Tag: Hillsborough

Somerset County Tournament continues with four first-round games Saturday

With all three higher seeds winning their opening round games back on Wednesday, the Somerset County Tournament moves to the second round on Saturday with four games, as Rutgers Prep, Pingry, Watchung Hills and Immaculata join the fray.

In the opening round, 12-seed Hillsborough – last in the packed Skyland Conference Delaware Division – picked up just its first win of the year, a 6-3 victory over 13-seed Bound Brook. Cole Jara knocked in half the runs Wednesday with 3 RBI on a 2-for-4 afternoon at the plate; he also had a stolen base.

11-seed Bernards squeaked past 14-seed Manville, winning 3-1 at home on Wednesday, while 10-seed Franklin pounded out 12 runs against 15-seed North Plainfield in a 12-5 home victory despite Dylan Millman being the only batter in the lineup with more than one hit; the Warriors worked out nine walks against Canucks pitching.

Saturday, in the second round, Franklin (4-4) will visit undefeated 7-seed Pingry (6-0) up in Martinsville at 11 am. The winner moves on the the quarterfinals next Saturday, April 30th, at second seed Somerville. The other side of that bracket has Bernards (3-6) at 6-seed Rutgers Prep (6-2) at noon, with the winner travelling next weekend to 3rd-seed Montgomery.

The other half of the SCT bracket has 12-seed Hillsborough (1-5) at 5-seed Watchung Hills (4-6) at 2 pm, with the winner going to visit 4-seed Bridgewater-Raritan next weekend. The other half of that side of the bracket has 9-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (5-4) playing at 8-seed Immaculata (5-4). Both teams had first-round byes, and – due to a scheduling conflict – will play Monday at 4 pm out at Diamond Nation in Flemington. The winner will visit top-seed Ridge next Saturday.

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Following the quarterfinals, the semis will be May 9th at 4 and 7 pm at TD Bank Park in Bridgewater, the home of the Somerset Patriots. The finals are two weeks later, May 23 at 7 pm. The semifinals and finals can be heard live exclusively 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:

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:

TUESDAY, MARCH 8

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

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9

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

Hillsborough girls stun Franklin in rare fourth meeting, move on to Tuesday night North 2, Group 4 final at Westfield

Even after two losses to Franklin in the regular season – one at home and one away – the Hillsborough girls’ basketball team felt confident the third time would be the charm.

They headed back to Elizabeth Avenue for a third meeting in the Somerset County Tournament quarterfinals, and got the revenge win.

As fate would have it, they would meet again, a fourth time, this time Thursday night in the state tournament. And after the first eight minutes of play, it looked like Franklin would reassert itself. After all, they have been one of the elite programs in Somerset County for a goodly amount of recent memory under coach Audrey Taylor.

But the 6th-seeded Lady Raiders got back into it, led by two at halftime, and put enough distance between themselves and the Warriors to withstand a fourth quarter rally, hanging on for a 62-57 win over second-seed Franklin.

The victory sets up a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title game appearance for Hillsborough (18-8) Monday night in Union County against top-seed Westfield. Game time is set for 7 pm.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Hillsborough’s semifinal win with head coach Courtney Tierney:

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

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 over HILLSBOROUGH 41-33

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

RUTGERS PREP over BOUND BROOK 86-42

Rutgers Prep senior Antonia Bates
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger

After split with Gill St. Bernards, Hillsborough girls know what to do – and what not – in tonight’s SCT semifinals

Though the Franklin girls’ basketball team may not be of Tournament of Champions-caliber this season, any win over them can be considered a statement win.

Statement made.

Especially because Hillsborough had lost twice to the Warriors this season, once by 22, and the second time by six.

Turned out the third time was the charm.

Tonight, in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals, the 6th-seeded Lady Raiders (15-7) will look to make it to the championship when they face second-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (16-4).

They split with GSB this year, winning their first meeting by three on January 6th, but dropping the rematch in Gladstone – where they’ll play tonight – by a 62-43 score.

You can hear tonight’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with tip-off at 5 pm and pregame at 4:45, as Mike Pavlichko calls all the action. Click here to listen.

The game will immediately be followed by the Gill boys’ team taking on Montgomery in semifinal action – also heard on CJSR – and scheduled for 7 pm.

Click below to hear second-year Hillsborough coach Courtney Tierney talk about the season and tonight’s SCT semifinal with Mike Pavlichko:

Gill St. Bernard’s girls seeking first trip to SCT Finals in six years when Hillsborough comes to town

It’s been a while since Gill St. Bernard’s has been to the Somerset County Tournament championship game, and a lot of that has been due to the immense success Rutgers Prep and Franklin have had in recent years.

But there was a time when the Knights dominated themselves. They won three straight championships from 2012-2014, beating Rutgers Prep once and Franklin twice.

This year, they’re one step away, and probably a year earlier than Mark Gnapp had expected.

After all, when you lose players to graduation like Kayleigh Walsh – who’s now playing in the Big Ten for Northwestern – and Ella Fajardo – an international-caliber player who’s at FDU and a celebrity in her native Phillipines – who would think they’d be right back here?

And yet, here they are, a win away from the final.

To get there, they’ll have to dispatch 6th-seed Hillsborough, which is also having a solid year, in the SCT semifinals Thursday night at Gill St. Bernard’s in Gladstone, where Central Jersey Sports Radio will have all the action live beginning with the pregame show at 4:45 pm. Mike Pavlichko will call all the action; click here to listen.

Click here to listen to Mike Pavlichko talk to Gill head coach Mark Gnapp about the Knights’ season so far, and a third meeting this season with Hillsborough:

Playoff update: Girls’ Basketball Public Sections

Central Jersey Sports Radio continues taking a look at the playoff picture, with Saturday’s NJSIAA cutoff for state tournament qualification almost immediately on the horizon. We’ve got a section-by-section breakdown of public girls’ basketball teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference and Somerset County. All power points are the official NJSIAA totals as made available on NJ.com as of 6:30 pm Thursday.

Central Jersey Group 4: While Hightstown (16-5) and Jackson Memorial (15-2) lead this section with 375 and 365 points respectively, Monroe (13-3, 357) should stay in third, with only Edison on the schedule tonight before Saturday, and the Eagles already are their lowest power point total, so they won’t gain. After Middletown South (13-4, 342) in fourth, there’s East Brunswick at 14-5, with 327 points. Most of these teams are fairly well in place, with maybe a chance they could nudge up or down one spot. Marlboro (11-7, 311) is sixth, followed by North Brunswick (12-7, 299) and South Brunswick (14-6, 297). Behind them are Montgomery (9-8, 282) and Old Bridge (11-6, 278) in tenth. Sayreville, though 6-12 (171 pts) should be in over Long Branch, which is 5-8 with 155 points.

North Jersey, Scetion 2 – Group 4: While it remains to be seen if Franklin (13-3, 367) is anything like its pre-pandemic self – they were en route to another Tournament of Champions appearance before COVID shut things down – they have steadily improved this year. Westfield (16-4, 409) is the top seed here, but the Warriors could be the definition of a “sneaky two-seed,” if such a thing actually exists. The shouldn’t get caught from behind either by Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which is in third at 14-3, with 366 points. Ridge, at just 9-12, with 293 points, actually checks in fifth, followed by Watchung Hills (9-6, 276) and Woodbridge (11-6, 267). Then Hillsborough is 9th, at 10-7 (264 points). In 14th and 15th, respectively, are Bridgewater-Raritan (3-17, 172) and JP Stevens (4-15, 171).

Central Jersey Group 3: Yes, the Colonia boys are in North 2, but the girls are in Central. That’s how it works when you have boys’ only and girls’ only schools. The Patriots (19-2, 382) are in second place, and the White Division champions of the GMC are likely to stay there. They won’t catch top-seed Ewing (15-1, 394) and the next closest team below them – Wall (14-4) – is 58 points back. Go all the way outside the top 8 and you’ll find South Plainfield (10-8) in 9th with 246 points. It’s unlikely could earn a home game by jumping up, because they can’t get any more residuals. Down at 12 is Somerville (9-8, 215), then JFK (9-8, 199).

Central Jersey Group 2: Manasquan (19-3) is the top team here with 485 points, then New Providence (17-1, 423), but third-place Middlesex (16-2, 369) is well behind them. The question is, can Bound Brook (15-4, 367) gain two points to jump fourth-place Rumson-Fair Haven (12-8, 368)? Not in residuals, and their highest power point total is 16. But if they beat 17-2 Woodbury Saturday? Sure could! Checking in at No. 8 is South River (14-5, 282), then Johnson (11-7, 246) and Spotswood (12-7, 240) in tenth. Metuchen is in 12th at 9-9 (198), and Piscataway Tech is solidly in, but 15th place at 8-10 (157).

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 2: The only area team here is Bernards (5-10, 182) checking in at No. 11. The top seed here is Madison (12-6, 328).

Central Jersey Group 1: After top team New Egypt, at 12-1, 316 points, there’s Woodbridge Academy (15-2, 303). Probably can’t make up that ground, but a 2-seed is nice, too. Somerset Tech (12-5, 254) is in fourth, seven points ahead of Shore (10-10) in fifth. Down to nine we find Perth Amboy Tech (6-9, 154), which won’t crack the top eight. Immediately behind them are Manville (4-13, 150) and Highland Park (6-13, 149). Dunellen (4-14, 121) is in 13th.

Dominating 13-0 season sees Hillsborough’s Amankwaa and Carty Jr. sweep Two-Way Player and Coach of the Year awards from CJSR

It was a season of perfection for Hillsborough, and the Raiders took home two honors Thursday night on the Central Jersey Sports Radio postseason awards show.

Standout Thomas Amankwaa – who signed his National Letter of Intent to go to Rutgers this Wednesday – was named Big Central Two-Way Player of the Year, while head coach Kevin Carty Jr. was named Coach of the Year.

And both awards had a lot to do with Amankwaa.

The RU-bound senior had career highs in two major offensive categories, racking up 853 receiving yards at his natural position, along with 13 touchdowns, but he also rolled off 1,125 rushing yards – and 15 more scores – as Carty got Amankwaa involved as a runningback, a stroke of genius that paid off with a 13-0 record, a school record in wins, and the Central Jersey Group 5 title, its first state title in 21 years.

He also came up big defensively. Though he only recorded 25 tackles – some of that due to a solid defense in front of Amankwaa that didn’t give him many chances – he had 5 interceptions for 118 yards and five pass breakups.

One of those picks came in overtime against Phillipsburg, completing a 21-14 comeback win.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlickho talk with Tommy Amankwaa and Kevin Carty, Jr.:

Honorable mentions from the Two-Way Player of the Year category included Charlie Barth of New Providence, Michael Olivo of Ridge and Union’s Davison Igbinosun.

Barth won the inaugural award last season, but sat out defensively at times this year to stay fresh, and after getting dinged up a bit early in the season; he didn’t play a snap on D in a blowout home win over Bound Brook.

But when he was in the game, he was a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced in a first-round playoff game at Delaware Valley, where an early red zone pick got New Providence on the board, and on its way to victory.

Olivo came up 33-yards shy of 2,000 total this season, with 947 passing yards, 961 rushing, and another 59 on returns. He scored 25 touchdowns on offense, then had 44 tackles and 3 INTs on defense.

Igbinosun – who still hasn’t decided on a college but holds more than 30 Division 1 offers – had 76 carries for 903 yards and 12 touchdowns, 20 receptions for 405 yards and four TDs, while amassing 74 tackles and exerting his dominance on defense, adding four interceptions and two tackles for loss.