Sports

Godwin, Gardner, Guide North Plainfield to Quarterfinals of the Somerset County Tournament

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NORTH PLAINFIELD -- The dynamic duo of Tony Godwin and James Gardner were at it again on the hardwood for the North Plainfield High School boys varsity basketball team.

Godwin poured in a game-high 23 points to lead the sixth-seeded Canucks (16-4) over 11th-seeded Watchung Hills, 72-66, in the second round of the Somerset County Tournament Tuesday night in North Plainfield. The junior guard corralled five rebounds and made clutch free-throws and a layup in crunch time after the Warriors (9-12) cut a double digit deficit down to two points (59-57) with about three minutes left in the ballgame.

In addition, Gardner, a senior, notched a near-triple double tallying 20 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists and two steals. Godwin and Gardner combined for five 3-pointers. North Plainfield made nine as a team.

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“Tonight we made some plays when we had to,” North Plainfield head coach Reggie Sainte Rose told TAPinto North Plainfield. “Tony Godwin and James Gardner came up big. But for us to have a chance, we need to pay better collectively.

“But, we beat a good Watchung Hills team tonight so we are happy to playing Thursday.”

Khalil Dock chipped in with 10 points and six assists for the Canucks, who led 36-30 at the break after leading by as much as 12 in the first half. Ka-Ron Dock scored nine points and Randolph Hunter added seven as well.

For Watchung Hills, Gavin DeFuria paced the Warriors with 22 points, draining three triples of his own, including the first basket of the game. Teammates Dan Pillsbury netted 14 points, and Steven Bressler and Ryan Keller both scored eight apiece.

With the win, North Plainfield moves onto the quarterfinals to play third-seeded Rutgers Prep in Somerset on Thursday. The Argonauts received two byes in the tournament and are ranked fourth in the Skyland Conference by NJ.com - one stop ahead of North Plainfield.

Rutgers Prep is led by senior guard Jake Needleman and sophomore Nahshon Battle. Needleman is a 3-point threat with 50 on the season, and is averaging 11.45 points per game. Battle is averaging 12.1 per contest. Besides those two, the Canucks and Sainte-Rose will need to keep an eye out for Jonah Charles, Zachary Brown, and Antonio Gamboa, all of whom have scored over 100 points on the season.

Sainte-Rose has talked about the seniors on his squad coming together and providing leadership with a sense of urgency. They will need that as they continue on here in postseason play.

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