Tag: girls basketball

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:

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

We’ve already told you the numbers: Rutgers Prep outscored its opponents by more points than they allowed to those opponents.

It was a truly remarkable season for Mary Klinger’s squad.

But why let us tell you. Let them tell you.

Let them tell you how it all started with last year’s sectional final loss to Trenton Catholic, how they dealt with COVID, how they kept their eyes on the prize all year, and delivered in the clutch when their biggest star went down.

Click below to hear head coach Mary Coyle Klinger, and seniors Christina Dalce and Belle Pellecchia talk about their remarkable 2021 season:

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

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

Take two for Spotswood and Dunellen girls Friday night

The Chargers and Destroyers were meant to meet for the second time this season a week ago. Mother Nature had different ideas.

The week in between hasn’t been kind to either team, but it just means that when they do meet Friday night – on Central Jersey High School Basketball powered by Bellamy & Son Paving – someone will get off the schneid.

Air time is 7:00 with game time at 7:15 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko calling the action. Click here to listen. You can also watch the game on the Dunellen athletics YouTube channel by clicking here.

When last we saw Dunellen (6-5, 5-5 in the GMC Blue), the Destroyers had won three straight. But they’ve now lost three in a row: at South Hunterdon and South River, and at home to Middlesex.

Spotswood, meanwhile, had just snapped a three game losing streak with a 56-25 win over Highland Park, but they’ve since lost two in a row, and five out of the last six.

The game is also sponsored locally by Pops Bike Shop in Somerville, Roscoe’s Eatery in Dunellen, Dunellen Bagel, the Dunellen Hotel & Rathskeller, and Rising Stars Studio of Dance.

After back-to-back 12-15 seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19 that snapped a 12-year string of winning seasons, Dunellen still has a chance to put together back-to-back above-.500 campaigns.

Click below to listen to Spotswood head coach Vin Vizzi and Dunellen head coach Keith Connery talk about the matchup.

Spotswood head coach Vin Vizzi
Dunellen head coach Keith Connery

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 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:

Coaching one basketball team at a time is enough for most people, but not Woodbridge’s (and now Drew’s) Timinski

Bobby Timinski – 7th-all-time leading scorer at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, thousand-point scorer at both St. Joe’s of Metuchen and Colonia High Schools – has three jobs.

He owns a furniture and mattress business. He coaches the Woodbridge girls’ basketball team. He runs Basketball Warehouse in Edison, which provides individualized training for 8-year-olds all the way up to college.

Woodbridge campe up with a 60-42 win over New Brunswick at home on Saturday, Feb. 13 for its first win of the season.

Now, he’s the volunteer head coach at Drew University in Madison, and this weekend, he will lead the Rangers in a home-and-home doubleheader with Juniata – Friday night at home at 7 pm, followed by a trip to PA for a 4:00 Sunday matinee.

SPONSORED CONTENT: Timinski’s Basketball Warehouse helps players of all ages improve their skills and confidence in a personal setting

How, did it happen? Well, just as with anything extraordinary these days, it’s all due to COVID, as the Drew coaching staff all had to go into COVID protocols.

The full story would be incredulous, if we told you. So let’s let Bobby Timinski himself tell the story.

Click below to listen to Woodbridge – now Drew – head coach Bobby Timinski talk about his newest role:

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