The fifth grade boys team finished the regular season with a record of 10 - 4 in the West Division of the Jersey basketball Association. The SP Boys were then seeded tenth out of the combined 32 teams that make up the East and West Division in the JBA.
South Plainfield began first round competition by beating #7 seed Branchburg on the road by a score of 24-18. In the quarterfinals South Plainfield was on the road against the #2 Seed Flemington. Flemington bested the SP Boys the first game of the regular season on a three pointer with one second remaining in overtime. With revenge on their minds, the SP Boys played with a chip on their shoulder, making the almost hour trip worthwhile, beating Flemington by a score of 30-27.
The semi finals took place at the PAL Building in South Plainfield. The SP Boys earned a home game against 11th Seeded Linden. Linden beat 3rd ranked Woodbridge to earn the semi final appearance. With the very large home crowd at the PAL Building behind them, the SP boys continued their run at a second straight Championship Game appearance, beating Linden by a score of 31-22.
The SP Boys would have their talent and determination put to the test on March 9th at Saint Joseph’s High School in Metuchen. The SP Boys would encounter the overall number #1 seed, the Undefeated Westfield Boys Team. Westfield Came into the championship game with a perfect 17-0 record including the regular season and playoff games. South Plainfield fans traveled well and packed the St. Joes Gymnasium, outnumbering Westfield fans approximately three to one.
The SP Boys came out on fire and took an early lead 4-0 due to their playoff long aggressive defense. Westfield came within one point during the third-quarter, but the SP Boys used heart and athleticism to never relinquish the lead. When the buzzer sounded, the final showed South Plainfield 24, Westfield 18. Players, Coaches, & fans took to the court to celebrate.
Coach Culver & Staff stated that the Championship game, and playoff run, was due to 12 boys playing as a Team, believing in one another, and showing a tremendous amount of Heart. The coaching staff added “The boys played with ATTITUDE the last four games”, and knew that if they stuck together as a team, and believed in each other, they could make another run at the Championship Game. Coach Culver said that last year they made the championship game but got blown out by a very tall, disciplined, and well coached Hillsborough team. Our boys were not about to let that happen again. They bared down and played tremendous Defense. All season long, and in the postseason, someone different stepped up on offense and defense every single game. It was truly a Team effort. The coaching staff went on to state how proud they are of this team, mainly because basketball is a secondary sport to most of the players on the team. Most will now ready themselves for their respective baseball and soccer seasons. Culver stated “It just goes to show when you get 12 kids & the Coaching staff, to buy into the Team concept, what can be accomplished. These boys deserve all the praise because of how they came together and focused to achieve their season long goal.”
Players and coaches are listed below:
SP 5TH Grade Boys
Eddie Budzinski #4
Joshua Burrell #23
Justin Culver #27
Franky Donaruma #3
Aidan Kaplan #8
Julius Kinsler #10
Dom Massaro #6
Dylan Oller #26
Nikash Patel #30
Matthew Rennie #5
Adrian Sanchez #2
Trayvon Smith #1