devils, it didn’t seem to matter.

Senior Villanova commit Christina Dalce didn’t play in the game, and at least for now, Argonauts’ head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger is mum.

She might play, she might not.

It still may not matter.

Her team did what it does best: spread the ball around. A dozen different players scored, and a look at the box score could easily confuse it with any other game Dalce plays in.

No matter what happens, top-seed Rutgers Prep (11-0) will face 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (10-1) tonight at 6 pm, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. Dom Savino will call all the action, which you can hear by clicking here.

As part of a tripleheader on CJSR, the game will follow the 4 pm GMC Girls’ Somogyi Family Pod title game between 2nd-seed St. Thomas Aquinas (9-4) and 3rd-seed Monroe (12-1). And immediately after, we’ll join the GMC Boys’ Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod title game between top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas and (9-4) and 2nd-seed Colonia (10-4).

Click below to hear both head coaches talk about the game with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino:

Rutgers Prep coach Mary Coyle-Klinger
Gill St. Bernard’s coach Mark Gnapp

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”

Gill closes regular season right where it started, No. 1 in rankings

Despite a loss to out-of-area Hunterdon Central, Gill St. Bernard’s held on to it’s No. 1 position in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

The Knights finished the week 2-1, and the regular season with a 6-3 mark overall, with all losses out of area. Gill also lost to Bergen Catholic and the Patrick School.

They’ll have a bye in the first round of the Skyland Conference Tournament top pod, the “Blue Division,” and on Thursday will face the winner of 4th-seed Hunterdon Central and 5-seed Watchung Hills, with that game being played Tuesday night.

The only change in the Top Ten this week was a flip-flop of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph-Metuchen, a reverse of what they did a week ago.

Aquinas (7-4) is back to No. 2 after beating state-ranked Hudson Catholic in double overtime Saturday, while the Falcons (9-3) lost at unranked North Brunswick.

The Trojans appear to have locked in the top overall seed in the GMC Tournament’s top pod. That postseason will be seeded Monday morning.

Below is the complete Week 5 Top Ten:

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:

Gill still leads pack, Joe’s and Colonia climb in Week 4 Top Ten

A 2-0 week helped Gill St. Bernard’s hold the top spot in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Week 4 rankings. The Knights are 4-2 following a 90-71 win over then-No. 4 Watchung Hills on Tuesday and 71-70 over a tough Elizabeth squad on Saturday.

Big gainers in Week 4 included St. Joseph of Metuchen, which leap-frogged St. Thomas Aquinas into second, and Colonia. The Patriots had a 3-0 week to improve to 8-2, though all three wins were out of conference – over Rumson-Fair Haven, Newark East Side and Passaic.

Below are the full 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.

Split week still enough to keep Gill at No. 1; Montgomery launches into rankings

It’s difficult to tell a teams body of work three games into a high school basketball season when they’ve only played three games.

Couple that with only one of those games coming against one of the peers they’re compared against in the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings makes it doubly difficult.

Still, despite an 11-point loss to the Patrick School Saturday afternoon, 78-67, Gill St. Bernard’s remains the Number One team in the CJSR Boys’ Top Ten.

St. Joseph of Metuchen gained on the strength of a three-win week, while Rutgers Prep dropped two spots after a two-loss week against non-conference opponents, and ahead of a second COVID-related stoppage.

But the biggest gain belonged to Montgomery, which jumped from being an unranked team to No. 7 after a three-win week that doubled their perfect record to 6-0. The Cougars have held three opponents under 40 points this season: Bordentown, Bridgewater-Raritan, and previously-ranked Ridge, which dropped out of the rankings from its No. 9 spot this week after the loss to the Cougars.

Look out for a special story on Montgomery’s hot start tomorrow on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Below are the full Week 3 Central Jersey Sports Radio Week 3 rankings: