They were the upset specials of the GMC and state tournament. But then again, were they really?
It might be hard to notice South Brunswick when the teams finishing above you are St. Thomas Aquinas, Colonia and St. Joseph-Metuchen, the first two of whom only joined the GMC Red Division this year.
But maybe the Vikings didn’t care if anyone was paying attention. They put together a nice regular season with a great young point guard and a center who’s like another coach on the floor, and were primed to do damage come GMC Tournament time.
And that they did. As the 7th-seed, they took care of JP Steven in the first round, then pulled off back-to-back “upsets” en route to the finals, first knocking off 2nd-seed Colonia 63-43, then eliminating Cinderella third-seed South River 53-41 in the semifinals.
They would play top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas to within three-points in a dramatic championship game, with a chance to tie it with under ten seconds left that just didn’t work out. Had they won, they would have been the lowest seed to take home a GMC Tournament trophy.
Then came the states, Central Jersey Group 4. As the sixth-seed, they easily beat Old Bridge in the opening round, then were back to their old tricks. They knocked off rival and third-seed North Brunswick in the quarterfinals 72-46, before getting a surprise home game against 7th-seed Marlboro, which they won by 11. The quest, however, would fall short at top-seed Trenton in the sectional final.
Through it all, the Vikings finished 20-7 and were one of just four boys teams in our coverage area – three from the GMC Red Division – to make it to a sectional title game.
For his efforts in guiding that squad through a challenging schedule, pulling off upsets, and showing how teamwork can build success, South Brunswick head coach Joe Hoehman is our 2023 Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.
Click below to hear his conversation about the season with Mike Pavlichko: