Tag: state tournament

Girls’ NJSIAA state tournament brackets announceded, 38 CJSR-area squads qualify

A total of 38 girls; basketball teams from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area – the GMC and Somerset County – have qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament, which begins a week from today on Monday, February 20th.

No area teams received top seed in any of the sections, which begin play with first round games at higher seeds in Groups 1 and 3. On Tuesday, February 21st, Group 2 and 4 begin play. All non-public sections begin play on Wednesday, February 22nd. There is no Tournament of Champions this year, so the state tournament will conclude with four public group champions and two non-public champions.

Following are all the first-round games in each section involving CJSR-area teams, with those squads in bold. Times are determined by the higher seed, the host school. Brackets are official at noon tomorrow.

#16 North Brunswick at #1 Hightstown
#9 Marlboro at #8 Old Bridge
#12 Princeton at #5 Jackson Memorial
#13 West Windsor-Plainsboro North at #4 East Brunswick
#14 Northern Burlington at #3 Monroe
#11 Middletown South at #6 Howell
#10 Trenton at #7 Long Branch
#15 Freehold Twp. at #2 South Brunswick

#16 Delaware Valley at #1 New Providence
#9 Delran at #8 Roselle
#12 Hillside at #5 Voorhees
#13 Point Pleasant Boro at #4 Rumson-Fair Haven
#14 Monmouth at #3 Holdmdel
#11 Bound Brook at #6 Spotswood
#10 South River at #7 Metuchen
#15 Wall at #2 Manasquan

#16 East Brunswick Magnet at #1 South River
#9 Point Pleasant Boro at #8 Spotswood
#12 Roselle Park at #5 Rumson-Fair Haven
#13 Holmdel at #4 Bound Brook
#14 Johnson at #3 Raritan
#11 Bordentown at #6 Delaware Valley
#10 Middlesex at #7 Roselle
#15 Monmouth at #2 Manasquan

#9 Manville at #8 South Hunterdon, winner at #1 Shore (bye)
#12 Somerset Tech at #5 Point Pleasant BEach
#13 Keyport at #4 Perth Amboy Magnet
#14 Henry Hudson at #3 Dunellen
#11 Woodbridge Magnet at #6 Highland Park
#0 Keansburg at #7 New Egypt
#15 Florence at #2 Middlesex

#16 Newark East Side at #1 Bayonne
#9 Woodbridge at #8 Hillsborough
#12 Union at #5 Edison
#13 Phillipsburg at #4 Westfield
#14 Linden at #3 Irvington
#11 Franklin at #6 Watchung Hills
#10 Ridge at #7 Scotch Plains-Fanwood
#15 Hunterdon Central at #2 Elizabeth

#16 Rahway at #1 Randolph
#9 Governor Livingston at #8 North Plainfield
#12 Nutley at #5 Colonia
#13 North Hunterdon at #4 Fort Lee
#14 Belleville at #3 Millburn
#11 Mendham at #6 West Morris
#10 Cranford at #7 Warren Hills
#15 Orange at #2 Chatham

#16 Science Park at #1 Secaucus
#9 Hackettstown at #8 Rutherford
#12 Newark Collegiate at #5 Verona
b#13 Bernards at #4 Dayton
#14 Caldwell at #3 Newark Central
#11 Ridgefield Park at #6 Hanover Park
#10 Lyndhurst at #7 Becton
#15 Parsippany at #2 Madison

#9 Pingry at #8 Our Lady of Mercy, winner at #1 St. John Vianney (bye)
#12 Union Catholic at #5 St. Thomas Aquinas
#13 Donovan Catholic at #4 Red Bank Catholic
#14 Princeton Day at #3 Trinity Hall
#11 Immaculatat at #6 Camden Catholic
#10 Notre Dame at #7 Mount St. Mary, winner at #2 Paul VI (bye)

#9 Villa Walsh at #8 Eastern Christian, winner at #1 Saddle River Day (bye)
The remainder of games are in the second round:
#4 Montclair-Immaculatae at #5 Gill St. Bernard’s
#6 Roselle Catholic at #3 Lodi Immaculate
#7 Wardlaw-Hartridge at #2 Morris Catholic

#9 Ranney at #8 Gloucester Catholic, winner at #1 Wildwood Catholic (bye)
#12 St. Joseph-Hammonton at #5 Holy Spirit
#13 Doane Academy at #4 Holy Cross Prep
#14 Moorestown Friends at #3 Rutgers Prep
#11 Timothy Christian at #6 Trenton Catholic
#10 Calvary Christian (Old Bridge) at #7 Bishop Eustace, winner at #2 St. Rose

NJSIAA announces boys’ state tournament brackets, four CJSR-area teams earn top seeds

A total of 36 boys’ basketball teams from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area – the GMC and Somerset County – have qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament, with four of them – Ridge, South Plainfield, South River and St. Thomas Aquinas – earning top seeds in their respective sections.

State tournament play begins on Monday, February 20th, with first round sectional games at higher seeds in Groups 1 and 3, while Group 2 and 4 begin the following day. All non-public sections begin play on Wednesday, February 22nd. There is no Tournament of Champions this year, so the state tournament will conclude with four public group champions and two non-public champions.

Following are all the first-round games in each section involving CJSR-area teams, with those squads in bold. Times are determined by the higher seed, the host school.

#16 Sayreville at #1 Trenton
#9 Montgomery at #8 West Windsor-Plainsboro South
#12 Manalapan at #5 Middletown South
#13 East Brunswick at #4 Jackson Memorial
#14 Princeton at #3 North Brunswick
#11 Old Bridge at #6 South Brunswick
#10 Hightstown at #7 Marlboro
#15 Howell at #2 Freehold Twp.

#16 Freehold Boro at #1 Ewing
#9 Hopewell Valley at #8 Ocean Twp.
#12 Lawrence at #5 Colts Neck
#13 Burlington Twp. at #4 Brick Memorial
#14 Somerville at #3 Hamilton West
#11 Allentown at #6 Robbinsville
#10 Carteret at #7 Matawan
#15 Red Bank Regional at #2 Nottingham

#16 East Brunswick Magnet at #1 South River
#9 Point Pleasant Boro at #8 Spotswood
#12 Roselle Park at #5 Rumson-Fair Haven
#13 Holmdel at #4 Bound Brook
#14 Johnson at #3 Raritan
#11 Bordentown at #6 Delaware Valley
#10 Middlesex at #7 Roselle
#15 Monmouth at #2 Manasquan

#16 STEMCivics at #1 Eagle Academy
#9 South Hunterdona at #8 Keansburg
#12 Brearley at #5 Highland Park
#13 Asbury Park at #4 Keyport
#14 Somerset Tech at #3 Point Pleasant Beach
#11 South Amboy at #6 Manville
#10 Henry Hudson at #7 Florence
#15 Dunellen at #2 Shore

#16 Woodbridge at #1 Ridge
#9 Bayonne at #8 NEwark East Side
#12 Watchung Hills at #5 Westfield
#13 Scotch Plains-Fanwood at #4 Elizabeth
#14 JP Stveens at #3 Hillsborough
#11 Phillipsburg at #6 Columbia
#10 Irvington at #7 Franklin
#15 Piscataway at #2 Linden

#16 Voorhees at #1 South Plainfield
#9 Fort Lee at #8 Summit
#12 Cliffside Park at #5 Chatham
#13 North Hunterdon at #4 Colonia
#14 Randolph at #3 Menham
#11 Millburn at #6 Snyder
#10 Orange at #7 Payne Tech
#15 Warren Hills at #2 West Morris

#16 Becton at #1 Caldwell
#9 Lyndhurst at #8 Science Park
#12 Verona at #5 McNair
#13 Dayton at #4 Newark Collegiate
#14 West Side at #3 Rutherford
#11 Bernards at #6 Hackettstown
#10 Hanover Park at #7 New Providence
#15 Newark Central at #2 Madison

#9 Notre Dame at #8 Red Bank Catholic, winner at #1 Camden Catholic (bye)
#12 St. John Vianney at #5 Union Catholic
#13 Donovan Catholic at #4 Paul VI
#11 Pingry at #6 St. Joseph-Metuchen, winner at #3 Immaculata (bye)
#10 CBA at #7 Rutgers Prep, winner at #2 St. Augustine (bye)

#9 Eastern Christian at #8 Timothy Christian, winner at #1 St. Thomas Aquinas (bye)
#12 Morristown-Beard at #5 Morris Catholic
#13 Koinonia at #4 Roselle Catholic
#11 Pioneer Academy at #6 Montclair-Immaculate, winner at #3 St. Mary (Rutherford)
#10 Hawthorne Christian at #7 Saddle River Day, winner at #2 Gill St. Bernard’s (bye)

#9 Wildwood Catholic at #8 Holy Cross Prep, winner at #1 St. Rose of Belmar (bye)
#12 Doane Academy at #5 Calvary Christian
#13 Moorestown Friends at #4 St. Joseph-Hammonton
#11 Princeton Day at #6 Gloucester Catholic, winner at #3 Ranney (bye)
#10 Trenton Catholic at #7 Holy Spirit, winner at #2 Bishop Eustace (bye)

A look at girls’ basketball power points as we hurtle toward the NJSIAA cutoff

With the state tournament cutoff date just about two weeks away – Saturday, February 11th – a handful of teams in two sections are battling it out for top-seeds in the state tournament. We’ve got a section-by-section look below of where every team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area – the GMC and Somerset County – stands heading into play on Monday, January 30th:

Central Jersey Group 4

This is one of the sections where the top-seed could be up for grabs, depending on the strength of schedule the next few weeks for South Brunswick and Monroe. While the first place team – Hightstown (16-2, 493 points) appears comfortably ahead – one has to remember that the top 16 games count toward power points. That means teams that have won 16 games, as Hightstown has, have little room to increase their total. But teams like the Vikings (13-5, 400) and Falcons (10-6, 390) have a lot of room to make up points. South Brunswick, for example, could pick up three more wins and make up significant ground. Will it be enough? We’ll see. Teams often add games late if they need them, so it’s probably too early to call at this point.

Elsewhere in the section, Old Bridge (11-7, 356) sits in sixth-place, and is a good bet to finish in the top eight, earning a first-round home game, but it’s not a sure thing for the Knights yet. Likewise for East Brunswick (8-9, 309), which is in ninth, but just nine points out of the top eight. North Brunswick is in 14th with a 4-13 record and 221 points, and Montgomery (2-16, 192) sits in 17th.


Central Jersey Group 3

Of the four area teams in this section, half are solidly in. Somerville (9-8, 329) is in fifth, a long way from top team Ewing (17-2, 574). South Plainfield (9-9, 267) sits in 8th. Neither team is likely a lock for the top eight at this point.

Similarly, JFK (5-14, 217, 13th) and Carteret (7-12, 208, 15th) are on the right side of the bubble, but may need some wins to really sew things up. Three teams behind them are within 50 points, not an insurmountable obstacle if they can put a few good wins together these last two weeks.

Central Jersey Group 2

Four teams from the CJSR-area should make the field here, where Manasquan (15-4, 481) is the top team right now, with a narrow lead over New Providence (14-3, 479).

Spotswood (15-4, 406) is tied with Holmdel (13-6) for fourth, with Metuchen (13-6, 372) behind them. Then South River (9-10) and Bound Brook (7-8) are tied with Voorhees (9-7) for ninth, all at 308 points, and just three ahead of Delran (9-6).


Central Jersey Group 1

All eight area teams are on the right side of things here, with Middlesex (13-4, 284) just 45 points behind section leader Shore (16-2, 429). That’s not an impossible hill to climb for the Blue Jays, who have a huge matchup with North Plainfield Tuesday at 5:30, which can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

As an example of how much a win can do when you haven’t yet hit the 16-win plateau, a win over the Canucks would be worth 45 points in their 18th game. With 17 in the books now, their lowest score of 6 points comes off, but one more win would knock off their next lowest score, a 7-point game (a loss to Woodbridge). That’s a net gain of 38 points and gets them closer. Knocking a loss off the schedule allows for a bigger gain than Shore, which already has 16 wins, and would only be knocking off a lesser-quality win from their power point total.

In any event, Dunellen (13-3, 329) is having a fine year, and checks in fourth, just 21 points behind Point Pleasant Beach (15-2, 350). Behind the Lady Destroyers are Perth Amboy Magnet (12-2, 314) and Highland Park (10-7, 297).

Further down the list, outside the top eight, is Woodbridge Magnet (6-9, 201) in 10th and Manville (5-10, 191) checking in at No. 11, unlikely to move up much more than that.

In 14th and 15th, but still likely to be in the field of 16, are Somerset Tech (3-10, 130) and South Amboy (1-13, 122).


North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4

Here’s another section loaded with teams from the CJSR coverage area. Bayonne (17-3, 534) is No. 1, with Elizabeth (19-0, 509) not far behind. With 17 wins already, Edison (17-2, 489) will be hard-pressed to make up that kind of ground, same for Watchung Hills (15-4, 485), which is only one win below the 16-victory threshold.

Right around that top eight bubble are three more teams: Woodbridge (10-8, 360), Ridge (10-8, 349) and Hillsborough (10-7, 342) are within 18 points of each other, but the last of them – the Raiders – are 34 points ahead of the next team back, 8-8 Union.

Toward the bottom, you’ve got Franklin (7-9, 257) – which is having an off year – and JP Stevens (7-12, 240) in 14th and 15th, respectively. They’re probably a good bet for the playoffs, especially with another win or two, and Perth Amboy (5-11, 227) could make a run with a win or two in the next few weeks.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3

Just two area teams are in this section, and both are locks to be in the playoffs, but a little more murky as to whether they’ll be in the top eight. Colonia (10-9, 381) and North Plainfied (13-4, 362) are fifth and sixth, respectively. But there are four teams behind the Canucks within 20 points, including Governor Livingston (10-8, 350), Warren Hills (11-7, 348), Cranford (9-9, 347) and West Morris (11-4, 342).

Randolph (15-1, 536) is comfortably in the lead in this section.


North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2

There’s just one area team even in this section: Bernards (12-5, 321) sits in 13th place, pretty much in the postseason, and still potentially a chance to reach the top eight. In fact, everyone is bunched up in this section, and anyone could see a lot of movement. To wit: the Mountaineers are only 34 points out of 6th place.

The top team at the moment is Secaucus (17-1, 541).

Non-Public North B

Of course, the top of the non-public sections are loaded with talent, and Gill St. Bernard’s, as a result, sits in fifth at 12-4, with 352 points. They’re just ten points behind Montclair-Immaculate (14-3, 361) in fourth and Morris Catholic (15-3, 371) in third, but likely won’t catch Lodi Immaculate (14-3, 493) in second or top team Saddle River Day (13-5, 536).

Mother Seton of the GMC checks in at 11, with a 3-10 record and 131 points.

Non-Public South B

Defending group champion Rutgers Prep sits in fourth in the section, at 13-3 with 354 points. They’re a long way from top-teams Wildwood Catholic (16-4, 529) in first and St. Rose (16-3, 525) in second, but no matter.

Calvary Christian (8-9, 239) and Timothy Christian (4-12, 187), sit in 9th and 11th, respectively.


Non-Public South A

St. John Vianney leads the pack here pretty well, at 20-0 with 585 points. They’re the team to beat in New Jersey, but with no more Tournament of Champions, they’ll have to settle for the team to beat in Non-Public Group A.

Mount St. Mary (13-6, 474) is in fourth, but could make up some ground on third-place red Bank Catholic (18-1, 516), but probably not Trinity Hall (17-2, 535). St. Thomas Aquinas (15-4, 468) is right behind Mount.

Then, there’s Pingry (11-7, 378) and Immaculata (9-9, 279) checking in at No. 11, tied with Union Catholic (7-9).

Playoff Chase: A closer look at GMC and Somerset County boys’ basketball power points as the cutoff nears

The cutoff for the NJSIAA tournament isn’t for another two weeks – February 11th – but if things ended today, around 35 teams from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area would be in the boys’ basketball tournament.

The NJSIAA uses traditional power points, and takes each teams best 16 power point games before the cutoff, using opponents’ first 16 games overall for residuals. That means teams that can reach 16 wins before the cutoff are in much better shape than those who reach only 14, since two of their power point values are likely to be losses, and lower scores.

The top 16 teams in each section make the playoffs, which is typically about 70-75% of all public teams. In the non-publics, all teams make the playoffs, with some of the higher seeds earning byes.

Here’s a section-by-section look at where area teams stand heading into Saturday play in January 28th:

Central Jersey Group 4

Trenton holds the top spot by 54 points over North Brunswick, a pretty comfortable lead at this point of the season. But the Raiders lead third-place Jackson Memorial by only 10 points and Freehold Township by a more comfortable 27. Atop four finish is a pretty good bet for the Raiders, considering the best 16 power point values count. With 15 wins, a loss here or there likely won’t knock them from the top four.

South Brunswick is at No. 8 (11-5, 323 points) and narrowly ahead of Manalapan (10-7, 315). Teams with room to get to 16 wins can make big jumps, so nothing is really set in stone for the Vikings; they could just as easily end up in the top half of the bracket as the bottom half. Montgmery is in tenth (6-12, 304), with Old Bridge two spots behind (7-9, 261). Both are a good bet to qualify at this point.

Sayreville would be considered a bubble team, along with East Brunswick. The Bombers are 4-15 with 204 points, while the Bears are 5-12 with 200 points.

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Central Jersey Group 3

There are only a handful of teams here; Somerville and Carteret should be the only teams to make it, with JFK way out of the running.

Ewing leads the pack by 57 points over Brick Memorial, which still can pick up two more wins before the cutoff.

The Pioneers check in at No. 12 (6-10, 244) while the Ramblers are at 14 (6-11, 234), and both could make significant jumps with a couple of wins over the next two weeks.


Central Jersey Group 2

South River has been the Cinderella of the GMC this year, widely considered to be worthy of the No. 3 seed in the GMC Tournament out of the Blue Division, by virtue of a December 26th win at St. Joseph-Metuchen. The Rams sit behind Manasquan, which leads this section – but not by much. ‘Squan is 16-3 with 515 points, while the Rams are 17-1 with 511 points.

That’s a slim margin, and with both at the 16-win plateau, it’s going to come down to who can pick up more quality wins over the next two weeks. Surely, both may look to add a tough opponent to their schedule between now and then.

Bound Brook is at No. 4 with a 14-1 record and 431 points, just 20 ahead of Delaware Valley, and 31 ahead of Roselle, but the Crusaders have room for two more wins to boost their number, while the others can only fit one more win to get to 16.

Spotswood (13-5, 355) is fairly comfortable in the top eight, but may not be a shoo-in yet.

Middlesex checks in at 12 (12-6, 291), with East Brunswick Magnet (9-8), Metuchen (8-10) and Roselle Park (5-11) all tied at 207 points. The Blue Jays are likely in, but the Tigers and Bulldogs are squarely on the bubble.


Central Jersey Group 1

Keyport leads the section at 12-3, with 324 points, but they haven’t locked up anything yet. Even fourth place Manville (10-5, 300) is just 24 points behind them, and there’s plenty of opportunity for the top four teams to win games between now and February 11th, just as there is for the teams outside the top four, three of which – Shore (11-2, 297), Highland Park (11-3, 275) and Florence (9-7, 267) – are withing striking distance and 30 points of them.

South Amboy holds the No. 8 position at 9-6 with 220 points, with Somerset Tech at 12 (8-6, 166), Dunellen in 14th (3-13, 136) and Perth Amboy Magnet (0-12, 87) at 17 and on the bubble.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4

This will be a fun race to watch down the stretch, with Skyland Conference Raritan Division-mates Ridge and Hillsborough holding the top two spots. The Red Devils are 12-4 with 475 points, and have two wins this season over the Raiders, who are 11-5, with 428 points. There’s plenty of room for these teams to gain major points over the next two weeks, since every win up to 16 likely knocks a loss off the ledger.

Franklin – having a nice year at 10-8 – sits in eighth, and has 364 points, 23 ahead of No. 9 Elizabeth (9-6). Again, there’s a lot of room to move here with plenty of wins still available and two weeks to play before the cutoff.

Down at No. 12 is Watchung Hills (9-7, 318), then seven teams are bunched up at 14 through 20, five of them from the CJSR coverage area, and all of them separated by just 24 power points. That’s some big bubble!

Scotch-Plains Fanwood (10-5, 297) is at No. 14, followed by Woodbridge (9-8, 296), JP Stevens (7-10, 293), Perth Amboy (8-8, 292), Piscataway (7-12, 289), Bridgewater-Raritan (5-12, 273) and Union (8-7, 271).

Edison is a real long shot, 66 points out of the running with a 7-11 record.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3

Another good battle is brewing here between former White Division-mates in the GMC, but still rivals Colonia and South Plainfield. The Patriots are 14-4 with 479 points, 15 points ahead of the Tigers, who are 15-2. Colonia has more room to make bigger gains here. But they’re not alone. West Morris (16-2, 453) is just 11 points behind South Plainfield, but after that, Chatham (13-2) is way back with 365 points, 88 behind the Wolfpack.

After that, there’s no one from the area until you get all the way down to 18, but North Plainfield (6-8, 202) isn’t out of it yet. The Canucks need some wins, but they’re just 13 points out of a playoff spot behind Warren Hills (5-10), with Governor Livingston (6-9, 207) in between them.

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2

Caldwell is atop this section, at 14-2 with 463 power points.

The only area team here is Bernards (8-10, 283) sitting in eighth. Potentially four teams are within realistic striking distance behind them, including Science Park (10-6, 277), Hackettstown (10-4, 2776), Verona (7-10, 274) and Lyndhurst (12-5, 272).


Non-Public North B

The top team here in the standings is St. Thomas Aquinas, which is 18-1 with 521 points, but the question is can they hold on to it. Behind them are St. Mary-Rutherford (15-2, 464), Gill St. Bernard’s (12-5, 430) and then the No.1 team in the state rankings, Roselle Catholic. Despite what the rankings say, and maybe even the eye test, the Lions are just 10-4, with a lot of room to move up, but will they? That will be the thing to watch over the next two weeks. Their schedule is stacked, but even some of those opponents have a few losses. It’s surprising, but then again, maybe not really.

Timothy Christian (8-9, 282) is in eighth, but it’s not a 16-yeam bracket, with only 14 in the section, and who knows is a school like Wardlaw-Hartridge – at 0-12 – will even play in the tournament.

Non-Public South B

State-ranked St. Rose of Belmar (16-2, 482) leads the pack here, and there’s just one CJSR-area team in the section. Calvary Christian of Old Bridge – the GMC Gold Division leader by a half-game over Highland Park heading into the weekend – is sixth with a 13-2 record and 278 points.


Non-Public South A

This section is just flat-out stacked. And it’s Camden Catholic atop the pile with a 13-3 mark and 546 points, 70 ahead of St. Augustine (13-4). Then Immaculata at 12-4 with 420 points, and then Rutgers Prep (13-6, 395).

And it’s so close behind the Argonauts, too, as St. Joseph-Metuchen at 10-6 is just one point away (394) and Notre Dame in sixth is just four points behind Prep, with 391 points.

Pingry (11-5, 330) checks in here at No. 9.

Immaculata falls to Ranney, 10-1, in Non-Public B title game

In so many ways, it didn’t play out like many people thought.

There prevailing thought was their might be a lot of scoring in the Non-Public Group B title game, especially after a home run to lead off the game by Ranney pitcher A.J. Gracia. But even though Immaculata got a run back in the second when Spartans’ starter Josh Thompson came home on a wild pitch, the game was a pitchers’ duel headed into the sixth, with both starters going well, and the score still tied at one.

The thing was, both pitchers were nearing the standard 110 pitch limit. And all of a sudden Josh Thompson was in trouble, allowing a leadoff walk and a bloop single to Gracia and Brett Wehringer, then after a strikeout, and RBI infield hit by Jack Tallent to break the one-all tie. And that’s when the floodgates opened, and there was no going back.

After a groundout back to Thompson, Diego Tavarez knocked in two runs with a single to give Ranney a 4-1 lead.

Then in the sixth, Ranney got plenty of insurance, scoring six more runs in an inning that saw more walks (five) than hits (three). And the Panthers still left the bases loaded.

Final score: Ranney 10, Immaculata 1, to win the Non-Public Group B title, the Panthers’s first.

Thompson took the loss, while Gracia got the win. The loss ends Immaculata’s season at 14-13, but it was a highly successful year, as a four-game run through their playoff section – including a win over top-seed Rutgers Prep – culminated with a come-from-behind walkoff win against Gill St. Bernard’s last Friday in the North B final, 8-7, giving Immaculata its fifth sectional title in program history, which is what the season will most be remembered for.

Well, that and their turnaround from an 0-3 start, a season that didn’t see them string together more than three wins in a row until the playoffs, which they entered with a sub-.500 record, and came out on the other side with a trophy.

Click below for postgame reaction with starting pitcher Josh Thompson and head coach Kevin Cust:

Sophomore Josh Thompson
Immaculata’s Josh Thompson (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Head coach Kevin Cust

Barrons enjoying the ride, but Nunez, Lukachyk and the rest are focused on bringing home a state title for Woodbridge

Few people expected them to be here, and that’s just the way they seem to like it.

The Woodbridge Barrons have surprised many people in 2022, just not themselves. They’re 25-6, and Friday, will take on top-seed Hunterdon Central (23-4) in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title game.

Should the third-seeded Barrons win, it will be their first-ever sectional title. This team is ready to make history.

But it’s not something they think about too much.

A scrappy bunch, in the mold of their head coach, Mike Monaco, they relish the role of underdog, but play loose.

They’re aggressive, and go after it, and while they may make physical mistakes, like any other high school baseball team, they’re focused enough not to make the mental mistakes that lead to errors on the scoreboard.

You can hear Friday afternoon’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with game time set for 3:00. Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the action live from Flemington; click here to listen.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with some of the Woodbridge Barrons on the eve of their state sectional title game against the Red Devils:

Sophomore pitcher Eddy Nunes, who will start against Hunterdon Central
Senior right fielder Brett Lukachyk

All-Somerset Non-Public North B final pits Immaculata against Gill St. Bernard’s

Immaculata and Gill St. Bernard’s have more similarities than you might think.

Though one is squeezed in right along Route 22 at the northern edge of Somerville and the other is nestled up in the Somerset Hills in Gladstone, you’ll see the similarities in how their seasons have played out in 2022.

Both are withing a couple games of .500, with the Knights 15-13, and the Spartans 13-12. They met in late April, with Gill winning 4-2 on the strength of a four-run top of the first, their first an only meeting in the last eleven years. Neither has lost more than three games in a row this season.

But it continues: both had to knock off two higher-seeded teams to get to Friday’s Non-Public North B final, which will be played at 1 pm at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Immaculata had to beat top-seed Rutgers Prep, a tough task in itself against the Somerset County Tournament runner-up, but they did it in such convincing fashion, 11-2 on the Argonauts’ home field with six different players knocking in runs – and none driving in more than two – in a balanced attack.

Gill had to go up to Bergen County to knock off the two-seed, St. Mary of Rutherford, 5-0 on Tuesday.

It all sets up quite the final in North B, with the winner going on to the Non-Public Group B Final Wednesday, against either top-seed Ranney Prep or second-seed Gloucester Catholic, down at Veterans Park in Hamilton, which Central Jersey Sports Radio plans to cover.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with both head coaches ahead of Friday’s Non-Public North B final

Immaculata head coach Kevin Cust
Gill St. Bernard’s head coach Dave Pasquale

11 Innings in 6 Minutes: Listen to all the highlights from Woodbridge’s N2, G4 semifinal win over Ridge

It had drama, it wasn’t always pretty, but Woodbridge is a win away from its first state sectional title in program history, after a 5-4, eleven-inning win over Ridge in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 semifinals.

Listen to all the highlights as heard exclusively on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko calling all the action:

Woodbridge stuns Ridge with Bosch’s almost-in-the-park-home run, to win in 11, gain North 2 Group 4 final

Officially, the play would go as a throwing error for missing the cutoff man on a triple, allowing the batter to score. But for all intents and purposes, it was just about an in-the-park home run.

A.J. Bosch never looked behind him. He didn’t see right fielder Luke Somelofske run past the ball as it fell just inside the foul line. Didn’t see the throw miss the cutoff man behind second base and go into the outfield. And he didn’t see the throw that came way too late to catch him after he dove head first into home plate to score the go-ahead run.

All that happened with one out in the eleventh inning, after the leadoff man, Dean Fiore, tried to bunt for a base hit and popped it foul behind the plate, where it landed in the glove of catcher George Busnach.

All of a sudden, it was 5-4 Woodbridge. But still, the Barrons and their fans could not exhale.

That’s because Ridge, with two outs, loaded the bases on an E6 and a pair of walks, before Eddie Nunez got Matt Aber to pop up to second baseman Drew Lukachyk to end an epic, marathon, wacky ballgame in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 semifinals, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Final: Woodbridge 5, Ridge 4, in 11 innings, and now the Barrons have a crack at their first-ever state sectional title.

It sure wasn’t without a lot of grief for both teams.

Combined, they left 24 men on base: 13 for Ridge, 11 for Woodbridge. Combined, there were six errors in the game: four for the Red Devils, including a pickoff move that sailed wide in the first, and two for the Barrons. And it rained for most of the first few innings, even if only a very light drizzle.

And yet, Woodbridge was in control most of the way, if only because they never trailed.

They scored in the top of the first on a bloop RBI single by Drew Lukachyk, but Ridge got it right back on a two-out single by Matt Aber.

Woodbridge went ahead 3-1 in the third on an bases loaded walks by Tyler Webster and Bosch, but Ridge got an RBI single by Luke Somelofske following a one-out triple by George Busnach in the fourth, and an RBI triple by Mile Olivo in the 5th to tie it at three.

No one would score until the Barrons score in the top of the ninth, in extra innings. With two out, Brett Lukachyk walked. On a Josh Vazquez hit to second, Andrew Shawah stopped a hard hit ball in the hole, had no play to first, but saw Lukachyk going for third. His throw was wide, went to the fence, and Lukachyk came in to score on the E4.

But then Ridge would tie it in the bottom of the inning. After a leadoff single by Somelofske and a sac bunt by Andrew Shawah moved him to third, Eddie Nunez came in to pitch. After Matt Shawah struck out, Brian Leitz hit a ball to the right side that first baseman Shawn Kish – in for the injured Ty Kobylakiewicz – fielded in front of the second baseman. He threw to Nunez covering at first but he couldn’t get there in time. Somelofske, scored, tie game again – but not before two intentional walks heightened the tension and Nunez got Matt Aber to strike out to keep things going.

That’s when the eleventh inning heroics by Woodbridge kicked in, sending the Barrons to the North 2 Group 4 final, where they will try and make history Friday, visiting top-seed Hunterdon Central.

Nunez got the win in relief for Woodbridge (25-6) to improve to 9-2 on the year; Mike Olivo took the loss in relief for Ridge (24-2) to fall to 5-1.

Click below to hear live postgame reaction on the air with hero A.J. Bosch, reliever Eddie Nunez, and head coach Mike Monaco:

Woodbridge having stellar season, seeking a chance to win its first-ever sectional title

It’s hard to win 24 games in a baseball season before you even get to a state title game and do it quietly, but that’s seemingly what the Woodbridge Barrons have done.

Part of that may be because they didn’t win their division; they dropped a pair-of mid-year regular season games to White Division newcomer Metuchen, and with a chance to clinch at least a share of the division crown, dropped another pair right before the GMC seeding meeting to another White Division newcomer in Middlesex.

But make no mistake about it, Woodbridge is a solid baseball team.

The Barrons have won games by a lot, and won games by a little. They’ve had a ten-game winning streak during the year. And like Ridge, the entire lineup can hit, which can make it grueling on opposing pitchers.

They’ll need that entire lineup to come up with timely hitting against Ridge on Tuesday afternoon, when the third-seeded Barrons visit the 2nd-seeded Red Devils in the North jersey, Section 2, Group 4 semifinals.

Game time is 4 pm, and the contest can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko calling all the action. Pregame is set for 3:45; click here to listen.

And just like Ridge, head coach Mike Monaco has not decided who will start the game, though his top two pitchers – Eddie Nunez and Josh Vazquez – are both readily available.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Woodbridge head coach Mike Monaco ahead of Tuesday’s game at Ridge: