Tag: Hillsborough

It’s 25 straight weeks atop the rankings for Rutgers Prep, with two new teams joining Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten in Week 7

On the strength of a 3-0 week, and a win that solidified their position as the team to beat in the Skyland Conference – a 75-36 thumping as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio last Tuesday afternoon – Rutgers Prep held on to the No. 1 spot in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten for Week 7.

The Lady Argonauts (13-3) had a 3-0 week, which also included an 80-19 rout at Bridgewater-Raritan, and a 76-56 win over Montclair-Immaculate on Sunday. They’re on a seven-game winning streak heading into the final week of the regular season, with the Somerset County Tournament seeding coming up a week from tonight.

St. Thomas Aquinas (15-4) holds in second, while Gill St. Bernard’s (12-4) stays put in third.

Edison (15-2) moves up to No. 4 on the strength of a 3-0 week, while South Brunswick (13-5) moves up two spots to No. 5, despite a 1-1 week in which they beat North Brunswick, but dropped an out-of-conference game to Morristown 54-51.

READ: Edison community and beyond comes together to “Fight For Allie,” help local 11-year old girl beat brain tumor

Bernards (12-5) had a 1-2 week and dropped to sixth, after a win over Delaware Valley, but losses to Belvidere and Dayton.

In seventh is Watchung Hills, which went 3-0, sweeping a week of games from Phillsipburg, Montgomery and Hunterdon Central.

North Plainfield (13-4) makes its debut this season at No. 8, with wins in the past week over Woodbridge and South Plainfield, but a loss to former Skyland Conference foe Bound Brook. (North Plainfield joined the Greater Middlesex Conference this season.)

Hillsborough (10-7) – which fell out of the rankings in Week 4 – rejoins the Top Ten at No. 8 after a three-win week that included victories over Franklin, Hunterdon Central, and previously-No. 9 Mount St. Mary (13-6), which dropped out, along with previous No. 10 Spotswood (15-4).

Below are the full Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten Rankings:

Rutgers Prep inches up after win over Gill, but STA remains No. 1 in Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving boys’ rankings

Rutgers Prep’s convincing rematch win over Gill St. Bernard’s last Tuesday night on Easton Avenue moved the Argonauts up another notch in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten for Week 7, St. Thomas Aquinas remains No. 1 in the rankings.

Both squads had 3-0 weeks, with the Trojans now 19-1, and the Argonauts 14-6 overall. Gill (13-5) also lost to Paterson Eastside 62-51 to finish the week with a 1-2 mark.

The next four teams all stay put, with just one loss among them. Colonia (15-4) remains in fourth, followed by South River (18-1), Bound Brook (14-2), and South Plainfield (16-3).

The Crusaders were the only one of the four clubs to lose a game in the week gone by, coming to Franklin, which is 11-8 overall, but with four of those losses coming to Gill and Rutgers Prep, and a loss each to South Plainfield and North Brunswick, the first- and second-place teams in the GMC White Division, with just four defeats between them.

READ: Edison community and beyond comes together to “Fight For Allie,” help local 11-year old girl beat brain tumor

North Brunswick (16-3) rejoins the rankings at No. 8 with a 4-0 week, including victories over Princeton, Perth Amboy, Edison and Sayreville, while Hillsborough makes its debut at No. 10. The Raiders had a thrilling four-point win id double-overtime at Immaculata, plus wins over Watchung Hills and Edison for a 3-0 week.

Ridge (13-4) drops to tenth following a 2-1 week, including wins over Montgomery and Somerville, sandwiched around a loss to Watchung Hills.

Dropping out this week are No. 8 St. Joseph-Metuchen (10-7) – after an 0-3 week, with losses to St. Thomas Aquinas, Seton Hall Prep and Newark Central – and No. 10 Immaculata – which went 1-2 this past week, including a win over Perth Amboy and a loss at Phillipsburg.

Below are the full Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Week 7 Rankings:

INSTANT REPLAY: Hillsborough 64, Montgomery 43 (Boys)

Hillsborough used an onslaught of nine three pointers – six in the first quarter – to power past Montgomery for the first time in nearly six years with a 64-43 home win in Skyland Conference Raritan Division play, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Zion harrison led the assault with three triples in the first quarter, four overall, and led all scorers in the game with 22 points. Four other players hit from beyond the arc as the Raiders matched a season-high from downtown.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play on January 3, 2023:

HIGHLIGHT REEL: Listen to all nine treys by Hillsborough in Skyland Raritan Division showdown with Montgomery

Hillsborough made it rain, especially in the first quarter, in Tuesday night’s 64-43 Skyland Conference Raritan Division win over Montgomery, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Raiders hit six times from beyond the arc in the first eight minutes, and finished with a season-high-tying nine treys – matching their output from their second game of the season against Irvington.

Junior Zion Harrison hit three times in the first quarter and had four of the team’s nine three-pointers. Nick Losch had a pair of threes, while Jayden Green, Lucas Rollan and Aadit Shah all scored once from beyond the arc.

Listen back to Justin Sontupe and Mike Pavlichko as they call all nine of Hillsborough’s three-pointers:

Hillsborough three barrage buries Montgomery boys early in Skyland Raritan win

Only once in his career had Junior Zion Harrison hit more than twice from beyond the arc in a single game. And through the first five games this year, he only hit once.

But Tuesday night he did it four times as part of a nine-triple onslaught, as Hillsborough put Montgomery behind the eight ball early, and beat the Cougars 64-43 in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Harrison had three treys in the first quarter alone, as the Raiders (5-1, 2-1 in the Skyland Raritan Division) hit seven of their nine from beyond the arc in the first half, pushing out to a 21-6 first quarter lead, and a 34-19 lead at half.

Montgomery (3-5, 0-2) wouldn’t go away though. Three times, Hillsborough had a 20-point lead, only to see the Cougars climb back to within 14 or 15, thanks mostly in part to freshman guard Ethan Lin, who had 17 points and scored in all four quarters.

Harrison finished with a game-high 22 points, while fellow junior Jayden Green added 15.

The Raiders – who started last season 3-11, enduring COVID absenteeism along the way – have now won 11 of their last 14 regular season games, and are looking like a team to contend with in their division, if not the county, with their only loss coming to Ridge on Opening Night.


They’ve yet to play unbeaten division-leader Immaculata, however, but will get their first chance next Tuesday night at home. First, this Thursday night, they’ll visit Watchung Hills, which is 5-1 after suffering its first loss of the season Tuesday evening, 62-55 at home to the Spartans, who are now 6-0.

The win also snapped a six-game skid for Hillsborough against Montgomery, the Raiders’ first win in the series since February 7, 2017.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by SportsPlex at Metuchen, as Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe catches up with Hillsborough head coach Tim Palek and junior guard Zion Harrison:

Follow Sportsplex at Metuchen on Instagram for the latest on open gym sessions on their courts and turf!
Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe talks with Hillsborough junior guard Zion Harrison (left) and head coach Tim Palek (middle) after a 64-43 win over Montgomery on January 3, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Balanced Montgomery attack looking for good start to New Year at Hillsborough tonight

As the calendar turns from 2022 to 2023, Montgomery boys basketball finds itself in an unfamiliar position: below .500. It has been six years since the Cougars (3-4) last finished with a losing record, and almost a decade-and-a-half since they finished December in such an unenviable position.

With a Skyland Conference road game against 4-1 Hillsborough up next tonight, the road does not get any easier.

But pay no attention to the record for now, urges head coach Kris Grundy, in his 18th season. The Cougars have held fourth quarter leads in six of their first seven games, including narrow losses to still unbeaten Immaculata and Watchung Hills, and are still overcoming the preseason injury to junior guard Steve Donahue. Freshman Ethan Lin was forced into action earlier than anticipated, and seniors Luke Smith, Matt Levy, and JT Simborski are adjusting to shouldering a heavier load.

The Cougars have absorbed their fair share of punches during the first few weeks of the season, but that should only make them stronger as they enter the meat of the schedule ahead of February’s postseason. Four players — Lin, Levy, Smith, and junior point guard Josh Moore — average at least nine points per game. As a team, Montgomery, which often spreads the floor with five guards, makes more than eight three-pointers per game.

Montgomery’s last loss to Hillsborough came in 2017, and the Cougars will look to get back on track against the familiar foe Tuesday night. Led by second-year head coach Tim Palek, Hillsborough has started 4-1 after finishing last season by winning 8-of-13 and are looking to keep it rolling. 


You can hear Tuesday night’s game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with pregame set for 6:40 pm and tip-off at 7 in Hillsborough. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will have the call; click here to listen to the broadcast.

Click below to listen to Justin Sontupe talk with Montgomery head coach Kris Grundy ahead of Tuesday’s game.

Girls’ Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten takes out-of-area losses, but top remains mostly unchanged

Rutgers Prep lost once, St. Thomas Aquinas lost twice, and South Brunswick lost, too. But with all those defeats coming out-of-area or out-of-state, they failed to drop in the Week Four Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten.

While Colonia dropped, it was their fourth loss of the season, and the Patriots’ are the only team below .500 in the rankings, though three of those losses – including their most recent – are out-of-area.

Gill St. Bernards (5-1) was the only team that went unbeaten over the Christmas break, and the Knights check in third, behind Prep (4-2) and Aquinas (5-2), with the Vikings (6-2) behind them.

The Vikings are followed by Edison (7-0) in fifth, then Hillsborough (4-1), Franklin (2-3) and Monroe (4-1) with Colonia (2-3) in ninth. There was a tie for tenth, with Bernards (5-2) holding court, and Middlesex (5-0) debuting at No. 10.

Below are the full Week Three Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Hot heading into ’23: GMC and Somerset County boys’ teams hoping to keep it going in the New Year

The Christmas break and holiday tournaments are in the rear view mirror, and now it’s five weeks of crunch time in the regular season before the county and state playoff seeding meetings.

They come just about one right after the other, with the GMC seeding meeting on Friday, February 3, the SCT on Monday, the 6th, and the NJSIAA a week later on the 13th.

Everything starts a week earlier than usual this year, after the NJSIAA shortened the season (but allowed for unlimited four-game weeks to make up for it) and lopped off the Tournament of Champions so that the state finals now end Sunday, March 5th. (Last year, the TOC Finals were on March 20th.)

So it’s a bit more of a sprint this year; blink and you might miss it!

Here is a quick look at the boys teams in the area who are in great position heading into 2023:


  • St. Thomas Aquinas (7-0): The Trojans have only played three games against GMC competition so far this season, and none have been close: they’ve beaten JP Stevens, South Brunswick and Old Bridge in Red Division play by an average of 38 points per game. But their out-of-conference games haven’t been much closer. They beat Oratory before the holidays 66-34, then won all three games in the Husky Holiday Classic, topping Manalapan by 40 and Holdmdel by 27. Their closest game of the year brought home the trophy from Matawan, a see-saw battle with Seton Hall Prep that the Trojans won 52-44, getting eight fourth-quarter points from Kamal Lee in a matchup of top-15 state-ranked teams. (This week: Monroe Monday, at East Brunswick Tuesday, Rosedale Baptist (MD) Thursday, at Piscataway Saturday, Camden Eastside Sunday)
  • South Plainfield (6-0): The Tigers lead the GMC White Division with a 3-0 mark and wins over North Brunswick, Woodbridge and Edison. They swept the Anthony J. Cotoia Tournament over the holiday break with wins over the Eagles and Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Tuesday is a big test, playing up to the Red Division and struggling St. Joseph-Metuchen, which already has two GMC losses this season – to Colonia and South River. A win against the Falcons not only would be a resume-builder, but could leave the county tournament seeding committee with a lot of questions to wrangle with next month. (This week: at St. Joseph Tuesday, at North Plainfield Thursday, at Franklin Saturday)
  • South River (6-0): Brandon Walsh’s team is in a groove heading into 2023. We saw them fend off a tough Spotswood team on December 19th in what has turned out to be their closest game of the season so far, a 73-68 win. They even beat St. Joe’s by seven in a stunner the Monday after Christmas. (Read more by clicking here. And for more on the potential impact on the GMC Tournament seeding, click here.) This week’s schedule is kind to the Rams until they get to Saturday, and a matchup with so-far undefeated Bound Brook. (This week: at Wardlaw-Hartridge Monday, Middlesex Wednesday, at Bound Brook Saturday)
  • North Brunswick (4-1): The Raiders are in fourth in the White Division at 1-1, but have won four straight since a 12-point opening night loss to South Plainfield at home. Alani Ajigbotosho has led the way in the early season averaging 18 points a game, and has seven steals to boot, with North Brunswick averaging nearly seven a game as a team. They have three below-.500 teams coming up after a trip to Perth Amboy Tuesday, and could very well by 8-1 heading into a potentially critical White Division home matchup with Woodbridge on January 10th. (This week: at Perth Amboy Tuesday, Edison Thursday, Sayreville Saturday)
  • Colonia (6-1): The Patriots may only be on a two-game winning streak, but they’re still one of just four GMC teams to have won six games before the New Year. Their only loss came to Westfield in the opener of the LeGrand Holiday Jubilee, and they also have a win over St. Joe’s – a triple overtime affair – 83-78. (Read more on that game by clicking here.) Freshman guard Aidan Derkack has added another dimension for Colonia, leading the team with 17 steals in seven games, while dishing out 24 assists. This week they get the bottom half of the GMC Red Division, and one more next week before a huge clash at St. Thomas Aquinas on Thursday, January 12th, which we’ll have live on Central Jersey Sports Radio. (This week: at Old Bridge Tuesday, East Brunswick Thursday, at Monroe Saturday)
  • Middlesex (5-1): The Blue Jays’ five-game win streak came to an end last week in the championship game of the Crusader Classic, losing at home team Bound Brook 60-57. Nothing to be embarrassed about there with the Crusaders still undefeated. (More on them in the next section. Defense has been the name of the game for Jared Goldstein’s squad, allowing an average of 31 points per game in their four GMC wins, while scoring 72 against Perth Amboy Magnet, and 91 at Wardlaw-Hartridge. They also had narrower wins by 11 over JFK, and by five over Carteret. Wednesday is a huge one at Blue Division-leader and undefeated South River. (This week: at South River Wednesday, Metuchen Friday, at South Hunterdon Saturday)
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Somerset County

  • Immaculata (5-0): Two of the six teams in the Skyland Conference Raritan Division are undefeated, and three of the others are 4-1. The Spartans opened the season with wins over Conference foes Montgomery, Hunterdon Central and Ridge, then beat Piscataway of the GMC by five before coming back to Somerset County and handling Bridgewater-Raritan on the road, 76-53 last Thursday. Seniors Davis Adams (forward) and Sean Givens (guard) balance the high-low game with 19.2 and 19 points per game, respectively. Adams has notched double-doubles (points and rebounds) in all five games so far, scoring 20-plus points twice, including a near career-high 24 against Central. (This week: at Watchung Hills Tuesday, Phillipsburg Thursday, at Morristown Saturday)
  • Watchung Hills (5-0): The Warriors’ only divisional game so far was a 48-35 win over Montgomery in the Cougar/Warrior Classic on December 29th, and they jump right back in with a critical home matchup against Immaculata at 5:30 Tuesday evening. With the graduation of Elijah Lewis, Hills is much more balanced this year, with five players averaging 8.2 points per game or better, but none more than 11.4 per contest. That’s also a nice luxury to have. (This week: Immaculata Tuesday, Hillsborough Thursday, JP Stevens Saturday)
  • Hillsborough (4-1): Under second-year head coach Tim Palek, the Raiders are picking up where they left off in 2021-22, and after a two-point season-opening loss to Ridge, 55-53, take a four-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s game at Montgomery, which can be heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame at 6:45 and tip-off at 7. (Click here to listen. For a preview of the game with Coach Palek, click here.) Hillsborough needs to not look past the Cougars (3-4) with a key game at Watchung Hills on Thursday night. (This week: Montgomery Tuesday, at Watchung Hills Thursday, Raritan Friday)
  • Bound Brook (5-0): Head coach Anthony Melesurgo doesn’t rebuild, he just reloads, having done nothing but win the last several seasons. In fact, going back to 2019-20, the Crusaders are a combined 66-10 over a span of four seasons, including an undefeated 14-0 mark in the COVID-shortened season, in which they won the Skyland Conference middle postseason pod. This year’s edition has only won one game “comfortably,” a 67-51 victory over South Hunterdon. They’ve won their other four games by an average of three points. Still, nobody asks how, just if. Jordan Summers has been lighting it up: the senior is averaging a whopping 29 points per game. Just try stopping him. And here’s a nice way to start the new year: three straight games in The Brook. (This week: North Hunterdon Tuesday, Voorhees Thursday, South River Saturday)
  • Rutgers Prep (5-2): The record may not look “hot” with two losses in their last three games, but they both came to out-of-state opponents: in a regular season home game before Christmas to Devon Prep (PA) 74-70, and in the opening game of the Pete and Jameer Nelson Play-By-Play Classic against Cardinal O’Hara (PA) 73-53. They rebounded with a 69-55 win over Neumann Goretti (PA) on Friday. They’ve only played two Skyland opponents so far, edging Franklin on the road in the season opener 90-82, and beating Hunterdon Central a few days later 71-29. The Argonauts are off ’til Thursday, when they have a huge clash up in Gladstone against Gill St. Bernard’s at 7:00. (This week: at Gill St. Bernard’s Thursday, DePaul Saturday)
  • Gill St. Bernard’s (4-2): With a new look, and no household names – yet – Mergin Sina’s club may take some time to jell. But they’ve won both their Skyland games (over Bridgewater-Raritan by 26 and Franklin by 12) and have two tough losses: one to Ramapo by seven in the Jingle Bells Jubilee, and another today to St. Joe’s of Montvale. They get a conference tune-up before Thursday’s home clash with Prep – Hunterdon Central on Tuesday – as part of a four-game week to start 2023. (This week: at Hunterdon Central Tuesday, Rutgers Prep Thursday, at Christian Brothers Academy Saturday, at St. Augustine Sunday)

Hillsborough boys basketball picking up right where it left off in Palek’s first season

The end of calendar year 2022 for the Hillsborough boys’ basketball team ended perhaps even better than the 2022 portion of last season ended.

A year ago, in Tim Palek’s first season after coming over from Bernards, the Raiders started the season 2-10, but went 8-5 the rest of the way after finding their groove.

This year, there’s been less groove to find. Sure, they graduated some key players, but seven who were in the rotation a year ago are back, including their top two scorers: senior Ben Spitzer (12.8 ppg) and junior Zion Harrison (11.6 ppg). And Spitzer can shoot from long range, with 15 on the season, including four in a season-opening 55-53 loss to Ridge, their only defeat of the season so far.

Tuesday night, the Raiders (4-1) will entertain Montgomery (3-4) in a key game for both teams – for Hillsborough to keep its early-season momentum going, for Montgomery to get the ship righted before passing the point of no return.


The Cougars are led freshman Ethan Lin’s 13.1 points per game, and can go bombs away from beyond the arc. As a team, they’ve already hit 59 triples in seven games this season – a whopping 8.4 per game – and are led by senior Luke Smith with 20 threes, while Lin has 13, and senior J.T. Simborski has 10.

You can hear Tuesday night’s game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with pregame set for 6:45 pm and tip-off at 7 in Hillsborough. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will have the call; click here to listen to the broadcast.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko talk with Hillsborough head coach Tim Palek ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Cougars:

Little new in Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball rankings

No. 9 Edison and No. 8 Monroe flip-flopped this week, but other than that, there were no changes to the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten for Week Two.

The top five remained the same, led by Rutgers Prep (2-1), followed by St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0), Gill St. Bernard’s (2-1), South Brunswick (4-1) and Colonia (2-3). The Patriots – with two out-of-area-losses – lost at South Brunswick 43-40 last Thursday night, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

READ MORE: Price, defense help No. 4 South Brunswick girls stifle No. 5 Colonia at home

Hillsborough (2-1) held in sixth, while Franklin (2-1) kept pace in seventh, while Edison (5-0) moved up a spot to No. 8 and Monroe (2-1) dropped one to ninth.

Bernards (4-1) held in tenth.

Below are the full Week 2 Girls’ Basketball Bellamy & Son Paving Rankings: