Tag: Neysa Aguilar

Rutgers Prep’s Blakes earns back-to-back CJSR Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year Honors

It’s rare for a sophomore to be named a Player of the Year in high school basketball, and that’s just what Mikayla Blakes of Rutgers Prep did last year. Which, of course, begs the question, “What do you do for an encore?”

Answer: You do it again.

Blakes – now a junior – had another fantastic season for Rutgers Prep, the clear leader of the ballclub. As she went, Prep went. And they “went” to the tune of a 25-5 record, third straight Somerset County Tournament title, second straight Non-Public South B sectional title, and a clean sweep of the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten’s No. 1 ranking all year, making it 28 straight weeks over three seasons.

Individually, Blakes scored 660 points on the season, by far and away not only the team’s leader, averaging 22 per game, but also the top-scorer in the CJSR area. She also led the Lady Argonauts in threes (75), free throws made (131, shooting a cool 85-percent from the line), assists (99) and steals (97).

Rutgers Prep junior Mikayla Blakes runs the point against Wildwood Catholic in the Non-Public South B Final at Seneca High School in Medford Lakes on March 1, 2023. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Not only did she score in double figures every game – now on a 34-game streak including her last four postseason games last year – but she scored 20 or more in 21 out of 30 games this season, and topped 30 three times, with a career-high 35 at against Gill St. Bernard’s on January fifth.

But many seem to gloss over Blakes’ defensive prowess. She always seems to be in a passing lane, or forcing a bad pass into the hands of one of her teammates. That’s what makes her an all-around player, and the 2023 Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year.

We also have some honorable mentions. Scroll down to read more.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino talk with our Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year, Rutgers Prep junior guard Mikayla Blakes:


Jessica Cooper, St. Thomas Aquinas: You could pick from a lot of great players on the Trojans – including Leah Crosby, who’s won GMCT MVP two years running as a sophomore – but the senior forward gets the nod here. She not only led the team in scoring this year at 12.6 points per game, and rebounding at ten per game, but was a model of consistency, nearly a double-double every night out. In fact, she had 18 in 29 games this season, and a stretch of nine that spanned from mid-January into early February. Cooper will be attending Albany next year on scholarship.

St. Thomas Aquinas forward Jessica Cooper takes a baseline jumper against East Brunswick in the 2022 GMC Tournament semis. (Photo: Dom Savino)

Neysa Aguilar, Middlesex: All due respect to the rest of her Blue Jay teammates, Middlesex doesn’t reach the Central Jersey Group 1 title game without Aguilar. The senior brought it every night, scoring 577 points on the year – an average of 19.9 a game – both good for second best in the GMC. She was also their top rebounder at 7.3 a game while racking up 95 steals, impressive enough except that sophomore Jessica Devine – who’ll take the wheel next year – had a whopping 172.

Middlesex senior Neysa Aguilar gets set to step into a three – one of a career-best seven she hit en route to a career-high 30 point night on Senior Night against North Plainfield on January 31, 2023. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Taylor Derkack, Colonia: The Patriots didn’t have the team year they wanted in 2022-23, after a program year a season ago, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort by the junior who wears No. 4 on her back, but finished No. 1 in Middlesex County in scoring, with 603 points, an average of 21.5 per game. She blew past the 1,000-point mark this year, and should pass graduating dynamic duo teammate Matti Chiera’s all-time school mark of 1,514 next year. She’s just 179 points behind, and 665 away from 2,000. After scoring 603 this year, that could be within reach.

Colonia’s Taylor Derkack holds the ball in the GMC Tournament Girls’ Championship Game against St. Thomas Aquinas on February 18, 2023 at Monroe Township High School. The Patriots won their opening round state playoff game Monday night. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Casey Miller, Bound Brook: Miller capped a great career with the Crusaders with a 520-point season, to put here in the 1,000-point club, finishing her four-year varsity career with 1,126 points. Even as the Crusaders slumped to an 11-14 campaign, she was out there night after night putting up big numbers, trying to will her team to a win. She averaged 20.8 points a game – second only to Prep’s Blakes – scoring in double figures in all but two games, but topping 30 four times, scoring a career-high 34 in a late January road win against a ranked North Plainfield club.

Casey Miller of Bound Brook (Source: Assistant Coach Lacey Meyer @laceymeyer on Twitter)

Senior Neysa Aguilar leads Middlesex into CJ1 title tilt down the Shore, against Shore

Being a senior athlete in any sport is a unique thing, especially when it comes to tournament time.

They say play every game like it’s your last? For high schoolers, it very well could be, once that last state tournament comes around.

Neysa Aguilar of Middlesex has always been a standout, but she has upped her game to the next level in the 2023 NJSIAA Tournament.

And that will need to continue Tuesday night when second-seed Middlesex (20-8) travels to take on top-seed Shore Regional (22-6) in the Central Jersey Group 1 final, with a 6:30 tip-off time in West Long Branch.

Not only is she averaging 21.2 points per game, but she’s coming off a 32-point, 12-rebound effort in the semifinals against Dunellen, peaking – perhaps – at the right time.

Head coach Kevin Harper will need all of that and more against a Blue Devils team that is the defending champion, having made a run all the way to the Group 1 title game last year. They’re led by senior Rylee Drahos (18.5 ppg) and sophomore Reese Fiore (12.9 ppg).

Middlesex, meanwhile, is making its first appearance in a title game since 2020, Aguilar’s freshman season. That year, they had made their third straight trip to a sectional final, only to fall to small-school powerhouse and neighboring Bound Brook all three times.

Disappointment to be sure for Aguilar. The next season, the COVID-shortened year of 2021, Middlesex made it into the Somogyi Family Pod, the GMC’s top postseason pod, but their run was over before it began, waylaid by a COVID outbreak around the team.

And so, here’s Aguilar, with that one last shot. Make it a good one.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with senior Neysa Aguilar about her time at Middlesex, the influence of her coach, and the Central Jersey Group 1 title game against Shore Regional:

It was a career night on Senior Night for Neysa Aguilar of Middlesex; hear all seven of her makes from downtown!

En route to helping her Middlesex girls’ basketball team to second place in the GMC White Division, Neysa Aguilar added a few more memories on Senior Night.

She scored a career-high 34 points in a 60-56 win for the No. 10 Blue Jays over No. 8 North Plainfield Tuesday night, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, in which her team needed just about every single one of those points.

She also hit seven times from beyond the arc, shattering her previous best of three in a game.

Click below to hear a montage of all seven three-pointers!

No. 10 Middlesex gets career high from Aguilar on Senior Night to sweep No. 8 North Plainfield, take second in GMC White

Senior Night is always a special evening, but it got the exclamation point Tuesday from Neysa Aguilar, who scored a career-high 34 points – including a career-best seven triples – to power her Middlesex Blue Jays past North Plainfield 60-56, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The win will allow Middlesex (14-4) to finish second in the GMC White behind Edison, at 12-3 currently in the division. North Plainfield (13-5) drops to 11-4 in the White.

It was a back-ad-forth affair all night in a game that saw nine lead changes, and which was tied at 46 with under six minutes to go in the game.

Devine – all-GMC a year ago and averaging 19.9 points a game coming in – had a balanced game: nine points in the first quarter on a trio of treys, ten in the second quarter, eight in the third, and seven in the final eight minutes.

North Plainfield gave it all they had, literally and figuratively, as Aguilar wasn’t the only player on the floor having a career night. Nyla Felton had 30 for the Canucks surpassing her previous best of 22. And she had 17 of those in the second half of a game where neither team led by more than six all evening.


The problem was, North Plainfield got in foul trouble in the second half, with senior Yaz Zafar and freshman Layla Gutierrez both picking up their fourth fouls in the third quarter, while junior Avani Jones reached that mark in the fourth.

Follow Sportsplex at Metuchen on Instagram for the latest on open gym sessions on their courts and turf!

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Senior Neysa Aguilar
Head Coach Kevin Harper

Middlesex girls win 43rd straight GMC Blue Division game, a 62-45 home win over South River

Spotswood almost ended the Middlesex girls’ basketball team’s long Blue Division winning streak the other night.

If only close counted outside of horseshoes and hand grenades.

The Blue Jays got contributions from all eight players head coach Kevin Harper put in the game, and – led by junior point guard Neysa Aguilar’s 18 points – beat South River Friday night at home 62-45, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Middlesex jumped out to a 6-0 lead early, and never trailed, with the Rams trying to play catch up the rest of the way. Despite senior Tiffany Fischer notching 16 points for South River – right about at her 16.2 points per game season average – the supporting cast couldn’t complement her enough, while the Rams turned the ball over too much.

Middlesex improved to 11-2 on the season, 9-0 in the Blue Division. They haven’t lost a division game since falling to Spotswood, 46-41 on January 31, 2018. South River dropped to 9-5, 8-2 in the Blue.

Click below to hear postgame interviews after the Middlesex win:

Junior point guard Neysa Aguilar
Middlesex head coach Kevin Harper