SOMERSET, NJ – After doubling their regular season win total with a pair of wins in as many tries, most recently a 48-46 victory at J.P. Stevens, Bridgewater-Raritan picked up where it left off in a rematch at Franklin. After trailing by double digits three weeks ago for most of their first meeting on the way to a 61-51 home loss, the Panthers shut down the Warriors in the first period on the way to a one-point lead on Jan. 28.
Despite being held to only four field goals in the 1st quarter, Franklin ended up flipping the script on the visiting Panthers.
After a bucket in the post by Alec Whelan with 1:35 left in the 1st quarter to cap off a 9-3 scoring run and give the Panthers a 12-11 lead, Bridgewater-Raritan (4-12) was held without a field goal for the next 11:15 of regulation. This included the entire 2nd quarter, when Franklin outscored the Bridgewater-Raritan by ten in a period where the Panthers’ only points came on 7-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line. The Warriors outscored the Panthers 44-19 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, when Joshua Kuroda-Grauer, Anthony Milligan, and Isaiah Cotton combined for 33 points to put the game out of reach on the way to an eventual 73-42 Franklin victory.
The aforementioned Warriors trio combined for 23 points in their previous meeting with Bridgewater-Raritan, when Franklin starter Edward Turay led all scorers with 23 points on January 7th. While Turay did not score in the rematch, his teammates certainly made up for it.
It was a quick start for the Panthers as opposed to the previous meeting with Franklin. Joey Callari connected from long range 17 seconds into the contest to give Bridgewater-Raritan a quick 3-0 lead, but a split pair of free throws from Milligan and a pair of fastbreak layups from Demi Alao put Franklin on the board. The first of two triples from Tracy Brown capped off a burst of eight unanswered points by the Warriors in two minutes to put Franklin up 8-3 with 5:25 left in the 1st period.
A quick layup by Alvin Cheng, who finished with 10 points, and a pair of free throws for Whelan, who led the Panthers with 17 points, cut the Warriors’ lead to one. Brown’s second three-pointer in the quarter then extended Franklin’s lead to 11-7 with 4:30 left in the period. But Franklin did not score again for the remainder of the period, and Whelan scored the final five points of the quarter on the way to a 12-11 Bridgewater-Raritan lead.
Despite being held scoreless in a span of just over five minutes, a putback from Kuroda-Grauer plus a bucket and one from Cotton extended Franklin’s lead to 16-12 with 7:10 left in the 2nd quarter. They did not trail again from there, and five different Warriors players scored in the period while their defense ultimately held Bridgewater-Raritan without a field goal for the remainder of the half. Five of the Panthers’ seven made free throws came from Whelan, as Bridgewater-Raritan went into the locker room down 28-19.
Kuroda-Grauer then opened the second half with a bucket and one plus a steal and a layup for Franklin, putting the Warriors junior at double figures and giving Franklin a 33-19 lead just over a minute into the 3rd quarter. He then split a pair of free throws before a three from Bridgewater-Raritan’s Callari snapped the Panthers’ field goal drought that spanned just over 11 minutes. With his Warriors leading 34-22 at this point, Milligan answered with the first of his three third-quarter triples to give Franklin a 15-point advantage to begin a 21-9 period-ending run.
With Franklin up 55-31 after three periods, they continued to extend their lead from there in the game’s final eight minutes. Seven different Warriors players scored in the final period, and Franklin held Bridgewater-Raritan to only three field goals in the 4th quarter. Franklin led by as much 32 points late in the contest before eventually closing out the game with a 73-42 victory and sweeping the regular-season series with the Panthers.
18 of Bridgewater-Raritan’s 42 points came at the charity stripe on 62% free-throw shooting in a game where the Panthers were held to 11 field goals. While Franklin only shot 17-for-26 (65%) from the free throw line, they scored nine field goals in the 3rd quarter alone on a night when four Warriors players scored in double figures.
Bridgewater-Raritan 42, Franklin 73
Franklin: Q1- 11; Q2- 17; Q3- 27; Q4- 18; TOTAL- 73
- Isaiah Cotton - 13 points
- Joshua Kuroda-Grauer - 13 points
- Tracy Brown - 12 points
- Anthony Milligan - 12 points
- Ikenna Eluwa - 7 points
- Demi Alao - 6 points
- Bryson Henry - 4 points
- Anthony Edmundson - 2 points
- Major Elliot - 2 points
- Rajah Wilcox - 2 points
Bridgewater-Raritan: Q1- 12; Q2- 7; Q3- 12; Q4- 11; TOTAL- 42
- Alec Whelan - 17 points
- Alvin Cheng - 10 points
- Joey Callari - 8 points
- Sam Cohen - 5 points
- Mike Brickfield - 1 point
- Brandyn Vaughn - 1 point
Bridgewater-Raritan (4-12) will travel to Gladstone, NJ and Gill St. Bernard’s, who defeated the Panthers 96-50 two weeks ago. Tip at the Knights will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 30.
The Panthers will then travel to Dickinson High School in West New York, NJ Feb. 1, when Bridgewater-Raritan will take on Memorial in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. They will return to their home court Feb. 4 against Hunterdon Central (7 p.m. on this date) to begin a stretch of four home games in their final six regular-season contests of 2019-20.
For detailed Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers Athletics schedules and game locations, please see https://bridgewaterraritanhighschool.bigteams.com/.
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