GLEN RIDGE, NJ-- After a slow start, the Glen Ridge High boys' basketball team won a huge Super Essex Conference game against Belleville, on Jan. 3, as junior captain Sam Trunley scored 30 points and hauled in 23 rebounds in a 62-56 win, in Belleville.
Head coach Liam Carr's team followed up that win with a 58-33 victory over Kinnelon on Jan. 4 and took a 4-2 record into a key home game against Newark Academy, on Jan. 7, at 4 p.m. On Jan. 9, the Ridgers travel to Caldwell, in a 7 p.m. start, and on Jan. 11, it's off to Cedar Grove for an 11:30 a.m. game.
Glen Ridge had opened the season on Dec. 19, defeating Brearley, before losing to Montclair Kimberley and Bayonne. Since then, the team won its next three, downing People's Prep, Belleville and Kinnelon.
"It was good to see us get back on track," said Carr. "We ran into a good team in Bayonne at the Bloomfield Tournament, but we were able to get a win over People's Prep. The key game was at Belleville. We knew they had a very good team."
Glen Ridge had jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in a packed gym at Belleville, but the Buccaneers began to take control in the second quarter and led by as many as eight points before the Ridgers closed out the half on a strong run to cut the deficit to 27-24 at intermission.
"That was big for us," said Trunley. "We knew coming in that playing Belleville would be a big test for us. We needed that run before the half, because it got us back into the game. Michael Cifelli and Carter Koenig came up big for us with points down the stretch."
Glen Ridge's discipline on offense proved to be the difference in the second half as the Ridgers stayed within its offense and capitalized on a few Belleville errors.
"You have to give coach Carr all the credit," said Trunley. "He puts in the right places to succeed. Coach does a great job with adjustments."
While Trunley had 30 points, he didn't hit a 3-point basket.
"I like hitting the 3, but it's not my overall game," he said. "Two points is two points, and we'll take them any way we can get it. When our team is most effective, we're driving the floor and making things happen. When we add the three pointer, it makes us even better."
"Sam was just tremendous, against Belleville," the coach said. "Our perimeter game is starting to come together and that will make us better as the year goes on."
Glen Ridge outscored Belleville, 38-29, in the second half en route to a six point win. In addition to Trunley's 30 points, Cifelli scored 11 points and Joe DeLuca had 10 for the Ridgers while Ryan O'Neil had six boards.
Versus Kinnelon, Trunley led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds, Bryan Moussako had 11 points, DeLuca scored 10 and Koenig had nine points and nine rebounds.