Boys Basketball: Lions Roar as Nationally Ranked Roselle Catholic Knocks Raiders Out of Union County Tournament

Naz Reid dunks for Roselle Catholic. Credits: John Mooney
Rebounding was a tall challenge against Roselle Catholic. Credits: John Mooney
Raiders vs. Lions in the Union Country tournament. Credits: John Mooney
Cooper Heisey attempts to defend against Roselle Catholic's 7-1 center Majur Majak. Credits: John Mooney
Raheem Carter of Roselle Catholic Credits: John Mooney
Raiders bench Credits: John Mooney
Standing Room Only Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Scotch Plains-Fanwood's remarkable turnaround season won't include a Union County championship as the Raiders fell to nationally ranked Roselle Catholic, 78-34, before a standing room only crowd at A.L. Johnson HS (Clark) on Saturday night. The Lions quickly jumped to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter and never relinquished it.

Roselle Catholic features a deadly combination of size, speed and skills, that proved to be too much for the Raiders, who needed to play a perfect game if they wanted to keep pace with RC, which has three Division I commits.

The Raiders started the game with crisp passing and ball movement to work the ball in to an open man. For the most part, Coach Steve Siracusa's game plan worked in getting the ball in low, but the Raiders simply could not convert often enough.

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Raheem Carter (10) led all scorers with 13 points an was deadly from behind the 3-point line. Power Forward Naz Reid (6' 10, 240), who thrilled the crowd with dunks, as well as accurate long range shooting, was a force on both offense and defense. Majur Majak, a 7-1, 205-pound center, was given the opportunity to slam down several dunks and used his enormous height and reach advantage to snag rebounds.

"Roselle Catholic is a great team with tremendous talent and size. There is a reason they are ranked 3rd in the state and compete in a national schedule," said second year head coach Steve Siracusa after the game. "I wish we shot and played better tonight, but regardless, it was a great experience for our team and it was an accomplishment in itself earning the 6th seed in the county tournament and making it to the quarterfinals in the first place."

Jack Brady led the Raiders with 10 points and displayed some deft moves against Roselle Catholic's big men. Lamont Cruse used his speed to penetrate and scored 8 points in the game. Cooper Heisey scored 7 points.

"I can't be more proud of our team for how far we came this year and how much we already accomplished.  We still have some big games ahead of us this season, as I hope we play our best basketball yet," Coach Siracusa added.

Roselle Catholic will take on highly ranked Patrick School in Elizabeth on Tuesday in a battle of private school powerhouses. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.

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