Correction: The points scored by Saniya Myers and Amari Nolan were incorrectly reported in an earlier version of this article and have been updated.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Growing pains were expected for the Piscataway High School varsity boys and girls basketball teams this winter. Both teams lost vital pieces from a year ago and faced a tough schedule in the early going.
After seven games each, the girls sit at 4-3 overall (3-0 in the Greater Middlesex Conference - Red Division) and the boys are 3-4 (2-1).
To open 2019, both programs faced South Brunswick on Thursday and came out with a win. The Chiefs won 64-58 while the Lady Chiefs were victorious by a score of 52-27.
For the girls in the game, center Ariel Jenkins led a balanced attack with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. She also recorded five blocks and three steals. Guard Tori Wilson and forwards Saniya Myers and Kaelonn Wilson all scored eight points apiece as well. Wilson pulled down six boards and forward Amari Nolan notched five points, eight rebounds, three steals, and three blocks.
The Lady Chiefs were able to turn defense into offense with their 17 steals. They attacked the glass well, tallying 34 boards, and raced out to a 18-6 first quarter lead and never looked back. Piscataway allowed no more than seven points in a quarter.
As for the boys, they started their first winning streak of the young season as forward Antonio Chandler and guard Tyree Barba-Bey scored 18 and 14 points respectively to guide the Chiefs over the Vikings. Andre Emden came up big making four free throws on his way to eight points and Mark Davis chipped in with seven. Piscataway led 24-16 at halftime.
Chris Puder’s Lady Chiefs opened the 2018-19 season with a convincing 66-19 win at Perth Amboy. Since then, they surprisingly loss to Middlesex - a much smaller school - 59-56 three days later. Piscataway did rebound with a 13-point win at home against Old Bridge before playing in the Mount St. Dominic Festival where it went 1-2 with its two losses coming to state-ranked teams.
Prior to the first game, Puder said he would learn a lot about his team after facing Rutgers Prep (now No. 10 in the NJ.com Top 20) and Red Bank Catholic (No. 14). The challenging early slate will certainly prepare them for the rest of the year in the GMC.
Thus far, Jenkins has been the star of the show with 111 points on 46 made buckets from the floor and 19 foul shots. She also leads the team with 72 rebounds and 21 blocks. Fisher, also a sophomore, is second with 83 points. She’s tops in the team with 14 made 3-pointers, 23 assists, and 22 steals as well.
Senior forward Saniya Myers has recorded a third-best 61 points with 51 boards and seven blocks while Nolan has totaled 27 points, 49 rebounds, nine assists, nine steals, and eight blocks. Wilson’s notched 41 points and 31 rebounds.
The Lady Chiefs are averaging a 24.5 margin of victory in their four triumphs.
Chandler and Barba-Bey will likely be the main attractions for the Piscataway boys as they are 1-2 in scoring with Chandler on top.
Darius Griffin Sr.’s team has also had a tough early going of games against the likes of Linden and Elizabeth. Linden is/was a state power and edged the Chiefs, 53-45, in the season opener at Union. No. 9-ranked Elizabeth, under the new guidance of Phil Colicchio, who was at Linden for a long time prior to this year, was too much for Piscataway as the Minutemen won 54-38. The Chiefs also fell to West Orange and Old Bridge but beat St. Joseph (Metuchen) and then Hillsborough in a holiday tournament.
*All stats are according to NJ.com.
NEXT FIVE GAMES FOR EACH TEAM:
BOYS: 1/5/19 at Barringer (1:00 p.m.), 1/8/19 at Monroe (7:00), 1/10/19 vs. East Brunswick (5:30), 1/15/19 at J.P. Stevens (5:30), 1/17/19 at Perth Amboy (7:00).
GIRLS: 1/5/19 at Bridgewater-Raritan (1:00 p.m.), 1/8/19 vs. Monroe (5:30), 1/10/19 at East Brunswick (7:00), 1/15/19 vs. J.P. Stevens (5:30), 1/17/19 vs. Perth Amboy (5:30).
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