Tag: Top Ten

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:

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:

Rutgers Prep maintains stranglehold on No. 1 ranking

In what may have been its toughest test of the regular season, Rutgers Prep passed with flying colors, and as part of a two-win week, it helped keep the Argonauts solidly atop the Central Jersey Sports Radio Week 4 Girls’ Basketball rankings.

Prep led Franklin 35-6 at halftime, en route to a 65-33 win Saturday afternoon heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. That followed an 87-27 win over Montgomery on Tuesday.

Click below to hear an audio version of the Week 4 Top Ten, including comments from Rutgers Prep’s Mary Klinger and Christina Dalce, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Akyia Baker and Joe Whalen:

At 7-0, Rutgers Prep is outscoring opponents an average of 74-30, holding five opponents to 33 points or less, and three of them under 30.

North Brunswick joined the top ten after a two-win week – beating JFK and South Plainfield – and following a No. 8 Middlesex loss to Bound Brook.

Following are the Week 4 Rankings:

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

Rutgers Prep’s 2-0 start keeps them No. 1

Rutgers Prep was widely expected to be the team to beat heading into the 2021 season.

So far, so good.

The Lady Argonauts opened the season with a 2-0 Week One, and remain the No. 1 team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls Basketball Top Ten.

Below are the full Week One rankings:

How the Top Ten fared…

Rutgers Prep’s two wins were in typical fashion: scoring a lot of points and playing good defense. They won 73-39 at North Hunterdon, and won 83-19 at Montgomery.

No. 2 Franklin won its only game of the week, a 52-41 victory at Hillsborough.

Monroe moved up to No. 3 on the strength of a 2-0 week fueled by solid defense, winning 55-32 at Piscataway and 53-18 at Spotswood. That’s an average 25 points surrendered in two games.

No. 4 Gill St. Bernards didn’t play during the week, in a COVID contact tracing pause.

St. Thomas Aquinas dropped to No. 5 after splitting a pair of road games in Week One, dropping its opener on the road to Life Center Academy (Burlington County) 58-33, but holding Piscataway to under 30, in a 69-29 win.

Bound Brook held at No. 6 after a one-game week; they won their 16th straight game against Manville, putting the pedal to the medal to cruise past the Mustangs 70-36, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

MORE: Trio of Bound Brook standouts talk No. 6 Crusaders’ big season-opening win over Manville

Mount St. Mary moved up two places to No. 7 after a 3-0 week, holding two of their opponents to scoring in the teens. They beat Warren Hills at home 57-37, then won 56-13 at Bernards and 57-18 at Delaware Valley.

No. 8 Watchung Hills won 68-52 at Bridgewater-Raritan in its only game of the Week.

North Brunswick checks in at No. 9 after a 3-0 Week One. The Lady Raiders won a pair of road games – at Woodbridge 58-35 and at JFK 52-51, sandwiched around a home win against Colonia 47-41.

No. 10 Middlesex stayed put, powered by a 2-0 week. They won their opener at home 74-44 and then won at Spotswood 72-40.

Edison also received consideration for the rankings. The Eagles are 2-0, win win at East Brunswick (44-42) and at home against Piscataway (60-59).

Ridge – previously No. 7 – dropped out. They beat Immaculata 44-41, but lost at Phillipsburg 42-30.

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.

Woodbridge, Union share top pick in preseason CJSR poll

The first preseason Top Ten in Central Jersey Sports Radio history will be marked by a split decision.

Woodbridge and Union each got a Number One vote from Mike Pavlichko – who picked the Barrons – and Dom Savino – who tabbed the Farmers.

Woodbridge – GMC Blue Division Champions in the league’s football swan song – finished 2019 with a 10-1 mark, setting a school record for victories, and making it to the North Group 1 Final, the Barrons first appearance in a championship game since they won a state title in 1997.

Union won its first state crown since 1993, taking the North 2 Group 5 title, and won the final Mountain Division Championship in the now-defunct Mid-State conference.

Following are the Preseason Rankings, with teams followed by last year’s record. First place votes are also marked.

1t. Woodbridge, 1 (10-1)
1t. Union, 1 (12-1)
3. Somerville (10-2)
4. St. Joseph-Metuchen (8-2)
5. Phillipsburg (8-3)
6. Hillside (13-0)
7. Watchung Hills (5-5)
8. Hillsborough (8-3)
9. New Brunswick (0-9)
10. Old Bridge (8-1)

ARV: Summit (6-3)