SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Even if the lights were still on in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School gym Tuesday night, the Raiders came close to shooting them out with a blowout victory over Hillside, 71-43.
The contest began in the first quarter, and that’s where the Raiders gave the Comets the belief that the game would be over.
The Raiders stormed out to a 9-2 spurt in the first 3:03 minutes of the game, capped by a rim-rattling dunk by senior Nigel Nelson. The slam by Nelson was the swagger the Raiders were looking to exhibit all game long.
“We played with a lot of confidence tonight,” SPFHS head coach Steve Siracusa said. “We realized we had to get back to playing better basketball.”
The offense didn’t stop after that for the Raiders as they continued to mount a 15-2 lead before Hillside was able to get a basket since their first shot with 2:57 left in the quarter.
After the first quarter ended with a 19-5 SPFHS lead, the offense and defense continued to click into the next period. The Raiders ability to contain the Comets in the paint with multiple strips and blocks keyed a potent transition offense all game.
“We look back and we realize our best basketball is when we’re pressing (our opponents) and creating a lot of turnovers on the defensive end and rebounds to get going on offense,” Siracusa said. ”We’re trying to get back to the basics that made us so successful early on in the year. We emphasized that yesterday (in practice) and it showed today.”
SPFHS would end the half up 30 on Hillside, taking a 42-12 lead into the break. The offensive outburst for the Raiders was led by a trio of juniors of Jack Brady, Lamont Cruse, Cooper Heisey, and Ryan Muench. Brady was the leading scorer of the pack, finishing with eight of his 12 points in the first half. Cruse, Heisey an Muench each scored 8 points.
The Raiders would finish out the game with the same intensity all game to wrap up another win and extend their record to 21-4.
Looking forward, Siracusa is ready for the next matchup against Roselle.
“They got the best of us the first game and we’re still disappointed with that outcome,” Siracusa said. “We’re looking forward to gearing up against them.”
SPFHS will play against Roselle away Thursday night while Hillside will square up against Governor Livingston Thursday on the road.