PISCATAWAY, NJ -- Holidays hoops has come and gone as the Piscataway High School boys and girls basketball teams both played in tournaments over the course of the last few days.
The girls participated in the Bound Brook Crusader Classic and got a good early test from a ranked Morris Catholic team in the first round on Friday.
Though Piscataway fell 71-59 to the No. 19-ranked team in the preseason NJ.com Top 20, it hung tough and outscored Morris Catholic in the second and fourth quarters. Kaelonn Wilson notched a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds and Tori Fisher had 16 points. Rakhia Mack chipped in with another nine. Tyonna Bailey and Mimi Rubino both scored 19 points for Morris Catholic while Jayden Watson netted 18.
In the consolation round on Saturday, the Lady Chiefs defeated Passaic Tech to wrap up the tournament, 64-44. Piscataway raced out to a big first quarter lead and never looked back. Fisher bucketed a game-high 19 points, Mack added 12, Wilson scored nine points and corralled 12 boards, and four others scored at least five points including Mia Rose, who recorded seven points and five rebounds. Fisher and Wilson also made the All-Tournament Team.
“The girls played great in the Morris Catholic game and we told the girls if they play with that kind of intensity we can be very competitive in our conference,” Piscataway coach Chris Puder said. “We were able to continue the intensity on Saturday against Passaic Tech and took the first quarter 21-5. Our guards did a great job in both games handling the press and getting the ball to the open girl.”
The boys played in the Hillsborough Holiday Classic and over three games, the Chiefs played West Windsor-Plainsboro North on Friday, Hightstown on Saturday, and Hillsborough on Monday. Piscataway went 1-2 in those games with losses to Hightstown and Hillsborough and a victory against WW-PN sandwiched in between.
Against Hightstown on opening day, a big first half by the Rams did Piscataway in as Hightstown led 13 at the break en route to an 80-64 win. Piscataway out-rebounded Hightstown, but the Rams were unselfish as they notched 23 assists to the Chiefs’ six. Johnathan Livingston of Piscataway led all scorers with 23 points. He also had five steals. Keshawn Peterson also recorded a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Hightsown’s Ryan Hogan and Connor Mamone scored 21 and 18 points, respectively, while Kyle Reiss and Ben Simon each netted 10 points.
On Saturday Piscataway dominated, winning 70-51 behind Livingston’s and Peterson’s 15 points apiece. Five others found the scoring column as well including William Corley, who scored nine points, and Justin Wyatt, who finished with eight. The Chiefs used a 26-18 second quarter to pull away and really widened the margin with a 21-7 fourth.
The game on Monday with the hosts went back and forth and it was anybody’s game, but the Raiders ended up on top by a score of 54-48. Piscataway led at halftime by three, but Hillsborough outscored the Chiefs’ nine in the third. Livingston scored a game-high 18 points in the loss while Denzel Taylor netted 12. Allen Holmon had 15 and AJ Strawderman had 12 for the Raiders.
Piscataway has endured a rough 1-4 start to begin the 2019-2020 season, but it’s possible conference play in the new year could provide a jolt. The Chiefs next play at St. Joseph (Met.) on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
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