Runcie Brothers Lead Columbia to Victory Over Bridgewater-Raritan

Michael Runcie goes up for a basket against the Panthers in Saturday's game. He contributed 14 points to Columbia's win. Credits: Mike Romano
Robert Gordon looks for an open man during the Cougar-Panther matchup on Saturday. Credits: Mike Romano
Spectators pack the bleachers at Columbia High School's game against Bridgewater-Raritan on Saturday. Credits: Mike Romano

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. - David and Michael Runcie combined for 29 points as they led Columbia High School to a 54-39 victory over Bridgewater-Raritan on Saturday afternoon.

David Runcie finished with a team-high 15 points and his brother Michael finished with 14. The brothers have consistently been the leading scorers for the Cougars throughout the season and continued to shine against the Panthers.

"Dave averages over 20 points per game, and that's hard to do in the league that we play in," Cougars head coach Eddie Turner said.

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Columbia came out of the gate firing, led by David's back-to-back 3-pointers to give his squad an early 8-2 lead, forcing the Panthers to use a timeout.

Michael got into the action in the second quarter when he stole the ball and set himself up for an easy lay-up with 1:31 left in the first half. The Cougars scored two more times before the break to make the score 26-17.

"Mike does all the things that you don't see in the box score," Turner said. "He doesn’t turn the ball over, he brings the ball up and I have all the confidence in the world that nine times out of 10 he's going to make the right decision."

The second half relied on runs on both sides of the ball as Bridgewater-Raritan went on a 6-0 run to creep within five points with 3:27 to go in the third. Columbia was able to increase its lead to eight at the end of the quarter, but the Panther's Vincent Pace started the fourth quarter with a dunk off of a baseline move. Pace finished with a team-high 14 points.

The six-point deficit was the closest the Panthers would get as Columbia put them away with an 11-2 run in the middle of the fourth quarter.

“Our defense was the key," Turner said. "This is a really good team and we held them to 39 points. This was the best defense we've played all year long."

The Cougars will play against Newark Tech at home at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28. 

The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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