NUTLEY, NJ--After suffering a last-second loss in in its season-opener, the Nutley High boys basketball team bounced back in a big way, earning the championship of the Charlie Dolan Holiday Tournament in Kearny this past weekend.
The Raiders (2-1) defeated Cranford, 44-32, in the opening round on Friday, Dec. 27 and then claimed the title by topping the Bard School of Newark, 47-27, in the championship game on Saturday, Dec. 28.
"We lost at the buzzer in our first game," said head coach Robert Harbison, referring to Nutley's 38-36 setback to North Star Academy at home on Dec. 19. "But we were able to beat a good Cranford team and then everyone got involved against Bard."
In its victory over Cranford, Nutley was steered by Nick Schroeder (15 points), Jordan Greene (10 points), Jake O'Connor (six points) and Aiden Ozdemir (five points).
Schroeder then added 12 points, Greene added nine and Justin Edert dropped in seven points as the Raiders built an early 11-point lead against Bard and never looked back en route to earning the tournament crown.
For his efforts, Schroeder, a 5-11 sophomore guard, was named the tournament's MVP, while Ozdemir, a 6-3 senior swing, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Schroeder also had the game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as Nutley erased a 36-33 deficit against North Star Academy before the visitors won the game on a 12-foot jumper as time expired.
"North Star is big and athletic but that was a winnable game for us," said Harbison. "We definitely look forward to playing them again."
Nutley, situated in the Colonial Division of the Super Essex Conference, will be looking to even its divisional record at 1-1 when it plays host to Verona on Friday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m.
"We're very familiar with them and we have a similar offense," said Harbison. "They have good athletes and it should be a good match-up."
The Raiders will then play divisional foes Millburn on the road on Jan. 7 and Orange at home on Jan. 10 before playing host to non-conference opponent Demarest on Jan. 13.
"I think we can shoot better going forward but I'm happy with the star we've had," said Harbison. "We beat a Cranford team that's now 4-1 and we've been getting good play off the bench."
Nutley Girls Basketball
The Nutley High girls basketball team went 2-1 and finished in third place at the William Masopust Jr. Classic at Lodi High this past weekend.
First, the Lady Raiders defeated Wallington, 57-24, in the first round of the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 26 led by Liana Minichini (15 points) and Abigail Scheidel (12 points).
Scheidel then had a team-high 13 points but Nuley bowed to Kearny in the tournament semifinals on Dec. 27. Kearny went on to the finals where it was defeated by Fort Lee, 46-36.
In the third-place consolation game on Sunday, Dec. 29, Nutley defeated Lodi, 64-22, powered by Mackenzie Albert, who had a game-high 30 points, and Minichini, who added 10 points.
The Lady Raiders (2-4), which suffered three road losses to start the season, will look to continue its winning ways when it plays Payne Tech (0-4) in Newark on Friday, Jan. 3 at 5:30.
Nutley will then play its first home game of the season on Monday, Jan. 7 when it plays host to Verona at 6 p.m.