CHATHAM, NJ - Three dominant performances by the New Providence boys’ basketball team leads the Pioneers to a Cougar Classic title in Chatham, including a victory over the hosts for the first time in seven years.
First, New Providence took on Somerville, and despite a tight opening eight minutes, a dominating second quarter that saw New Providence outscore Somerville 18-3 allowed the Pioneers to cruise to victory, doubling up Somerville 70-35. Dylan Bedder dominated the paint, posting a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Pioneers, with Brian Kelly and Greg Meyers chipping in double digits on the offensive end to balance out the New Providence attack.
The primetime matchup everybody was anticipating took place the next evening on Wednesday, pitting Chatham against the visiting Pioneers. The theme in this game for New Providence was pressure, as their harrowing 1-3-1 press, led by Kelly, caused all sorts of issues for the hosts, as turnover after turnover for Chatham led to easy buckets for Meyers, Bedder, and guard Sean Dillon.
Chatham cut the lead to as much as four in the final quarter, but Dillon hit a dagger three that put the game out of reach for the Cougars, giving the Pioneers an upset victory on the road, winning 54-44.
New Providence was able to complete the trifecta on Friday, when the high-low duo of Dillon and Bedder controlled the entirety of the game. The big man recorded his third double-double in as many games, as well as scoring a career-high 27 points on the afternoon, while the sophomore guard dazzled on the offensive end, feeding Bedder in the low post and finishing at the rim as well.
A blazing start for New Providence gave them a double-digit lead within a few minutes, and they never looked back while cruising to an impressive 86-45 win over Mount Olive, leading NP to a 3-0 tournament record.
The 4-1 Pioneers look to make it five in a row when they take on Rahway next Thursday night at New Providence High School, with tip-off scheduled for 7 pm.