Tag: Mergin Sina

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:

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

Gill St. Bernards, Rutgers Prep to face off for SCT Tourney title in a battle of heavyweights

They are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Somerset County Tournament, and the fourth and tenth-ranked teams in the state.

And though they play in the same Skyland Conference, they’re not in the same division, and don’t play each other in the regular season. In fact, they haven’t played since before the pandemic, their last meeting in early February of 2020.

Only three players who played in that game – albeit key ones – will be on the floor this afternoon when 2nd-seed Rutgers Prep (22-2) and top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (17-6) square off at Montgomery High School for the Somerset County Tournament Championship.

Gill’s Denver Anglin scored 14, and Mackenzie Mgbako 13, while Prep’s Ryan Petit was scoreless but had two assists and two rebounds in a 65-59 win for his Argonauts.

You can hear today’s championship game on Central Jersey Sports Radio at 3pm, with Justin and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action. Click here to listen.

Both teams have a lot of talent. The aforementioned Mgbako is one of the top recruits in the 2023 class nationally, which also includes Camden’s D.J. Wagner, the son of New Jersey’s all-time scoring leader DaJuan Wagner. Mgbako leads the Knights with 19.3 points per game, while Anglin leads the team with 39 triples on the season and will be headed to Georgetown next year.

Rutgers Prep junior Jadin Collins leads the team with 17 points per game, while Cameron Piggee (pronounced “pi-ZHAY”) chips in 15.8. And as a team, they hit from beyond the arc a whopping almost seven times a game, with Piggee having 53 triples on the season

Click below to hear previews with both head coaches:

Mike Pavlichko with Gill St. Bernard’s head coach Mergin Sina
Chris Tsakonas with Rutgers Prep head coach Matt Bloom

Gill St. Bernard’s boys looking to get back where they belong: Somerset County Tourney Championship Game

In the ten prior seasons Mergin Sina has been the Gill St. Bernard’s boys’ basketball coach – not including last year’s COVID-shortened year with the one-off Skyland Conference-wide pods – the Knights have missed just one Somerset County Tournament final, in 2020, and it was none too pleasing.

Prior to that Gill St. Bernard’s had been to nine straight, winning seven of them, including five in a row from 2015 to 2019, beating everyone from Rutgers Prep and Watchung Hills to Ridge, Bridgewater-Raritan and Somerville along the way.

So, pardon Mergin Sina if he’s been there, done that before, and is nothing but business when his top-seeded Knights (16-6) host fourth-seed Montgmery (13-10) tonight in the SCT semifinals in Gladstone, in a game that can be heard LIVE on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The game is part of a doubleheader, ans is set for 7:00, immediately following the Gill girls’ semifinal game against Hillsborough at 5. Click here to listen to Mike Pavlichko call all the action; pregame for the girls’ tilt begins at 4:45.

Back to the Gill boys, they’re the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and ranked fourth in New Jersey. They were No. 3 until they got beaten by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational two weeks ago at Roselle Catholic.

The Knights had several key players out for that game, including their head coach. Sina had been having back issues, and was at Roselle Catholic for pregame, but left before tip-off.

GSB also was without senior point guard Denver Anglin, a top national recruit on a team with a few of them, including junior Mackenzie Mgbako, only the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2023 nationally.

While Anglin was out five games, Naasir Cunningham also missed the Aquinas game. (For their part, the Trojans were also down two key players: Seton Hall commit Jaquan Harris, who’s been out since late last year and should be back soon from a knee injury, and top defender Terrell Pitts, who’s also hopeful to make it back for states.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko catch up with Gill St. Bernard’s coach Mergin Sina:

Freshman point guard gets the start for Gill St. Bernard’s in big clash with St. Thomas Aquinas

Denver Anglin is out for Gill St. Bernards.

In journalism school, they teach you not to bury the lead, so there it is.

But it still won’t take any shine off what should be a great matchup tonight between two of the Top Four schools in the state of New Jersey, and the top two teams in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, when No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s (13-5, No. 3 in the statewide rankings) faces No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (21-1, No. 4 in the statewide rankings) in the headline matchup at the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational at Roselle Catholic High School.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast the game live, with tipoff set for 7:45, immediately following the St. Joseph-Metuchen vs. Hudson Catholic game, which is scheduled for 6:15. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will have the call. Click here to listen for free.

Anglin has a wrist injury, and won’t be able to go, which hands the job to freshman Peter Mauro. He’ll still have plenty of players to get it too, including highly-ranked national recruits like junior Mackenzie Mgbako and sophomore Naasir Cunningham.

But Aquinas will be without a standout as well: Terrell Pitts isn’t available with a knee injury, expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks. He was scheduled to have an MRI yesterday.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Gill St. Bernard’s head coach Mergin Sina:

Experienced Hunterdon Central travels to play No. 1 Gill St. Bernard’s in Knights’ opener

by Mike Pavlichko

On Day Ten of the high school basketball season in New Jersey, Thursday night’s matchup between Hunterdon Central and No. 1 Gill St. Bernard’s – ranked in the top five statewide – will feature two teams that have played a sum total of one game in 2021.

The Red Devils beat South Hunterdon 64-25 in their opener last week, but have had multiple other games cancelled or postponed due to Old Man Winter.

Gill St. Bernard’s was entirely shutdown last week due to COVID protocols, and this week missed even more days because of snow.

So, it’ll almost be like a season opener when the two teams square off Thursday night on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. Air-time is 5:20 with game time at 5:30.

Click here to listen to the live broadcast.

In fact, as of Wednesday afternoon, Gill – which is ranked in the Top 5 statewide – hadn’t even distributed uniforms. That task fell to Jaren Sina, an assistant coach under his father, head coach Mergin Sina. Jaren is a former Knights’ point guard who later starred at Seton Hal and transferred to George Washington, and has been playing in Europe since.

Thursday night, he will be filling in for his father, who will miss Thursday’s game, still in COVID protocol due to contact tracing.

Click below to hear from both coaches in tomorrow night’s game:

Hunterdon Central Head Coach Mike Falco:
Gill St. Bernard’s Interim Head Coach Jaren Sina