Tag: Mount St. Mary

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:

Mount St. Mary’s stellar season continues as Lions face big challenge in Skyland Blue semis

There’s Rutgers Prep. There’s Franklin. There’s Bound Brook.

Now, there’s Mount St. Mary.

The Lions might not be the surprise team in the Skyland Conference to anyone in the locker room, which they can’t use because of COVID-19, but they’ve turned more than a few heads this year.

And for a small school in its first year in the Mountain Division, to have the year they’re having – one of 13 undefeated teams left in the final week of this wacky season in New Jersey, sitting at 13-0 – is a major accomplishment.

They’re No. 17 in the NJ.com statewide rankings.

They have their sights set on something bigger, though. Throw out the record, because they just knocked out – in the first round of the Skyland Conference Tournament’s top pod, the “Blue Division” – the mighty Franklin Warriors.

Next victim? Might be second seeded Gill St. Bernard’s. Sure, they’ve got Ella Fajardo and big Caileigh Walsh, but 13-0 is 13-0.

Click below to hear Mount St. Mary Head Coach Ryan Shellhammer and senior point guard Natalie Mathern talk about the Lions, and their stellar season so far:

Rutgers Prep girls continue to cruise, and hold No. 1 spot in the rankings

One of three unbeaten teams remaining in the area, Rutgers Prep remains the Number One team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Top Ten for Week Five.

The Argonauts are 9-0 following a 2-0 week, outscoring Immaculata and Phillipsburg by a combined total of 128-40; they beat the Spartans 74-15 and the Stateliners 54-25. Prep has now held five of its nine opponents under 30 points.

Gill St. Bernard’s also is 9-0; the Knights beat Franklin in overtime last week 44-42, en route to a 3-0 week, and are in second.

Mount St. Mary rambled through a four-win week, to end the regular season 12-0, with the maximum number of games that can be played through the start of the three-game Skyland Conference Tournament. They beat Pingry and Voorhees this week, bookended by wins in both ends of a home-and-home with Somerville.

Dropping from the ranks of the undefeated was Calvary Christian of the GMC Gold, which fell to 9-1 after a 2-1 week that began Monday with a 42-28 loss to Blue Division crossover foe Metuchen.

Entering the rankings is Middlesex; the Blue Jays check in at No. 8 after beating the highest-rated GMC team, St. Thomas Aquinas, 59-50 at home on Friday.

Aquinas actually held steady in third despite a 1-2 week, having beaten 4th-ranked Franklin but losing at Saddle River Day. The Trojans did not drop, however, because they beat Franklin and a were one spot ahead of them, and two weeks ago beat No. 5 Monroe head to head.

Franklin had a 2-2 week, but their losses were to two teams ahead of them in the rankings – Aquinas and No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s. They followed those defeats with a pair of wins at Bridgewater-Raritan and Watchung Hills.

Below are the complete Week 5 rankings:

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.

Week 3 Girls’ Top Ten, led by Rutgers Prep, has a perfect week

While two teams dropped out of the Week 3 Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball rankings, the two that replaced them – and the eight that stayed – didn’t lose a single game last week.

The ten teams combined to go 23-0 in Week Three.

The group again is led by Rutgers Prep. The Lady Argonauts are 5-0 after a pair of wins – by an average 38 points – over Stuart Day and Ridge.

No. 3 Monroe (6-0) and No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas (5-1) held steady; the two will meet Tuesday night on Central Jersey Sports Radio’s High School Basketball powered by Bellamy & Son Paving, in a Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division game. Both teams are undefeated in GMC play, a combined 11-0, with the Falcons scheduled to travel to East Brunswick Monday night, while the Trojans are off.

Check back Tuesday on Central Jersey Sports Radio for a preview of the Monroe-Aquinas game with Dom Savino.

Two new teams debuted in the Top Ten this week.

Colonia (6-2) debuted at No. 9 on the strength of a three-win week, beating South Plainfield, South Brunswick and North Brunswick.

Calvary Christian (5-0) edged in at the tenth spot. Starting the season late – on Feburuary 5th – the Lady Lions have beaten Wardlaw-Hartridge, Piscataway Tech and Timothy Christian.

Below is the Week 3 Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball Top Ten:

1-0 week enough to keep Lady Argos at the top of Week 2 rankings

Mother Nature only allowed Rutgers Prep to get one game in this week.

The Lady Argonauts made the most of it, downing Phillipsburg 61-28 in Somerset Saturday afternoon, keeping them undefeated at 3-0, and at the top of the Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball rankings.

There were few changes again in week two, with few games being played due to snow wiping Monday and Tuesday games off the slate. Six undefeated teams are sprinkled throughout the rankings, including Franklin, Monroe, Gill St. Bernard’s, and Mount St. Mary, which is an area best 5-0.

Edison pulled into the rankings with a 4-1 record, despite a 1-1 week, while Watchung Hills dropped out after falling to 1-2.

The full Week 2 rankings are below:

Rutgers Prep’s 2-0 start keeps them No. 1

Rutgers Prep was widely expected to be the team to beat heading into the 2021 season.

So far, so good.

The Lady Argonauts opened the season with a 2-0 Week One, and remain the No. 1 team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls Basketball Top Ten.

Below are the full Week One rankings:

How the Top Ten fared…

Rutgers Prep’s two wins were in typical fashion: scoring a lot of points and playing good defense. They won 73-39 at North Hunterdon, and won 83-19 at Montgomery.

No. 2 Franklin won its only game of the week, a 52-41 victory at Hillsborough.

Monroe moved up to No. 3 on the strength of a 2-0 week fueled by solid defense, winning 55-32 at Piscataway and 53-18 at Spotswood. That’s an average 25 points surrendered in two games.

No. 4 Gill St. Bernards didn’t play during the week, in a COVID contact tracing pause.

St. Thomas Aquinas dropped to No. 5 after splitting a pair of road games in Week One, dropping its opener on the road to Life Center Academy (Burlington County) 58-33, but holding Piscataway to under 30, in a 69-29 win.

Bound Brook held at No. 6 after a one-game week; they won their 16th straight game against Manville, putting the pedal to the medal to cruise past the Mustangs 70-36, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

MORE: Trio of Bound Brook standouts talk No. 6 Crusaders’ big season-opening win over Manville

Mount St. Mary moved up two places to No. 7 after a 3-0 week, holding two of their opponents to scoring in the teens. They beat Warren Hills at home 57-37, then won 56-13 at Bernards and 57-18 at Delaware Valley.

No. 8 Watchung Hills won 68-52 at Bridgewater-Raritan in its only game of the Week.

North Brunswick checks in at No. 9 after a 3-0 Week One. The Lady Raiders won a pair of road games – at Woodbridge 58-35 and at JFK 52-51, sandwiched around a home win against Colonia 47-41.

No. 10 Middlesex stayed put, powered by a 2-0 week. They won their opener at home 74-44 and then won at Spotswood 72-40.

Edison also received consideration for the rankings. The Eagles are 2-0, win win at East Brunswick (44-42) and at home against Piscataway (60-59).

Ridge – previously No. 7 – dropped out. They beat Immaculata 44-41, but lost at Phillipsburg 42-30.

Rutgers Prep is team to beat in first-ever CJSR Top Ten

The inaugural Central Jersey Sports Radio girls’ basketball rankings find Rutgers Prep at the top of the list. Mary Coyle-Klinger’s squad has a ton of returning talent, including Villanova commit Christina Dalce.

Below are the complete preseason rankings, followed by last year’s record and postseason accomplishments:

  1. Rutgers Prep (25-5, SCT champions, Non-Public South B runner-up)
  2. Franklin (24-5, North 2-Group 4 champions)
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas (25-5, GMC Tournament champions)
  4. Gill St. Bernard’s (15-11)
  5. Monroe (23-5, GMC Tournament runner-up)
  6. Bound Brook (26-3, Central-Group 1 champion)
  7. Ridge (22-8, North 2-Group 4 runner-up)
  8. Watchung Hills (22-6, SCT runner-up)
  9. Mount St. Mary (21-7)
  10. Middlesex (24-3, Central-Group 1 runner-up)

Also receiving consideration: Somerville (20-8)