NEW BRUNSWICK/SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Sometimes the luck of the draw doesn’t go your way.
After advancing a couple games through their respective Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament brackets, both the Piscataway High School varsity boys and girls basketball teams ran into the No. 1 seed.
The ninth-seeded boys team tipped-off with top-seeded St. Joseph (Metuchen) in the quarterfinals at New Brunswick High on Sunday, with the Falcons coming out on top of an 81-57 decision. Piscataway native and St. Joe’s graduate Karl Towns, now of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves was in attendance taking in the action.
Letrell West starred for St. Joseph’s (23-1), pouring in a game-high 41 points and making 14 of the team’s 24 total field goals on the night. He also made 12 free-throws and had five rebounds and three assists.
Zach Martini added nine points and five rebounds for the Falcons, which led 21-13 after the first quarter and extended that lead to hold a 45-27 advantage at the half. Malachi Walker contributed seven points, seven blocks, and 12 rebounds as well, doing a good job holding down the paint and not allowing easy buckets.
D’Ondre Dent paced Piscataway (13-9) with a team-high 25 points, knocking-down a game-high three 3-pointers. The senior has scored in double figures in 15 games, reaching 20-plus in five of them.
Teammate Keshawn Grant chipped in with 11 points as well.
As for the girls team, the Lady Chiefs fell victim to top-seeded Sayreville, 65-38, in the semifinals Tuesday night in South Brunswick. The Chiefs (14-11) led 10-1 at the start, fueled by Brooke Moll’s nine first quarter points. But, like they have all season, the Bombers (23-2) utilized their pressure defense which turned into offense and a 17-2 run to lead 18-12 at the end of the first quarter.
And that was all she wrote.
Sayreville outscored Piscataway 15-3 in the second quarter to take a 33-15 lead at the half. One of the state’s best guards, senior Isi Enahoro, scored a game-high 17 points with three assists and eight steals and Ryane Brush followed with 14 points and five steals.
Morenike Akinrefon added another 13 points and six rebounds, and Katie Esposito chipped in with 10 points and six boards as four Bombers scored in double digits.
After the Chiefs’ quarterfinals win over 12th-seeded Old Bridge, Piscataway head coach David Kosa said that Sayreville likes to press, trap, and score in every way. They did just that.
They also held Kosa’s leading scorer, LaNiya Miller, who netted 30 and 33 points in the last two GMCT games to only eight. Moll tallied a team-high 10 points.
“Before the game we said to know where she is at all times and try to make somebody else step up because we don’t want it to be her to take it us,” Sayreville head Janet Cook told MyCentralJersey.com. “Our girls did a great job recognizing where she was.”
Next up for both the Chiefs and Lady Chiefs is the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 state tournaments. The boys are the 10th-seed and travel to seventh-seeded Bayonne in the first round on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7:15 p.m. No. 1-seeded Linden is the favorite in the section and overall in Group 4.
The girls are also the 10th-seed and hit the road to take on seventh-seeded North Hunterdon in Annandale also on Feb. 27 at 5:00 p.m. Top-seeded Bayonne and second-seeded Franklin are the two favorites in the section.
Both squads have their work cut out for them as the odds are against them, but just like the Twitter hashtag for the Lady Chiefs always reminds everyone, they must #KeepPushing.
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