SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Perhaps its the close proximity between the two towns or the fact that Spotswood used to send its high school students to South River before its high school was built, however rivalry best describes the athletic matchups between the two schools regardless of the sport. On January 17, both the girls and the boys varsity basketball teams took on South River High School. Both came up on the short end of the scoreboard.
The boys varsity lost a squeaker, 81-78 to the Rams, despite a game-high 32 points from sophomore Matt Vento. Derrick Witaker put up 31 for the Rams and also had six rebounds and six assists. Spotswood led at the halftime break, 44-41, but was outscored in the second half by South River. Joseph Nigro netted 17 for the Rams while Jayvon Taylor scored 15. Matt Pietrzyk grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds for South River.
Both Andrew Fuzesi and Abdullah Nieskens scored 12 for Spotswood, whose overall record dropped to 4-9 on the season. JT Vento had an impressive 13 rebounds in the nip-and-tuck game.
The story was the same for the girls varsity who also held the halftime lead before the Rams outscored them in the third and fourth quarters to take the win, 53-47. South River's Tara Beachem was the game's top scorer with 19 while Aleah Bass added 13. Erin Malin was Spotswood's top point getter with 10. Malin also had eight blocks. Paige Dadika, Maddie Hellerich and Lizzie Vignuolo all scored eight in the loss that moved the Chargers' overall record down to 7-6.
Both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams will look to rebound against the Timothy Christian School later this week. The boys varsity will take on the Tigers at the Spotswood High School Gymnasium on Friday, January 20 at 6 p.m. while the girls will travel to Piscataway for their Saturday, January 21 away game. Tip off is at 1:30 p.m.
Regular season play between the Spotswood and South River varsity basketball teams are over for this winter. Both the boys and the girls varsity squads also lost their December matchups against the Rams.
The Spotswood School District stopped sending its students to South River High School in 1976, when they first opened the high school facility on Summerhill Road.