Tag: South Brunswick

Gill closes regular season right where it started, No. 1 in rankings

Despite a loss to out-of-area Hunterdon Central, Gill St. Bernard’s held on to it’s No. 1 position in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

The Knights finished the week 2-1, and the regular season with a 6-3 mark overall, with all losses out of area. Gill also lost to Bergen Catholic and the Patrick School.

They’ll have a bye in the first round of the Skyland Conference Tournament top pod, the “Blue Division,” and on Thursday will face the winner of 4th-seed Hunterdon Central and 5-seed Watchung Hills, with that game being played Tuesday night.

The only change in the Top Ten this week was a flip-flop of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph-Metuchen, a reverse of what they did a week ago.

Aquinas (7-4) is back to No. 2 after beating state-ranked Hudson Catholic in double overtime Saturday, while the Falcons (9-3) lost at unranked North Brunswick.

The Trojans appear to have locked in the top overall seed in the GMC Tournament’s top pod. That postseason will be seeded Monday morning.

Below is the complete Week 5 Top Ten:

Boys’ regular season wrap-up: Bound Brook heads into Skyland Tourney as lone unbeaten area team, and other notes of interest

What a year the Bound Brook Crusaders have had.

Lucky enough to have no COVID pauses, Anthony Melesurgo’s squad has persevered, and reaped the rewards of their sacrifice to stay safe and stay on the court.

Bound Brook has finished the regular season with an 11-0 mark, entering the postseason as the only undefeated team out of the 54 calling either the GMC or Skyland Conference home.

All but one of Bound Brook’s games came against league competition, with their lone out of conference game coming against a Linden team whose 1-11 record is deceptive, by virtue of playing in the Union County Conference’s stacked Watchung Division – which includes Roselle Catholic, Elizabeth and Union – as well as Paterson Eastside and Montgomery.

Bound Brook won all four of its games this week: Monday at Linden 68-61, Tuesday at North Plainfield 56-41, Thursday at home against Bernards 73-61 (on Central Jersey Sports Radio), and Saturday afternoon against Voorhees 78-55.

LISTEN: Harrell, McLarty, Melesurgo talk No. 9 Bound Brook’s gut-check win over Bernards

The Crusaders are the top-seed in the “Gold Division” bracket of the Skyland Conference Tournament, which will include three ‘pods” this year, and for the first time ever put teams in Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties in the same field.

Continue reading “Boys’ regular season wrap-up: Bound Brook heads into Skyland Tourney as lone unbeaten area team, and other notes of interest”

Gill still leads pack, Joe’s and Colonia climb in Week 4 Top Ten

A 2-0 week helped Gill St. Bernard’s hold the top spot in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Week 4 rankings. The Knights are 4-2 following a 90-71 win over then-No. 4 Watchung Hills on Tuesday and 71-70 over a tough Elizabeth squad on Saturday.

Big gainers in Week 4 included St. Joseph of Metuchen, which leap-frogged St. Thomas Aquinas into second, and Colonia. The Patriots had a 3-0 week to improve to 8-2, though all three wins were out of conference – over Rumson-Fair Haven, Newark East Side and Passaic.

Below are the full Week 4 rankings:

Split week still enough to keep Gill at No. 1; Montgomery launches into rankings

It’s difficult to tell a teams body of work three games into a high school basketball season when they’ve only played three games.

Couple that with only one of those games coming against one of the peers they’re compared against in the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings makes it doubly difficult.

Still, despite an 11-point loss to the Patrick School Saturday afternoon, 78-67, Gill St. Bernard’s remains the Number One team in the CJSR Boys’ Top Ten.

St. Joseph of Metuchen gained on the strength of a three-win week, while Rutgers Prep dropped two spots after a two-loss week against non-conference opponents, and ahead of a second COVID-related stoppage.

But the biggest gain belonged to Montgomery, which jumped from being an unranked team to No. 7 after a three-win week that doubled their perfect record to 6-0. The Cougars have held three opponents under 40 points this season: Bordentown, Bridgewater-Raritan, and previously-ranked Ridge, which dropped out of the rankings from its No. 9 spot this week after the loss to the Cougars.

Look out for a special story on Montgomery’s hot start tomorrow on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Below are the full Week 3 Central Jersey Sports Radio Week 3 rankings:

Gill splits a pair, but keeps top spot in Week 2 boys’ rankings

A loss to Bergen Catholic – an out-of-area team ranked No. 3 statewide – wasn’t enough to knock Gill St. Bernard’s from its perch atop the Central Jersey Sports Radio boys’ basketball rankings.

The Knights went 1-1 in their opening week of play – with Week One cancelled due to COVID protocols – beating Hunterdon Central in their opener 77-64 as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

The Knights weren’t the only Top Ten team to open the season this past week, as Rutgers Prep – also out due to COVID contact tracing – went 1-1 just like Gill, and held on to the third spot.

New this week, hear Mike Pavlichko’s audio version of the Week 2 Top Ten by clicking below:

The only two teams that moved this week were St. Joseph-Metuchen and South Brunswick, which flip-flopped the 5th and 7th positions after the Falcons – previously ranked 7th – knocked off the Vikings Saturday afternoon 69-64.

READ MORE: Cocozziello breaks down St. Joe’s win over state-ranked South Brunswick

View the full Week 2 Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Rankings below:

Vikings and Falcons to square off in first Top 10 matchup of the year on Central Jersey Sports Radio

by Mike Pavlichko

It’s a battle of two Top Ten teams Saturday afternoon in Metuchen on Central Jersey Sports Radio – powered by Bellamy & Son Paving – when No. 7 St. Joseph entertains No. 5 South Brunswick.

Air-time is at 12:45, with the game getting underway at 1:00. Click here to listen to all the live play-by-play.

The Vikings (3-0) are one of just five GMC teams (entering Friday night action) to be undefeated heading into the second win of the season, with wins over JP Stevens, Edison and New Brunswick. South Brunswick has been somewhat stingy on defense, allowing an average of just over 45 points per game.

The Falcons (1-2) have had a tougher schedule. St. Joe’s had its opener against GMC foe Monroe cancelled due to COVID, then opened last Thursday with a 101-75 loss at Roselle Catholic, which is 3-0 at the time of this writing and No. 2 in the statewide rankings. They beat Piscataway, then lost Thursday this week to St. Benedict’s.

The game is a rematch of last year’s GMC Tournament semifinals, which saw the Vikings beat St. Joe’s 88-77, ending the Falcons’ run of four straight GMC tournament titles. They’d still have to be a favorite, having won 9 of the last 11 GMC Tournament crowns, though second-year head coach Jan Cocozziello calls them an “underdog” against the Vikings Saturday.

Click below to hear from both head coaches ahead of Saturday afternoon’s highly-anticipated tom Ten matchup.

St. Joseph head coach Jan Cocozziello
South Brunswick head coach Joe Hoehman

Gill St. Bernard’s remains No. 1, but has yet to play

Despite having all three games cancelled in Week One of the high school basketball season, Gill St. Bernard’s holds on to the top spot in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

Gill was in contact tracing quarantine last week, with basketball activities paused, much like Rutgers Prep, which also remained in place, staying at No. 3.

In fact, the Top 8 all stayed the same, with only one of those teams dropping a game, as St. Joseph of Metuchen dropped a 101-75 decision in its Thursday opener at Roselle Catholic. The Falcons’ original opening game was to be Tuesday against Monroe on Central Jersey Sports Radio, but Monroe shut its program down due to COVID in the program.

Below is the full Week 1 Top Ten.

How the Top Ten fared…

Of the teams that played, No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas won its opener, rolling past JFK 90-39.

No. 4 Watchung Hills – which had a game against Gill cancelled – blew by Sinai Christian of Linden 92-46.

South Brunswick – the defending Central Jersey Group 4 champions – had a 2-0 opening week and remain in the No. 5 spot – beating JP Stevens 64-44 and winning at East Brunswick 55-53. The Vikings have won six straight overall dating back to the start of last season’s state tournament. They’ve also won eight straight regular season games going back to last year.

No. 6 Colonia is the only squad to play three games in the opening week. The Patriots won at Eastside (Paterson) 63-44, beat North Brunswick at home 66-49, and won at in-town rival Woodbridge 75-45.

No. 7 St. Joseph-Metuchen – after dropping its opener on the road – rebounded to beat Piscataway in its first home game of the season, 92-69.

Bound Brook – which checks in at No. 8 – had a two-win week, beating rival Somerville at home 64-37, and winning 61-51 at Warren Hills.

New to the Top Ten this week are Ridge (No. 9) and South Plainfield (No. 10).

The Red Devils are 2-0 after a 48-37 win at Immaculata and a 44-30 victory against Phillipsburg.

South Plainfield won a pair of road games: 55-47 at JP Stevens and 54-49 at Dunellen, which dropped out of the Top Ten (previously ranked No. 10) after a two-loss week, that also included a defeat in their opener 69-56, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

MORE: Postgame reaction as Barnes’ 29 powers Edison boys past No. 10 Dunellen

Also dropping out of the Top Ten was previously-No. 9 Somerville, which finished the opening week at 1-2. In addition to losing to Bound Brook, the Pioneers beat Voorhees 55-39, but lost to Immaculata 67-63.

Montgomery also received consideration for the rankings after a 2-0 Week One. the Cougars beat Phillipsburg at home 68-43, while winning a non-league game at Bordentown, 64-36.

Gill St. Bernard’s heads first CJSR Boys’ Basketball Top Ten

In the first Central Jersey Sports Radio preseason boys’ basketball rankings, Gill St. Bernard’s young but talented group takes the top nod.

Following are the full preseason rankings, with each team followed by last year’s record and postseason achievements:

  1. Gill St. Bernard’s (20-8, Non-Public North B runner-up)
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas (23-5, GMC Tournament champions)
  3. Rutgers Prep (27-2, SCT champions, Non-Public South B runner-up)
  4. Watchung Hills (25-5, SCT runner-up, North 2-Group 4 runner-up)
  5. South Brunswick (25-5, GMC Tournament runner-up, Central-Group 4 champions)
  6. Colonia (22-7, North 2-Group 3 finals)
  7. St. Joseph-Metuchen (19-9)
  8. Bound Brook (25-2, Central-Group 1 runner-up)
  9. Somerville (21-7)
  10. Dunellen (25-2, North 1-Group 1 runner-up)

Also receiving consideration: New Brunswick (20-8)

22 Big Central football players named to NJFCA Super 100 Team

by Mike Pavlichko

The Big Central Conference – in its first year of existence – was responsible for nearly a quarter of the players selected to New Jersey Football Coaches Association’s Super 100 Team, which is chosen annually in December.

The selections for 2020 were announced on Twitter Monday night.

Nominations are made by coaches who are members of the NJFCA, and comittees of coaches make the final selections based on NJSIAA playoff sections. For this season, with no playoffs, the NJFCS simply divided the state into quadrants based on geographical Northing numbers.

Only seniors can be named to the Super 100 Team, and those getting full scholarships to play football collegiately are automatically selected, according to NJFCA Commissioner John Jacob.

Cookie Desiderio and A.J. Pena of Somerville – Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Big Central Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively – were among the 12 players selected in the Central section.

CJSR’s Mr. Versatility Ali Lee Jr. of Woodbridge also was selected, along with teammate Jordan Harris.

Rounding out the Central section were Austin Scott (South Plainfield), Majid Howard-Baker (South Brunswick), Omar Shehabeldin (North Brunswick), Dylan McFadden (Montgomery), Kyle DeGraw (Monroe, Keyshawn Dixon (JFK), Longevity Award winner Sean Levonaitis (Hillsborough) and Zach Zebro (East Brunswick).

There were ten players selected in the North 2 section, headlined by Rutgers-bound Desmond Igbinosun of Union, along with his teammate Diante Wilson.

Others included Shawn Martin (Scotch Plains-Fanwood), Andrew Taddeo (Ridge), Matt Quetel (Phillipsburg), Chad Martini and James Coslet (Watchung Hills), Omakus Langley II (Hillside) and Bruce Myers (Bridgewater-Raritan).

Each year, the Super 100 Team is honored with a dinner in the Spring, but whether that will happen in person or virtually – due to COVID-19 protocols – has not yet been determined.

Many happy returns for Shawn Martin: Scotch Plains-Fanwood kick returner named Special Teams Player of the Year

The great program builder/re-builder Milt Theodosatos once said about kicking the ball to a great returner, “We kick the ball to him, that’s a human tragedy.”

Imagine four human tragedies in one season?

That’s what happened this year when opponents kicked the ball to Scotch Plains-Fanwood senior Shawn Martin. Not that they did it often.

The 5-11, 170-pound lightning bolt returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in 2020. He only had six returns all year.

Good job by the opponents, just not good enough.

Martin returned two kicks for touchdowns in a 42-38 loss to Cedar Grove in the Raiders’ first-ever home game under the lights at Perry Field. The returns were 95 and 92 yards.

A week later, he returned a kick 90 yards to paydirt in a 27-22 win over Linden, and he followed it up with an 82-yard kick return for a score against Princeton in a 61-20 victory over the Little Tigers.

Click below to hear Shawn Martin talk about his four kick returns for touchdowns this year, including which was his favorite:

Honorable Mentions for Special Teams Player of the Year went to senior kicker Jake Beckman of Ridge and junior kicker Jai Patel of South Brunswick.

Beckman is a three-year starter who went 12-for-16 on field goals in his career, and 89-of-102 on PATs. He kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to beat Bridgewater-Raritan in 2018.

Patel is on the radar of several Power 5 schools with another year yet to be played scholastically. He was 7-of-8 of field goals in 2020, with a long of 42 yards, and perfect on 22 PATs. He also handled kickoffs, booting 19 of 32 for touchbacks, and averaged 41 yards per punt, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, according to head coach John Viotto.