Tag: St. Joseph-Metuchen

Big night for Monroe’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, knocking off Aquinas and Joe’s in historic Thursday night twin bill

Two parochial powerhouses took separate bus rides all the way down to the deepest recess of Middlesex County, and both headed back up North with losses.

And it was a happy night for Monroe fans.

In a doubleheader at Monroe High School, the unranked girls’ team – which started the season second in the Bellamy & Son Paving rankings after winning the GMC’s top pod last year – knocked off current No. 2 and previously-unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas, 55-41.

The Falcons (6-2) never trailed after jumping out to an early lead, and avenged a season-opening loss to the Trojans by 38 points. That loss, and another to East Brunswick after a COVID stoppage, had the Falcons starting 0-2, and dropping out of the Bellamy rankings. Aquinas fell to 7-1.

Click below to hear head coach Leigh Vogtman talk about Thursday night’s win over St. Thomas Aquinas:

Not to be outdone, the 8th-ranked Monroe boys were next up against No. 4 St. Joe’s of Metuchen, and pulled out a buzzer-beater of a win, as Eli Okocha – one of a set of triplets on the Monroe team, along with Jon and Josh – corralled a long inbound from underneath the basket with 2.4 seconds left, and chucked it up from 30-feet with 1.2 to play. It went in, giving the purple Falcons a 52-49 win, their first-ever victory over their namesakes from Metuchen.

Monroe improved to 7-2, while St. Joe’s fell to 11-3.

Like the girls, the win also avenged a season-opening loss for Monroe, which fell 60-49 to St. Joe’s in Metuchen on December 17th.

Click below to hear head coach Jeff Warner talk about Thursday night’s win over St. Joseph:

St. Thomas Aquinas leads Top 5 shakeup, moves into top spot in Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten

After winning a highly-anticipated matchup over No. 1 Colonia last Tuesday 64-52, St. Thomas Aquinas moves up two spots to take the top position in the Week 4 Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball rankings.

Aquinas is one of just eight undefeated teams remaining in the state, three of which are in the Bellamy Top Ten, including Rutgers Prep (8-0), which holds at No. 2.

Gill St. Bernard’s – despite playing only two games so far this year against Skyland Conference competition – had a 3-1 week, beating Franklin and Hunterdon Central in its first two league games of the year by a combined 84 points, and is ranked third, up two spots. St. Joseph of Metuchen (6-2) holds in fourth. Colonia (6-2) fell to fifth.

The bottom five teams stayed the same, with none of them having lost in the past week.

In fact, the entire Bellamy Top Ten only suffered two losses last week: Colonia to then-No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas, and Gill St. Bernards to Simeon Career (IL), 70-61.

Below are the full Week 4 rankings:

INSTANT REPLAY: No. 4 St. Joseph-Metuchen 72, East Brunswick 45

Seniors Amari Campbell (20 points) and Ethan Simmon (17) keyed big third and fourth quarters to power St. Joseph-Metuchen past East Brunswick 72-14 in a Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division game on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the action from East Brunswick High School:

No. 4 St. Joe’s-Metuchen uses strong third quarter, balanced scoring, to with 19th straight over East Brunswick

The game was played in the same gym – albeit with newer bleachers, brighter lighting and a fresh paint job – but the result wasn’t the same at all.

January 2013 was the last time East Brunswick beat St. Joseph of Metuchen in basketball, 19 meetings ago, coming into Thursday night’s GMC Red Division clash.

Now, it’s 20 meetings ago, as St. Joe’s won its 19th in a row over the Bears, 72-45 Thursday night in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Senior guard Amari Campbell, who had missed the early season and returned Tuesday against Old Bridge only to get in foul trouble and not tally in the scoring column, pumped in a near-career-high 20 – with 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter – while fellow senior guard Ethan Simmon added 17.

St. Joseph improves to 5-2, 4-0 in divisional play, while the Bears drop to 5-3, 3-2 in the GMC Red.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino:

Senior guard Ethan Simmon
Head coach Jan Cocozziello

Simmon, Ingram lead St. Joe’s into GMC Red clash with East Brunswick

If you’re compiling a list of GMC breakout candidates, Ethan Simmon has scored his way to the top of the list. The St. Joe’s-Metuchen guard leads the team with 24.3 points-per-game, punctuated by a career-high 36 points in a blowout win over Old Bridge Tuesday.

It’s the latest triumph in a hot start for the Falcons (4-2), who stand at No. 4 in this week’s Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Rankings.

St. Joe’s now prepares for a battle of the last two GMC Red teams without a division loss, traveling to East Brunswick (3-1) Thursday at 7 p.m. for a game that 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 6:45.

Simmon represents one-half of Joe’s two-headed backcourt monster, complemented by the emergence of point guard Josh Ingram. The junior is averaging a career-best 15.5 ppg, including a season-high 18 points Tuesday.

Central Jersey Sports Radio‚Äôs Dom Savino talked with St. Joe’s head coach Jan Cocozziello to preview the Falcons’ meeting with EB:

East Brunswick looks to get over the hump against rival St. Joe’s when No. 4 Falcons come to town

In the mid-2010s, East Brunswick and St. Joseph-Metuchen engaged in some epic battles. It all came to a head in the 2012-13 season, when one team, with a heady point guard, beat the other, with a future top pick in the NBA Draft, twice in the regular season, but lost to them in the county finals in double overtime.

The days of Amir Bell and Karl Towns (before he really used the Anthony in his name) are long gone, but the rivalry and hard-fought games remain: The fourth-Falcons (4-2) have beaten East Brunswick (3-2) by a sum total of 11 points in their last three matchups, bookended by a pair of three point wins.

The two will square off Thursday night in East Brunswick on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action. Tip-off is at 7; coverage begins at 6:45 with the pregame show. Click here to listen live.

Despite losing Devin Kennedy’s 13.4 points per game, and not returning much in that department, ninth-year head coach Mark Motusesky says his team has a bit more athleticism and perimeter shooting than a year ago.

Click below to hear Mark Motusesky talk with Mike Pavlichko about the season so far, and the matchup with rival St. Joe’s:

Little movement in Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Top Ten as six schools sit out Christmas break

Whether due to contact tracing, positive tests, or opponents cancelling for the same reasons, a half dozen boys’ basketball teams – more than half the ranked schools – didn’t play over the Christmas break, leaving very little movement in the Week 2 Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

Colonia remains Number One, despite not playing at all, and the same could be said for Rutgers Prep, which held in second.

The Patriots resume play Tuesday at North Brunswick, in a game that will be broadcast on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Argonauts don’t resume until Thursday, when they host North Hunterdon.

St. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, went 3-0 at the Boardwalk Classic down in Atlantic City, beating St. Joseph by the Sea (NY), Shawnee and Archbishop Carroll (PA).

The only movement saw Monroe and Montgomery flip-flop; the Falcons went 2-0 with wins over Woodbridge and Immaculata in their own holiday tournament, while the Cougars were idle. The two will play each other Tuesday at Montgomery.

Gill St. Bernards, Bound Brook, and East Brunswick also did not play in the past week.

Below are the full Week 2 rankings:

Colonia holds top spot in Week Two Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten

Off to a 2-0 start, the Colonia Patriots have held on to their No. 1 ranking in the Bellamy & Son Paving Week 1 Boys’ Basketball Top Ten.

The only movement in the Top Five this week was a flip-flop of No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas, taking over the No. 3 spot from St. Joseph-Metuchen after beating the Falcons head-to-head.

Click below for an audio top ten with Mike Pavlichko, complete with notes on each team:

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:

Hilliard steps down at St. Joseph-Metuchen

After five seasons leading the St. Joseph high school football team, Rich Hilliard is leaving Metuchen.

Hilliard – the third head coach in the Falcons’ short history – handed in his resignation this week, following a 3-6 season, with one COVID-related forfeit loss.

With a mark of 30-17 in his tenure at St. Joe’s, their best season under his tutelage was a 9-1 campaign in 2017, his first season with the Falcons.

He coached several D1 prospects, including big offensive lineman John Olmstead, who graduated in 2018 and went to Notre Dame; he later transferred to Lafayette. He also coaches Jon Sot’s senior year in 2017; he went on to Harvard and became the school’s best-ever punter.

Hilliard told Central Jersey Sports Radio Tuesday he’s not looking for another head coaching job, but he’d consider it if the right one comes along. He said he had been thinking about retiring for some time, and – for now – plans to get out his golf clubs and hit the links, and spend more time with his family.

Hilliard replaced Casey Ransone in 2017, who was 26-13 in four seasons, following Bob Molarz, who began the program, which played its first varsity season against an independent schedule in 2011, joining the Greater Middlesex Conference the next year.