BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Traveling to the Panthers’ court from Gladstone, the Knights of Gill St. Bernard’s High School certainly made the most out of their Tuesday evening up north.
Behind a balanced performance and suffocating defense from their starting five, Gill St. Bernard’s raced out to a double-digit lead over Bridgewater-Raritan (2-8) not even halfway into the opening period. The Knights put the game out of reach early for the Panthers, as the visitors stretched their lead to 32 at the break and only extended it from there. The starters of Gill St. Bernard’s each scored at least 13 points, scoring 81 of their team’s first 86 points overall and a whopping 35 of their team’s 40 field goals on the night in a 96-50 victory over Bridgewater-Raritan.
This included five first-quarter buckets in the post by Knights forward Zach Martini, who had two of the Knights’ first three buckets scored just 1:05 into the game to give Gill St. Bernard’s an early 6-0 lead. They struck first and never trailed, as Martini hit his remaining three first-quarter field goals to give the Knights their first starter in double digits with 4:39 to go in the opening quarter.
All five starters for Gill St. Bernard’s got on the board in the opening quarter and led 28-6 at the end of the period.
The Knights then scored eight points in 20 seconds on four field goals, with three of them happening in quick succession after quick steals inside of the arc. This included three straight layups by forward Issac Hester-Toku and one more from guard Will Soucie to put the Knights in front by a score of 36-6 with 7:01 left in the 2nd quarter.
Bridgewater-Raritan’s Rishi Mudduluru and Arya Trivedi then each hit a pair of shots from behind the arc, but Gill St. Bernard’s seemed to have an answer for virtually all of the Panthers’ buckets despite 20 second-period points for the home team.
Hester-Toku led the way for Gill St. Bernard’s with 17 second-period points on eight field goals, and Soucie (13 halftime points) joined Martini (13 halftime points) in double digits late in the half before sending Gill St. Bernard’s into the locker room up 56-26.
Perhaps the most surprising stat of the first half were the fouls committed by both teams: eight by Gill St. Bernard’s, and zero by Bridgewater-Raritan.
The Panthers committed their first foul of the game just 16 seconds into the second half (16:16 into regulation), and the Knights picked up where they left off in the first half. Starting forward Mack Obwako, who had nine points for Gill St. Bernard’s at the break, hit a field goal and a pair of free throws in the 3rd quarter to give the visitors their fourth starter in double digits. Denver Anglin, who had only four points at halftime, then scored all 11 of his second-half points in the final minutes of the 3rd quarter to put all five starters in double figures for Gill St. Bernard’s.
The Knights led 79-35 after three periods, and after a relatively-even 4th quarter with the outcome all but decided, Bridgewater-Raritan eventually fell by a final score of 96-50.
While it was a disappointing result for the Panthers after a promising four-game stretch, this outcome was similar for the majority of the state-ranked Knights’ opponents this season. They already defeated three common Panthers’ opponents: Hillsborough 92-28, Franklin 74-46, and Hunterdon Central: who Bridgewater-Raritan will travel to on Thursday, by a score of 76-40 earlier in the season.
Mike Pastor led the Panthers with nine points on the night. For the first time in 2019-20, the Panthers did not have a scorer in double figures.
Gill St. Bernard’s 96, Bridgewater-Raritan 50
Gill St. Bernard’s: Q1- 28; Q2- 28; Q3- 23; Q4- 17; TOTAL- 96
- Issac Hester-Toku - 23 points
- Denver Anglin - 15 points
- Mack Obwako - 15 points
- Will Soucie - 15 points
- Zach Martini - 13 points
- Drew Kania - 4 points
- Michael Fritzlo - 3 points
- Evan Portnoi - 3 points
- Thomas Stinson - 3 points
- Amir Lynn - 2 points
Bridgewater-Raritan: Q1- 6; Q2- 20; Q3- 9; Q4- 15; TOTAL- 50
- Mike Pastor - 9 points
- Arya Trivedi - 8 points
- Alec Whelan - 7 points
- Rishi Mudduluru - 6 points
- Mike Brickfield - 4 points
- Joey Callari - 4 points
- Alvin Cheng - 4 points
- Matt Halpin - 2 points
- Zach Letts - 2 points
- Gio Nazareno - 2 points
- Mickey Wasko - 2 points
The Panthers (2-8) will travel to Flemington and division rival Hunterdon Central Jan. 16 to close out the week. Tip at the Red Devils will take place at 7 p.m. at Hunterdon Central Regional High School.
For detailed Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers Athletics schedules and game locations, please see https://bridgewaterraritanhighschool.bigteams.com/.
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