Tag: St. Thomas Aquinas

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:

The goal was: “Get hardware.” They did, and Watchung Hills is the CJSR boys’ basketball 2021 Team of the Year

There were many good boys’ high school basketball teams in the GMC and Skyland Conferences in this COVID-shortened season, but when you beat three of them – including two that you lost two a total of three times this season – en route to winning your league’s top pod trophy, that has to count for something.

For us, that counts for making Watchung Hills the No. 1 team in the final Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten of the year, and thus the 2021 Boys’ Basketball Team of the Year.

The Warriors finished the year 12-3, their losses coming to Hunterdon Central twice, and once to Gill St. Bernard’s, at the time the No. 1 team in our rankings.

Watchung Hills beat both of those teams in the first two rounds of the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Blue Division pod, then knocked off then No. 5 Rutgers Prep in the finals on the road, on a game-winning baseline bucket by Tyler Bokatch in the final few seconds, holding off one last chance by the Argonauts, who had to go the length of the floor in just under 1.5 seconds.

LISTEN: An audio look back at Watchung Hills boys’ basketball, 2021 CJSR Team of the Year, with Coach Justin Salton, Trevor Bokach, Elijah Lewis

Second in the final rankings was Colonia. The Patriots – in a four-team GMC pod – took down the No. 3 and No. 2 teams in the rankings, respectively: St. Joseph of Metuchen and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Below are the final rankings, including postseason tournament superlatives:

Colonia gets crowned as Patriots tame Trojans to win top GMC boys’ pod

Second-seed Colonia used an 11-0 run at the start of the the second quarter to pull ahead of top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas nearly for good, en route to winning the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament top boys’ grouping.

They beat the Trojans 80-64 Friday night in North Edison, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving, to win the Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod.

Senior guard Ruben Reyes scored a game-high and matched a career-high set earlier this year against Passaic with 25 points for Colonia (11-4), including 17 in the second half, and a 7-for-7 effort from the foul line.

Three other Patriots scored in double-figures, as senior do-it-all guard Jordan Derkack poured in 18, junior guard Saivon Pressley added 11, and Malik Kabia fouled out with ten.

Aquinas (9-5) was led by Tristian Jeffries, the senior who came back from an ankle injury Wednesday against South Brunswick to score 19 points. He had 20 Friday night in a losing cause.

With the defeat, St. Thomas Aquinas – which swept the GMC Tournament titles last season – was swept itself: by Colonia on the boys’ side and Monroe on the girls, while playing on their home floor.

Click below to listen to postgame reaction from Colonia’s win in the Towns/Williams pod final:

Colonia senior guard Ruben Reyes
Colonia head coach Jose Rodriguez

Monroe avenges regular season loss to Aquinas to win GMC Girls’ Somogyi Family Pod championship

There it was, hanging out there: one loss, to the two-time defending GMC Tournament Champions.

Aquinas also beat them in last year’s GMCT final.

Oh, and don’t forget that the Monroe girls’ basketball team, which prides itself on its defense, gave up the most points it had all season in that game, in a 49-41 loss.

Don’t worry, they didn’t forget it either.

While third-seeded Monroe didn’t ever have a lead in the first half, they used a 12-1 early second-half run and a 23-7 third quarter to power past and hold off second-seed St. Thomas Aquinas, 46-40, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. The win gave the Falcons (13-1) the Somogyi Family Pod Trophy, given to the winner of the GMC’s top four-team girls’ pod.

St. Thomas Aquinas (9-8) had the game’s leading scorer in 5-4 freshman Amarilis Shubick. She’s the second-leading scorer on the team, but was the only Trojan in double-figures, scoring 16, nearly six over her average. Shubick had four treys, including two in the second half that helped Aquinas’ effort to get back into it.

Senior co-captain Akyia Baker was held to just seven points, all in the second half.

For Monroe, senior forward Rosie Regan led the way with 14 points, eight of which came after intermission.

Click below to hear postgame comments from Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman and senior forward Rosie Regan:

Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman
Monroe senior forward Rosie Regan

Colonia boys will have to avenge losses to Aquinas to win GMC’s top pod

Though both play in the GMC White Division, St. Thomas Aquinas and Colonia only met once this season, a victim of the COVID-shortened scheduled.

But for the second year in a row, the Greater Middlesex Conferene’s top championship will go through North Edison.

Last year, Colonia bowed out of the GMC Tournament in the quarterfinals, via a 53-43 defeat.

This year, the two met at Colonia with the Patriots dropping a 75-63 decision.

Tonight, top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas (9-4) and 2nd-seed Colonia (10-4) will meet off Tingley Lane for the championship in the Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The game will be joined in progress immediately following the Skyland Conference Tournament Girls Blue Division title game between Rutgers Prep and Gill St. Bernard’s.

Click below to hear Colonia head coach Jose Rodriguez talk about the Patriots and tonight’s matchup:

Aquinas boys’ tough out-of-conference slate paying dividends as it looks to win another title

It may not be the traditional GMC Tournament, but the Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod title game is the top title game in the league this year.

It’s the top pod, and the teams in it are the top teams.

Just like the rest of St. Thomas Aquinas’ schedule.

They’ve played – and lost to – the likes of Trenton Catholic, Montclair-Immaculate, and Patrick School, and beat Hudson Catholic – in double overtime.

More recently, they beat North Brunswick this week in regular season game – handily. That’s the same Raider team that knocked of St. Joeseph-Metuchen.

And they’ve beaten South Brunswick, ranked in the statewide Top 20 earlier this season.

The challenging schedule has paid off.

Tonight, top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas (9-4) and 2nd seed Colonia (10-4) square off at 7 pm for the Towns/Williams Pod title. Central Jersey Sports Radio will bring you the play-by-play, joining in progress immediately following the Skyland Conference Tournament Blue Division title game between top-seed Rutgers Prep (11-0) and Gill St. Bernard’s (10-1).

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Aquinas head coach Bob Turco about tonight’s game:

Aquinas-Monroe girls lead off CJSR triple-header as Trojans and Falcons rematch for the GMC’s Somogyi Family Pod Championship

The Monroe girls’ basketball team won its first seven games of the season, and has won five straight since a 49-41 loss at St. Thomas Aquinas on February 16th.

The Trojans have gone 3-3 in that timespan.

Don’t pay any attention to that.

Even though Middlesex earned the top seed in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament’s Somogyi Family Pod by knocking off Aquinas on the night before the playoffs were seeded – they’re out due to COVID – the two teams in the final are the two most people anticipated might be there as far back as the last time they met: in the finals of last year’s more traditional, pre-COVID GMC Tournament.

The Trojans won that game 64-61, and this game might just be as close.

They square off in the Somogyi pod title game this afternoon at 4, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. Air time is 3:45; click here to listen.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s coverage of the county tournaments will continue at 6 pm with the top Skyland Conference Tournament pod’s final, the Blue Division title game, featuring top-seed Rutgers Prep (11-0) and 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (12-1). After the game, we’ll join the 7 pm GMC Boys’ Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod final in progress, featuring top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas and (9-4) and 2nd-seed Colonia (10-4).

Third-seed Monroe (12-1) is led by senior Nina Branchizio’s 14.2 points per game, and has played solid defense, holding opponents to fewer than 30 points in seven of their 13 games; two teams have scored in the teens.

The defense for 2nd-seed Aquinas (9-4) has not been as constricting, allowing an average of 46 points per game, but they’ve also played a tougher schedule with more non-conference opponents. But they can also put up points. The 49 they scored the first time they played Monroe was the most the Falcons had allowed all season.

Senior guard Akyia Baker is the team’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game.

Click below to hear both coaches talk about the matchup:

Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman
St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Joe Whalen

Rivera makes most of Senior Night as No. 2 Aquinas rolls past Raiders

Senior swing Joshua Rivera – who holds multiple D1 offers – continued to step up in the absence of two starters Monday night, pouring in 23 points to help No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas beat North Brunswick 83-58 on the final night of the regular season, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Rivera scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half for Aquinas (8-4, 5-0 GMC White), which earlier in the day received the top overall seed in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s postseason pods, even if the league isn’t revealing its overall seeds.

North Brunswick dropped to 6-6, 3-3 in the GMC White with the loss. The Raiders were paced by senior center Donovan Crawford’s 17 points, while Jabri Fitzpatrick – fresh off a season high 29 points in an upset of then-No. 2 St. Joseph of Metuchen Saturday – chipped in 15.

Three other players scored in double figures for Aquinas. Kyree Henry and Adam Silas each scored 17, including three treys each. Jalen Jones added 14.

St. Thomas Aquinas – the top seed in the “Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod” – will open postseason play at home Wednesday night at 7 against fourth-seed South Brunswick (10-2).

Click below to listen to Monday night’s game broadcast between No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas and North Brunswick:

No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas proves it’s No. 1 in the GMC; postgame reaction from win over North Brunswick

St. Thomas Aquinas let there be no doubt that it’s the overall team in the GMC, hours after being awarded the overall top seed – even though the league isn’t calling it that – in the Greater Middlesex Conference postseason pods.

It was between the Trojans and St. Joseph-Metuchen coming into this past weekend, but Aquinas separated itself with a win over state-ranked Hudson Catholic – which had lost to St. Joe’s days earlier – while the Falcons lost to North Brunswick.

Monday night, St. Thomas Aquinas put the exclamation point on it, by beating the Raiders, but good.

On his Senior Night, 6-7 swing D1 prospect Joshua Rivera scored 23 points – 17 after intermission – to send No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas past North Brunswick 83-58 in a GMC White Division Game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Rivera also added three dunks, including one on an alley-oop.

The win puts Aquinas at 8-4 overall, 5-0 in GMC play, with all those game coming in their division.

And they did it without two key starters. Jaquan Harris ended his season last week due to a bout with tendinitis in his left knee, while Tristian Jeffries was out with an ankle injury suffered in a win last week against St. John Vianney.

Three other players scored in double-figures for the Trojans. Senior guard Kyree Henry scored 17, including a trio of treys, as did junior point guard Adam Silas. Senior forward Jalen Jones had 14.

St. Thomas Aquinas now moves on to the top-tier four-team pod in the GMC postseason, and as the top-seed in the “Karl-Anthony Towns Jay Williams Pod” will play 4th-seed South Brunswick Wednesday night at 7 pm. The other side of the bracket includes 3rd-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen at 2nd-seed Colonia.

The Trojans-Vikings game will be part of a girls’-boys’ doubleheader in North Edison Wednesday night, as the Aquinas girls – the 2nd-seed in the top-tier “Somogyi Family Pod” – will host 3rd-seed Monroe at 4 pm.

Click below to hear Dom Savino’s postgame talk with Rivera, and Aquinas head coach Bob Turco:

Senior swing Joshua Rivera
Head Coach Dave Turco

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: