Tag: Gill St. Bernard’s

Nearly all “chalk” matchups in Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament quarterfinals

The goal every year for the dozen or so – it changes from time to time – high school baseball teams in Somerset County is to get to TD Bank Park in Bridgewater, home of the Somerset Patriots.

That’s where the SCT semifinals and finals are held, and eight teams will get the chance to punch their ticket Saturday, with four quarterfinal games on tap. The top four seeds are all playing their first games in the tournament, having received the highly-coveted double-byes.

Top-seed Ridge (12-1) is coming off a 10-4 win over Pingry Friday afternoon, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, and will face 9-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (7-6) at noon in Basking Ridge. The Knights are the only lower seed to win a second-round game, beating 8-seed Immaculata 4-2 on the road a week ago.

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The Red Devils beat Gill 12-1 in the season opener for both teams on April 2, scoring nine times in the first two innings. Brendan Callanan had four RBI in the game, while Mike Olivo knocked in three.

RECAP WITH AUDIO: No. 2 Ridge explodes in a 7-run fourth, hands No. 10 Pingry its first loss of season

The other three games are all at noon.

Second-seed Somerville (8-5) will host 7-seed Pingry (9-1) at 11 am at the Torpey Athletic Complex in Bridgewater. The Pioneers have won two straight since a pair of losses out of conference, and have won four straight against Skyland foes. The ‘Ville has won three straight against the Big Blue, whose last win against the Pioneers came back in 2013.

READ MORE: Somerville jumps out to big lead, hangs on to beat feisty Bridgewater-Raritan, 9-7

It will be interesting to see how a pretty good Pingry team – which suffered its first loss of the season Friday at Ridge – will rebound, especially playing its fourth game in as many days. They won Wednesday at Belvidere, 25-1, then edged Del Val at home 6-5 before Friday’s defeat.

Also at 11 am, 5-seed Watchung Hills (7-7) will visit 4-seed Bridgewater-Raritan (7-7), in perhaps the most evenly-matched game of the day. The Panthers had an off-day Friday after a four-game stretch from Monday to Thursday, winning the first three – including a couple of slugfests over Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Montgomery, before falling 10-6 to Hunterdon Central at home Thursday to end the stretch.


The Warriors have won two straight, 8-5 at Phillipsburg and 5-4 over Delbarton at home. Bridgewater has won four of the last five, head-to-head, going back to the beginning of the 2019 season.

Finally, 6-seed Rutgers Prep (9-2) will plat at 3rd-seed Montgomery (5-5). The Argonauts lost 9-1 to the Cougars on Day Two of the season, as Alex Benitez had a 3-for-3 day, and Adam Neufeld and Greg Blecikhart each knocked in a pair of runs, and Neufeld pitched six innings of five-hit, one-run ball.

READ MORE: Four homers, 5th inning onslaught, power Rutgers Prep past Bernards to keep Argos atop Valley

Monty has won three of the last four meetings – which have been rare – going all the way back to 2016.

The winner of Pingry/Somerville and Rutgers Prep/Montgomery will face off in one semifinal on May 9 in Bridgewater, while the other matchup will feature the winners of the Gill St. Bernards’s/Ridge and Watchung Hills/Bridgewater-Raritan games.

The semifinals are at 4 and 7 pm at TD Bank Park, and will be broadcast live by Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Rutgers Prep girls leave no doubt about it; they’re No. 1 in Bellamy & Son Paving final top ten of the year

When Central Jersey Sports Radio began its coverage of high school basketball last season, in the pandemic-shortened year, Rutgers Prep was the preseason No. 1 team. The went wire-to-wire with it last year, finishing 13-0, winners of the one-off Skyland Conference top pod.

To challenge themselves, they even played Saddle River Day the next day, after winning the pod final, and won that game, too.

They didn’t go undefeated in 2021-22, but they were by far the best girls’ team in the area, again, and once again, have gone wire-to-wire to finish No. 1 in the final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, to be CJSR’s Team of the Year.

They finished 29-3, going all the way to the Tournament of Champions title game, where they fell for a second time this season to the state’s undisputed No. 1 team, St. John Vianney. Winners of the Somerset County Tournament, the Non-Public South B and the Non-Public Group B state titles, their only other loss came out of state, early in the season, to Westtown (PA).

That’s a run of 17 straight polls where the Lady Argonauts were No. 1, the only team to have that ranking in the entire – albeit brief, so far – existence of Central Jersey Sports Radio.

While Prep was no surprise this year – and would be a safe bet at a preseason No. 1 next year with key players like sophomore Mikayla Blakes and junior Katie Ledden returning – one surprise was Hillsborough.

The Lady Raiders made a late run in 2022, going all the way to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 finals where they lost to eventual Group 4 champion Westfield. They got their first ranking of the season in the final top ten, at No. 4.

Below are the final Bellamy & Son girls’ basketball rankings for the 2021-22 season:

Gill St. Bernard’s boys finish No. 1 in final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

In the middle of February, St. Thomas Aquinas made a statement with a win over Gill St. Bernard’s in the Hearts 2 Hands Showcase at Roselle Catholic. Key players were missing for both teams, but it established the Trojans as the No. 1 team in the Bellamy & Son Paving Rankings.

But then, Gill beat Rutgers Prep in the Somerset County Tournament Final, and Rutgers Prep beat Aquinas in the Non-Public South A semifinals, en route to a sectional championship.

Aquinas beat Gill, which beat Prep, which beat Aquinas, which beat Gill….

Ultimately, Gill St. Bernard’s will close out the season as the No. 1 team in the final Bellamy & Son Top Ten.

The Knights – with a host of Division 1 players, including Georgetown-bound Denver Anglin and junior Mackenzie Mgbako – finished the season 20-7, with only three of those losses coming to New Jersey schools. They lost to Aquinas, took then-No. 1 Camden to the wire, and lost to eventual Tournament of Champions winner Roselle Catholic in Non-Public North B title game.

Rutgers Prep finished second, going 26-4, and bringing home the program’s first-ever sectional title. They rallied to beat Red Bank Catholic in the Non-Public South A title game down at Lenape High School.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the GMC Tournament Champion came in third, at 27-2, also the White Division Champions.

One previously-unranked team made it into the final rankings: South Plainfield. The Tigers finished 23-7, won the Blue Division in the GMC, and made it all the way to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 finals, where they lost to Colonia, 56-52 in double-overtime. They finished seventh in the final rankings, while the Patriots finished fourth.

Below are the full final rankings:

Gill St. Bernard’s falls – again – to Roselle Catholic in sectional final

Mergin Sina would be forgiven if he woke up tomorrow, got out of bed, and found himself on Gobbler’s Knob with Phil Connors.

Top-seeded Roselle Catholic beat third-seed Gill St. Bernard’s 68-62 Wednesday night at Franklin High School in the Non-Public North B title game. It was the sixth straight tournament that has ended that way for Gill, extending a streak that run from 2016-2020 (with no tournament in 2021 due to COVID), and the second time the Rams ended their season with a furious rally.

The loss came despite a shooting clinic for the ages put on by Georgetown-bound senior Denver Anglin, who hit ten treys in the game.

But Roselle Catholic rallied big, as they did two years ago, and came away with the win, to move on to Saturday’s Non-Public Group B Final at Rutgers against the South B winner, Trenton Catholic.

Gill St. Bernard’s season ends at 20-7, with losses to nationally-ranked clubs like Camden and LaLumeiere of Indiana.

Roselle Catholic came into the game ranked second in New Jersey, while Gill was No. 4 in the latest statewide rankings released last week.

Looking back: Gill St. Bernard’s won thriller of a sectional title game in 2012

Back in 2012, in my previous “radio” life, Mergin Sina was doing for Gill St. Bernard’s boys’ basketball what he had done for the girls’ program, elevating it to new heights.

In that life, I was along for the ride, broadcasting the Non-Public South B title game against Trenton Catholic. And early on, it didn’t look good for Gill, until the turnaround came like a flash, and the game wound up being one of the Top Ten I had ever covered to that point.

It still is.

So, I’ve dusted off the tape, and here it is, a look back at Gill St. Bernard’s and their 2012 Non-Public South B Championship over Trenton Catholic:

Monday Rundown: Rutgers Prep boys and girls, Gill St. Bernard’s boys advance to sectional finals

With seven area teams in action as Monday opened the second week of state tournament play in New Jersey, three advanced to sectional finals this Wednesday, while four other teams saw their seasons end, two in the sectional finals themselves.

In the Non-Public A semifinals, third-seed Rutgers Prep never trailed in a 68-59 road win over 2nd-seed St. Thomas Aquinas, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The Argonauts will face top-seed Rad Bank Catholic, 70-58 winners over fourth-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen.

Rutgers Prep will be seeking its first-ever sectional title in a rematch with the Caseys, who beat them on January 30th down in South Jersey at the Jimmy V Showcase at Central Regional in Bayville.

READ MORE: Rutgers Prep boys topple St. Thomas Aquinas in a slugfest, will try and claim program’s first sectional title

The final will be played at 7 pm at Lenape High School, and Central Jersey Sports Radio plans to broadcast the game, pending broadcast rights approval from the NJSIAA.

Two hours prior, the Rutgers Prep girls will be at Long Branch High School playing for their own sectional title, after the top-seeded Lady Argos beat 5th-seed St. Rose, 64-34. Katie Ledden had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Mikayla Blakes chipped in 19.

They will face second-seed Wildwood Catholic, a 45-39 winner over 3-seed Gloucester Catholic Monday night.

The finals are set for 5 pm at Long Branch.

Also advancing were the Gill St. Bernard’s Boys; the third-seeded Knights knocked off 2-seed Saddle River Day 81-42, advancing to play the top-seed Roselle Catholic, which beat 4th-seed Morris Catholic 93-73. It’ll be battle of two of the top teams in the state, with Roselle Catholic ranked second in all of New Jersey, and Gill – the Somerset County Tournament Champions – ranked fourth.

That game will be played at Franklin High School at 5 pm.

Besides St. Joe’s, three other teams saw their seasons end Monday night.

In the Central Jersey Group 2 boys’ title game, Bound Brook was seeking its first sectional crown since 1979, but the Crusaders were doomed by a slow start, and lost 75-44 at top-seed Rumson-Fair Haven.

READ MORE: Bound Brook’s run ends in sectional final, with loss at Rumson-Fair Haven

The historic run for the Colonia girls’ came to an end down in Mercer County, as the 2nd-seeded Patriots lost in the Central Jersey Group 3 final, 70-45 to top-seed Ewing.

And in Non-Public North B semifinal action, 4th-seed Gill St. Bernard’s fell 62-35 to top-seed Saddle River Day.

Here’s the upcoming schedule of games, day by day, in the state tournament:


Boys – North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3:
2-South Plainfield at 1-Colonia, 6 pm

Girls – North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4:
6-Hillsborough at 1-Westfield, 7 pm


Boys – Non-Public South A Final:
3-Rutgers Prep vs. 1-Red Bank Catholic – Lenape High School, 7 pm

Boys – Non-Public North B Final:
3-Gill St. Bernard’s vs. 1-Roselle Catholic – Franklin High School, 5 pm

Girls – Non-Public South B Final:
2-Wildwood Catholic vs. 1-Rutgers Prep – Long Branch High School, 5 pm

THURSDAY, MARCH 10 (*if necessary)

Boys Group 3 Semifinals (North 1 vs North 2):
(either Colonia or South Plainfield) Phillipsburg High School, 7 pm

*Girls Group 4 Semifinals (North 1 vs. North 2):
Franklin High School, 5 pm

INSTANT REPLAYS: Somerset County Tournament Semifinals and Finals Coverage

Two finals, with the same two schools, produced two different winners at the 2022 Somerset County Tournament, both of them top seeds. Rutgers Prep took the girls’ title, while Gill St. Bernard’s took the boys’ championship.

Click below to listen to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s live play-by-play coverage of the 2022 Somerset County Tournament, including a girl’s/boys’ semifinal doubleheader from Gill St. Bernard’s, and the championship doubleheader at Montgomery High School.

Somerset County Tournament Semifinals:

Girls: (2) Gill St. Bernard’s 41, (6) Hillsborough 53: Gill St. Bernards, Rutgers Prep girls advance to Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament final

Boys: (1) Gill St. Bernard’s, (4) Montgomery 49: Top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s boys take care of business, head back to Somerset County Tourney finals

Somerset County Tournament Finals:

Girls’ Final: (1) Rutgers Prep 64, (7) Gill St. Bernard’s 35

RECAP: “REPEAT”: Rutgers Prep cruises past Gill St. Bernard’s to win second straight SCT title, 5th of last 7

Boys’ Final: (1) Gill St. Bernard’s 84, (2) Rutgers Prep 63

RECAP: Mgbako, Gill St. Bernard’s just too much for Rutgers Prep, as Knights win 8th SCT title under Sina

Mgbako, Gill St. Bernard’s just too much for Rutgers Prep, as Knights win 8th SCT title under Sina

When you’ve got multiple players being recruited to play high level college basketball, and another team with some really good, maybe even great players, sometimes it’s just not enough.

That was the case Saturday afternoon at Montgomery High School, where top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (17-6) was in control for most of the Somerset County Tournament Championship game, as they beat 2-seed Rutgers Prep (22-3) by an 84-63 score, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Junior Mackenzie Mgbako – being recruited by NCAA blue bloods like Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina – had a monster game. He led all scorers with 29 – including four treys – while Georgetown commit Denver Anglin had 20.

The win was the eighth for Gill St. Bernard’s and Mergin Sina, who won their first together in 2011, another the next year, and five straight from 2015 to 2019 before missing the 2020 final after getting knocked out in the semifinals by Watchung Hills. That was their first year not appearing in the SCT finals under Sina.

Click below for postgame reaction from Gill St. Bernard’s:

Senior guard Denver Anglin

Head coach Mergin Sina

Top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s boys take care of business, head back to Somerset County Tourney finals

For the first eleven years of his tenure as boys’ basketball coach at Gill St. Bernard’s, head coach Mergin Sina never missed a Somerset County Tournament final.

His team finally did in year ten, getting eliminated in the semifinals by Watchung Hills.

And after the Skyland Conference held postseason pods last year, the Knights are back in the title tilt.

A 65-49 win over fourth-seed Montgomery accomplished that feat, thanks in large park to Mackenzie Mgbako’s 22 points, and despite the fact opposing point guard Ryan Curry of the Cougars finished one point shy of a career high, with 29.

Of course, if no one else scores, those 29 don’t mean a lot, and that’s exactly what happened, as the next highest scorer was 6′ 8″ senior center Aryan Gorty, who couldn’t get anything inside against Gill’s bigs, including Mgbako.

Now it’s on to the championship Saturday afternoon at 3 pm – ironically at Montgomery – against Rutgers Prep, which beat Watchung Hills big at home minutes apart Thursday night in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals.

Click below for postgame reaction from Mackenzie Mgbako with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Gill St. Bernards, Rutgers Prep girls advance to Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament final

Second-seed Gill St. Bernard’s successfully fended off a tough challenge from 6-seed Hillsborough Thursday night, beating the Lady Raiders 41-33 in a home semifinal game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The teams traded the lead a few times in the first quarter, but in the second Gill went on a 10-0 run to take a 16-8 lead. And yet and the end of the half, they only had a two point advantage, at 20-18.

On defense, though, they held Hillsborough scoreless the first six minutes out of the locker room, and built a ten point lead that would shrink a bit, get back to ten, shrink a bit, and so on, until they eventually closed an eight point win.

In Saturday’s final at 1:00 – which can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – Gill (17-4) will take on top-seed Rutgers Prep, which beat 5-seed Bound Brook at home Thursday 86-42, led by Rutgers-bound Antonia Bates, who had 17 points, and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career.

Rutgers-bound Rutgers Prep senior Antonia Bates celebrates scoring her 1,000th career point, which came in the SCT semifinals Thursday at home. (Photo: Chris Tsakonas)

The Lady Argonauts (22-2) did what they have done all season long: score early and often, and let their defense do the dirty work. That helped Prep build a 26-7 lead at the end of one quarter, and from there, they never looked back.

Four other players scored in double figures. Katie Ledden scored 15 points, while Mikayla Blakes, Zahra Alexander and Morgan Ryan each had a dozen.

Click below for postgame reaction from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko in Gladstone and Chris Tsakonas in Somerset:


Gill St. Bernard’s Freshman Maya Abramson
Gill St. Bernard’s Head Coach Mark Gnapp


Rutgers Prep senior Antonia Bates
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger