February 26, 2014 at 10:12 PM
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - It sure wasn't easy, and it wasn't decided until the last minute, but the matchup everybody wanted and waited for all season to decide the kings of the court in Middlesex County will happen on Thursday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
The Bears of East Brunswick High School withstood an initial punch to the chops from the Bombers of Sayreville, then after running out to a large lead, survived a tremendous comeback in the second half, and advanced to the Championship game with a 63-55 victory over a gritty and tough Sayreville squad Tuesday night at South Brunswick High School. The Bears will face the Falcons of St. Joe's, who simply outclassed Colonia High School, 73-49, in the nightcap, in a game that wasn't even as close as the final score indicated.
Amir Bell, as he has been all season long, was the key to the Bears' victory. The Bomber backcourt seemingly had no answer for Bell in key stretches of the game, and when things got dicey late in the game, Bell simply took over and regained control, leading the Bears to the victory with 24 points.
Sayreville literally jumped East Brunswick at the opening tip, hitting two three pointers, and running out to a quick 8-0 lead. But it appears that the quick Bomber lead really got the Bears attention, and if there was any doubt about the Bears looking ahead, the quick start by the Bombers took care of that. After a timeout, Coach Motuesky's squad, ran off a 16-0 streak to jump ahead 16-8, and controlled the remainder of the first half, heading to the lockers with a solid 35-24 lead. An early 5-2 spurt at the start of the third quarter increased the lead to 40-26, and many in the near sellout crowd at South Brunswick High School, were expecting the game to stay firmly in the Bears control from that point on. However Sayreville staged a stirring and sudden comeback, going on a 11-2 run to close out the third quarter, and the Bears looked up to see their lead carved to 42-37 as the third quarter horn sounded.
The shrinking lead disappeared altogether early in the fourth quarter as Sayreville continued the onslaught finally tying the game at 47 and then scoring on two consecutive possessions to take a 51-47 lead, and leaving the Bears looking very tentative on multiple possessions. Of course, when that happens, the Bears have the answer that they have had all season long, and once again, they turned to their Princeton bound all-everything play maker Bell, who drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to 51-50, and then next trip down the Bears regained the lead 52-51. From there, Bell, with help from solid play down the stretch from Carl Taylor and Owen Summerer, was able to take control, and lead the Bears to win by their final margin.
For Sayreville, it is on to the State tournament having their long 19 game winning streak halted, with the promise of what might have been in this game, as they certainly fought valiantly to get back into this game in the second half.
For the Bears, the goal all season was to get back to the RAC, and attempt to deny the Falcons their fifth consecutive GMC title. Thursday, they get their chance. Tipoff is at 8:00 P.M.