Tag: Skyland Conference

Skyland Conference coaches choose All-Division baseball honorees

The Skyland Conference baseball coaches have announced their All-Conference teams, by division, for 2022, with players being honored from every team.

Here’s a full list of First and Second Team selections, plus Honorable Mentions, for all three divisions.

DELAWARE DIVISION

First Team:

  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Evan Goldberg, Michael Fattore
  • Hunterdon Central: Chase Fischer, Mike Contiliano, Ryan Facinelli, Kyle McCoy
  • Ridge: Connor Byrne, Mike Olivo, Brian Leitz, Brendan Callanan
  • Somerville: Tyler Stone, Matty Wright
  • Watchung Hills: Lorenzo Meola, Martin Howell, Jake Memoli

Second Team:

  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Jason Cozzi, Matt Fattore
  • Hillsborough: Matthew Westcott
  • Hunterdon Central: Brandon Padre, James Scott, Nick Ferri, Logan Mason
  • Immaculata: AJ Johnson
  • Montgomery: Mark Jenkins, Adam Neufield
  • North Hunterdon: Ethan McHugh, Chris Bravaco
  • Ridge: Julian Kielb, Luke Somelofske
  • Somerville: Parker Muratore

Honorable Mention:

  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Joe Spirra
  • Hillsborough: Graham Ross
  • Immaculata: Matt Warzeniak, Josh Thompson
  • Montgomery: Trevor Hansen
  • North Hunterdon: Bobby Mazurkiwicz, Kyle Johnson, Ryan Streaker
  • Phillipsburg: Dylan Melsky
  • Ridge: Matt Aber, George Busnach
  • Somerville: Sean Noone
  • Watchung Hills: Devan Sutaria, Shreyas Sekhar, John King

VALLEY DIVISION

First Team:

  • Bernards: Matt Giunta, Aubrey Freslone
  • Franklin: Dylan Ling, Dylan Millman
  • Gill St. Bernard’s: John DiGregorio, Matt Park, Logan Mote
  • North Plainfield: Chirstian Morel
  • Rutgers Prep: Zach Fronio, Nick Pizzie, Andrew Parisi
  • Voorhees: Owen McComb, Ben Crescenzi, Will Ripke
  • Warren Hills: Cody Miller

Second Team:

  • Bernards: Austin Tondo, Derek Fuls
  • Franklin: Peyton Bonds, Ryan Piro, Warren Bell
  • Gill St. Bernard’s: Dylan Sempervive, Christian Mote, Zack Wendell
  • North Plainfield: Giovanni Gonzalez
  • Rutgers Prep: James Jackman Jr., Cody Rullo, Max Treonze
  • Voorhees: James Muller, Chris Quartuccio
  • Warren Hills: Matthew Garabed

Honorable Mention:

  • Bernards: Charlie Gonella
  • Franklin: Anthony Burroughs
  • Gill St. Bernard’s: Carter Nowack
  • North Plainfield: Davyn Ciriaco
  • Rutgers Prep: Evan Laub
  • Voorhees: Jake Knapp
  • Warren Hills: Evan Matthew

MOUNTAIN DIVISION

First Team:

  • Belvidere: Jake Beaney
  • Bound Brook: Jake Anderson, Lucas Coleman, Leo Azcona
  • Delaware Valley: John Croasdale, Anthony Saniscalchi
  • Manville: Elijah Capone
  • Pingry: Liam Royster, Nick Lorenzo, Jake Francis, Thomas Santana
  • South Hunterdon: Donald Gallagher, Jackson Kilmer, David Cooper, Nate Lawton

Second Team:

  • Belvidere: Ervin Jones
  • Bound Brook: Patrick LePoidevin, Ronny Pimentel
  • Delaware Valley: Justin Kolpan, Jack Reardon, Zachary Erling
  • Manville: Nick Bentz, James Mascola, Geoffrey Mathis
  • Pingry: Alex Payne, Kailar Ahn, Jha Nav

Honorable Mention:

  • Delaware Valley: Jaden Corbin
  • Manville: Joshua Barrios
  • Pingry: Herb Toler
  • South Hunterdon: Dillon Gallagher

One point guard out, one back, as Montgomery and Immaculata square off in Somerville tonight

Montgomery and Immaculata both have lost their starting point guards this season, and it’s a big reason why both teams are where they are right now in the 2021-22 boys’ basketball season.

The Cougars are 7-7, and graduated a ton from last year. The Spartans are 6-9, despite having much experience back.

Montgomery lost senior point guard and co-captain Ryan Curry with a high ankle sprain early on, but he’s been able to return, helping the Cougars to wins in their last three games, and five of their last seven.

Immaculata hasn’t been as lucky. The Spartans lost senior point-guard Isaiah Honis early on, too, with a broken wrist. But he won’t be back for another two weeks or so. It should come in time for the Somerset County Tournament, at the very least.

That’s no consolation Tuesday night, however, when the Spartans host the Cougars in Somerville, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Tip-off time is at 7:00, with pregame set for approximately 6:45, as Mike Pavlichko has the call. Click here to listen live, and for free.

Click below to hear a preview of tonight’s game with both head coaches:

Immaculata head coach Ryan McKeever
Montgomery head coach Kris Grundy

No. 5 Gill tops No. 6 Franklin on Baisley’s buzzer-beating layup

Defense ruled the day in the second matchup between two of Somerset County’s best girls’ basketball teams, and in the end, it was a sophomore who won it.

Brooke Baisley’s layup just before the final horn – in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – gave No. 5 Gill St. Bernard’s a 35-33 road win at No. 6 Franklin two sweep the two-game season series, a little more than two weeks after the Knights’ edged the Warriors at home up in Gladstone, 38-35.

Baisley was just a point shy of a double-double on the evening, finishing with a team-high nine points and 12 rebounds, while on the other end of the floor, Christina Midgette was held to just three points, a season low, and her lowest offensive output since January 31, 2019 – her freshman year – when she scored just two against Watchung Hills.

Click below to hear Dom Savino with the final call on Central Jersey Sports Radio:

The win gave GSB the inside track on first place in the Skyland Conference Delaware Division. Technically, Franklin remains in first by having played one extra game, and winning it; the Warriors (9-3) are 7-2 in the division, with both of those losses to Gill; their other loss was to Rutgers Prep opening night on CJSR. The Knights’ are 6-2 in the division, with losses to Watchung Hills and Hillsborough. They have two games left: Hunterdon Central at home next Monday, and a rematch at home against Watchung Hills on February 10th.

The victory was also career win No. 300 for Mark Gnapp, who had several former players on hand to watch in Franklin Thursday night.

Click below to hear postgame reaction with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Chris Tsakonas:

Gill sophomore Brooke Baisley, who hit the game-winning shot as the clock ran down
Head coach Mark Gnapp, who won his 300th career game Thursday night

Multiple area boys’ teams in serious contention for top seeds in the state tournament

There are just three full weeks of play left before the NJSIAA cutoff for the state tournament, and a number of GMC and Somerset County teams have legitimate shots at earning top seeds in their respective sections come tournament time.

One of the big changes this year, mainly due to the potential for COVID stoppages and cancellations, which could shrink teams’ schedules, is that only the best 13 games before the cutoff will count toward power points, which are used to seed teams. Typically, the first 16 before the cutoff count.

As of now, 35 teams from the GMC and Somerset County are in playoff contention, and three teams – Watchung Hills (North 2, Group 4), South Plainfield (North 2, Group 3) and South River (Central Group 2) – sit in first place.

This week, we have a section-by-section look as to where area teams may be headed, based on the NJSIAA’s power points, as published on NJ.com as of Sunday, January 23rd:

Non-Public North B: Gill St. Bernard’s, highly regarded in the statewide rankings with much D-1 talent, sits in second, 13 points behind 12-0 Morris Catholic (271), one of just six unbeaten teams left in the state. This is a loaded section; Roselle Catholic sits in fourth. Timothy Christian is 5th, while Wardlaw-Hartridge (5-3) checks in 9th.

Non-Public South A: The top two teams here are Red Bank Catholic (390) and Christian Brothers (358), but St. Thomas Aquinas is right there at 343, undefeated at 14-0. Behind them is Rutgers Prep (11-0) in third at 296. Then, after St. John Vianney, St. Joseph-Metuchen is 6th with 265 points, ten behind the Lancers. Immaculata check in 12th, and Pingry is next-to-last in 13th among 14 teams.

Central Jersey Group 4: No doubt, Monroe’s win over St. Joseph-Metuchen helped the Falcons, who at 12-2 are in second place, just ten points behind 11-2 Marlboro; they lead 335-325. South Brunswick is in fourth, but with 210. Old Bridge sits in 12th, with North Brunswick, Sayreville and East Brunswick 14 through 16. Montgomery is just five points behind the 4-5 Bears, on the outside of the bubble at 4-7.

Central Jersey Group 3: With few are teams in this section, only Somerville, which is in 15th place (2-9), is in the picture.

Central Jersey Group 2: This is an intriguing one, as Bound Brook – winners of 24 straight and 10-0 this year, moving up from Group 1 – actually sits behind first-place South River, which is 11-1 and has 259 points, compared to the Crusaders’ 238. Of course, Brook also has only played ten games and has one less win. The top seed should be well within reach for Bound Brook. Spotswood checks in 9th with Middlesex right behind them. Metcuhen sits in 16th.

Central Jersey Group 1: Burlington City sits in first with 173 points, with the highest GMC team Perth Amboy Tech (8-1) in 4th with 133. Highland Park, Manville, Somerset Tech, South Amboy and Dunellen all are in the bottom half of the top 16 at the moment.

North 2, Group 4: Watchung Hills (9-3) is tied for first with Westfield (10-4), both having 260 points. Ridge has played one less game and has 225, sitting in third. Right behind them are JP Stevens, Franklin, Edison, and Bridgewater-Raritan in seventh. Perth Amboy (4-8) sits in 15th, while Piscataway (4-5) is nine points out, behind 5-7 Phillipsburg.

North 2, Group 3: South Plainfield (11-3) leads the pack here with 263 points, but 14 games played – remember, just the best 13 count this year – while Colonia sits in second at 9-2 with 226 points. But, they’ve only played eleven and are likely to pass the Tigers.

NJSIAA gets lenient on maximum games per week for basketball to alleviate COVID, winter weather stresses

The NJSIAA is giving high school basketball teams across the state a lot more leeway when it comes to how many games they’re allowed to play per week, in a move expected to allow teams more scheduling flexibility, in particular helping those who’ve suffered from a COVID shutdown.

Typically, high school basketball teams in New Jersey are allowed only one four-game week per season, and cannot play on three consecutive days. A week starts on Monday.

NJSIAA Assistant Director for Basketball Al Stumpf confirmed to Central Jersey Sports Radio this week that Association’s Executive Executive Committee approved a measure at it’s January 12th meeting that will allow an additional four weeks of four games each.

That means a team could play as many as five weeks of four games each, provided they meet one other criterion: The rule prohibiting games on three consecutive days remains in place.

In the COVID-truncated 2021 high school basketball season, the NJSIAA allowed one addtional four-game week, for a total of two. This year, five are being allowed, in a move likely to be welcomed by many head coaches and athletic directors whose teams are trying to make up games lost due to COVID.

Of the 20 teams in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball Top Tens to start the New Year, eleven – more than half of them – did not play over the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Some, like Franklin’s boys and girls, had a more than two-week layoff between Opening Night on December 17th and their next games.

Novielli’s trey with :12 left helps Franklin to signature win over No. 9 Watchung Hills in dramatic fashion

With too many ties and lead changes to count, Franklin and 9th-ranked Watchung Hills waged an epic battle Tuesday night. Neither team led by more than six points at any point of the game, and even that came early when Franklin got out to an 8-2 lead.

It was a low-scoring affair, but the kind of slugfest that could only truly be enjoyed by someone without a horse in that race. Otherwise, it was an Alka-Seltzer type of night.

In the second-half, big three-balls swung momentum like the biggest of pendulums. There was Brian Zhang of Watchung Hills, the junior who scored all of his 11 points after the break, with three triples. Junior Jake Novielli had two treys, until Franklin got the ball with under 40-seconds to play, tied up at 41 all.

Running some time down, Novielli found himself open in the right coffin corner, and buried his third triple of the half, second of the final quarter. Franklin 44, Hills 51.

Then, Zhang found himself with a chance to send it to OT with just a few seconds left from the left corner. But his shot was off, and the rebound not far enough to give Watchung another chance at a three-ball. Ball game over.

Click below to listen to the final sequence, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio:

The win snapped a five-game win streak for Watchung Hills (8-2), but will have them fired up when they take on first-place and No. 3 Gill St. Bernard’s Thursday night. For Franklin, the win was a major resume builder come seeding time for the Somerset County Tournament, putting them at 3-2 in league play, 5-4 overall.

Click below for postgame reaction on the air with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino:

Franklin junior guard Jake Noviello, who had the game-winning three-pointer
Franklin head coach Tony Mento

No. 9 Watchung Hills carries winning streak into Skyland battle with Franklin

It’s been a brilliant two weeks of basketball for Watchung Hills. 5 games, 5 wins, all by double digits.

Most recently, the Warriors were road warriors, claiming victories at Hunterdon Central, Hillsborough, and Jefferson.

Now, No. 9 Watchung Hills (8-1) returns home looking to extend its perfect 3-0 Skyland Delaware Division record against Franklin (4-4) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Click here to listen to the broadcast with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action; pregame coverage starts at 5:45.

Note: Today’s game was moved from its original 5:30 start to a 6 pm tip-off, it was announced late Tuesday morning.

The Warriors are led by guard Elijah Lewis, who’s averaging 23.8 points-per-game – tops in Somerset County – and 7.6 rebounds-per-game. The senior went off for 25 points and eight rebounds last time out, in Saturday’s 58-44 win over Jefferson.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino talk with Watchung Hills head coach Justin Salton to preview the Warriors’ meeting with Franklin:

Bound Brook will honor undefeated ’21 team when Somerville comes to town

Bound Brook’s only known undefeated team of the modern era – last year’s Crusader squad that won 14 games and a Skyland Conference pod championship – will be honored before tipoff of Tuesday night’s game against Somerville.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast the game live, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Tip-off is at 7:00; coverage begins approximately 6:45 on cjsportsradio.com; Click here to listen live.

The Crusaders (1-0) are No. 8 in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Top Ten, while Somerville (0-2) has dropped its first two games by a possession each.

Bound Brook has high hopes – despite a move by the NJSIAA from Group 1 up to Group 2 – for this season, with a good number of returnees. Not only are Jordan Summers, Quadir Harrell and Donovan Nwenyi back, returning almost 40 points a game, but this year also marks the return of Bryce Cobb, who missed last year after tearing his ACL during football season. Now a senior, Cobb averaged 6.8 pts and 6.9 rebounds a game his sophomore year.

Somerville, meanwhile, does not return much from last year’s 6-5 team. The Pioneers’ top returning scorer is senior guard Matt Lauber, who averaged 11.9 points a game last year and had 29 treys. But sixth-year head coach Chris Nevolo is high on junior forward Christian Domniguez, who was a COVID opt-out for much of last season, only playing in two games. Nevolo calls him “our best athlete.”

Click below to listen to the two head coaches preview the matchup:

Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo
Somerville head coach Chris Nevolo

Opening Night a rousing success for most ranked teams in GMC, Skyland

Of the nine teams in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball preseason Top Ten that played on opening night, seven came out victorious.

With worries about COVID and Omicron as it continues to spread like wildfire in New Jersey, for many teams it just felt good to get back out on the floor to begin a “normal” season, something that last happened in December 2019.

On the boys’ side, No. 2 Rutgers Prep nearly doubled up Franklin at home 88-45, showing they’ve got some scoring firepower. Jordan Atkins and Jadin Collins each had 16 to lead the way. Across town, top-ranked Argonaut girls beat Franklin on the road 60-34, behind 20 points and 9 rebounds from junior Katie Ledden, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Also on the boys’ side, third-ranked St. Joseph – with a number of players in COVID protocol – beat Monroe 60-49, led by Ethan Simmon’s 19 points. Fourth-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas exploded for a 94-16 win at JFK, as the Trojans emptied the bench; Terrell Pitts led with 20 for Aquinas. Sixth-ranked Montgomery got by Hillsborough at home 69-45, as Ryan Curry scored 19, one of four Cougars in double-figures. No. 7 Bound Brook won its 15th straight going back to the start of last year – when they went 14-0 – and beat Wardlaw-Hartridge 57-42. Ninth-ranked Watchung Hills won a low-scoring game at Ridge 40-33 – led by Elijah Lewis’ 13 points – and 10th-ranked East Brunswick picked up a 64-48 win at Old Bridge.

The only losses by Top Ten boys’ teams included No. 8 South Brunswick getting upset at JP Stevens, 44-40, and 5th-ranked Gill St. Bernards losing to Whitney Young of Illinois 70-58 in the City of Palms Classic at Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers, despite a 22-point, 7-rebound night from Mackenzie Mgbako. The Knights next play Sunday against the loser of tonight’s game between Oak Hill Academy of Virginia and Isidore Newman School of Louisiana.

For the girls, the only Top Ten loss besides Franklin was in a battle of highly-ranked teams, as No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas beat second-ranked Monroe 83-45 in North Edison, a result that will squarely put the target on the back of the Trojans as the team to beat in the GMC. They jumped on the Falcons early, leading 24-7 after one quarter, and got 20 points from top-scorer Jessica Cooper, one of four players in double-figures.

Winners – besides Rutgers Prep – included 3rd-ranked Gill St. Bernard’s, which got by Immaculata 48-33 on leading scorer Jennah Johnson’s 15-point evening. No. 5 Middlesex got 17 points from Jessica Devine to win at Dunellen, 50-12. No. 6 Bound Brook rolled past Delaware Valley, 58-31, as new contributors Takara Pugh and Sophia Larson led the way with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

7th-ranked Mount St. Mary edged out Voorhees 49-30, breaking away in a 22-10 third quarter, after only leading 17-13 at halftime, while tenth-ranked North Brunswick cruised past Sayreville on the road 51-19, getting 20 points from Niyell McCargo

Colonia starts season atop the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Preseason Rankings

The winners of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s top postseason pod – the Colonia Patriots – will start the 2021-22 high school basketball season as No. 1 in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

With an 11-4 mark a year ago, they avenged their only GMC loss of the 2021 COVID-abbreviated campaign with a win over St. Thomas Aquinas in the finals of the Towns/Williams Pod, on the Trojans’ home floor.

Rutgers Prep is the top Somerset County team, and checks in at No. 2.

Click below for a full audio top ten, with notes and commentary on each team: