HS Basketball: Hasbrouck Heights 49, Saddle Brook 35

Sal Xheraj (15) defends an inbounds pass in the second quarter of Hasbrouck Heights 49-35 win over Saddle Brook on Friday at home. Credits: Chip Armonaitis

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -  It wasn’t pretty, but Hasbrouck Heights did enough to beat Saddle Brook, 49-35 Friday night in Hasbrouck Heights.  The Aviators moved into first place in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference with the win, improving to 6-0 in the league, and 7-3 overall.

The Aviators showed the effects having played a nail-biter last night in the first quarter, scoring only nine points.  The good thing for the Aviators, is that Saddle Brook only had three.  Hasbrouck Heights subbed liberally throughout the game, and it paid it off early as Johnny Capozzi’s three-pointer gave the Aviators a 7-3 lead with 1:40 remaining in the quarter.

“We played a tough game last night,” said Cebula, in referring to the Aviators 64-56 win over Becton.  “I told the team beforehand that we could not play the starters a ton of minutes like we did last night.  We needed to get everyone on the court.”

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Freshman forward Kunga Tsering was one of the beneficiaries of that time off the bench, and it paid off in the second quarter, as Tsering scored the Aviators’ first four points of the second quarter, and hit James Klenk with a nice pass to set up a layup later in the quarter.  

Klenk, and fellow senior Matt Moretto broke the game open for Heights late in the second, with Klenk scoring four straight, then Moretto six in a row, as the Aviators opened up a 23-9 lead.  Moretto was on the end of a nice passing play from Anthony Palmer and Jasiah Purdie for a layup in the middle of his run.  The run was started by a steal that Moretto took the basket for a layup.  

The third quarter, much like the first, saw both teams struggle offensively.  Leading 23-11 at the half, the Aviators scored only 10 points in the quarter,but allowed just six, for a 33-17 lead after three.

A 11-0 spurt in the first three minutes gave Heights their largest lead of the night, at 44-17.  Saddle Brook answered with a 9-0 spurt, keyed on by guard Ricardo Rosa, who had six of his game high 25 points during the run.

Saddle Brook falls to 0-6 in the league and 0-8 overall.  Next week is key for the Aviators as they their first meetings with two of the league's other top teams, Paterson Charter in Paterson Tuesday night, and home to St. Mary on Thursday.

Saddle Brook                  3     8     6    18   35

Hasbrouck Heights         9    14  10     16  49

Saddle Brook  (35)

Rosa, 6-3-4-25, Daly 2-0-0-4, Merchetto 0-1-1-4, Hacker 0-0-2-2, DiGiovianni 0-0-0-0, Anglin 0-0-0-0. Totals 8-4-7-35.

Hasbrouck Heights (49)

Klenk 3-0-2-8, Purdie 3-1-2-11, Palmer 3-0-0-6, Ketsche 0-0-0-0, Morettto 4-0-0-8, Capozzi 0-1-0-3, Tsering 2-1-2-9, Xheraj 1-0-0-2, Alberto 1-0-0-2, Beerman 0-0-0-0, Faussette 0-0-0-0. Totals 17-3-6-49


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