Boys Basketball: Cedar Grove's Third Quarter Run Leads To 52-39 Win Over MKA

Chris Wynne had 11 points for the Panthers in their win on Saturday Credits: Nick Teodoro
Chris Wynne drives the net against MKA on Saturday Credits: Nick Teodoro
Dennis Mitola provided a spark from off the bench with 7 points. Credits: Nick Teodoro
Joe Rufo led the Panther team with 14 points against MKA Credits: Nick Teodoro
Joe Rufo takes a steal all the way to the house. Credits: Nick Teodoro
Sammy Ventola runs the Panther offense. Credits: Nick Teodoro

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Riding behind a strong third quarter scoring run and an impressive defensive effort the Cedar Grove Boys Basketball Team clawed out a 52-39 win over MKA on Saturday.

“They’re a great team, they have a great record. We came out to play right off the bat and when it came down to it at the end we pulled away and got the win,” said senior Joe Rufo.

Tied at 39 late in the third quarter Cedar Grove made its decisive push for a victory. Aided by points from Joe Rufo, and Mike Pronesti among others the Panthers would push on an 11-5 scoring run to give them a 37-31 lead heading into the fourth.

Sign Up for E-News

“All year we’ve been having lapses and our coach told us ‘you can’t have those mental lapses’ so some of us got hot and we gave it to those shooters,” Rufo.

Rufo’s performance was particularly impressive as the senior finished with a game high 13 points. Rufo’s point total came as a substitute player, a role that he’s become accustomed to and thrived at.

“Every player has a role on this team you’ve got to know your role. We have shooters, drivers, defensive players [and] everyone has their role and we stick to our game plan,” said Rufo.

The aforementioned game plan for Cedar Grove was simple, to have fast, aggressive defense that gained additional possessions for their offense. The Panther defensive schemed worked right to plan allowing a mere eight points in the critical first and fourth quarters of the game.

“We defended at a really high level…I think we scouted some guys and looked at what they do on offense as a scheme and I think we really executed on defense,” said Panthers Head Coach T.J Jones.

Cedar Grove struggled early offensively before settling into their rhythm. Joining Rufo in leading the teams offense was Mike Pronesti and Chris Wynne who each tallied double digit points for the Panthers with 14 and 11 respectively.

Honorable mention should also be noted to Sammy Ventola who provided an additional seven points from off the bench. Ventola and Rufo would combine for nearly half of the teams point total for the game, an impressive feat for non-starters.

“They make it easy on games when you can get some production from your bench,” said Jones.

For Cedar Grove the victory improves the team to 6-6 on the season. The team has now won their last two games in a row and will look to continue the winning streak with a softer part of their schedule coming up having two games against teams with losing records in Science Park and Shabazz High School.

“We talk about getting better everyday. This is probably the third game in a row where we’ve played four good quarter," Jones said.  "We want to make it four games in a row with four good quarters of basketball with the goal of playing our best basketball in February."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Students Demand Action to host 'Day of Action' on Columbine Anniversary at Brookdale Park

April 18, 2018

Students Demand Action Essex County will host “April 20 Day of Action: Gun Reform Education Fair” to educate and inform local students about the need for gun reform in our nation, inspire them to be activists, and honor the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

The April 20 event will take place in at Brookdale Park (lower field by Bellevue entrance) in ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

April 16, 2018

April 8, 2018 – April 15, 2018

On April 9, 2018 at 7:50 a.m., Ptl. Jason Rivers responded to a Cedar Street address to take a report of a stolen motor vehicle. The vehicle was stolen from the driveway during the overnight hours. Patrolman Rivers was able to locate the vehicle using an application installed by the dealer on the owner’s phone. Detectives responded to that area in ...

Montville Residents & Twp Committee Ask for Resignation of Committeewoman over Facebook Post

April 15, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee voted to censure Committee Member June Witty for a personal Facebook post she made on April 8 which compared Democrats to Nazis. All four members of the five-person committee asked for her resignation.

The post, a chart which states that Nazis believed in “media mind control,” “no guns,” abortion, and ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Wed, April 25, 7:30 PM

Cedar Grove Public Library , Cedar Grove

The Bellevue Theater: Fade to Black or double ...

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, April 26, 4:00 PM

Alzheimer's NJ Headquarters, Roseland

Alzheimer's 101


Cedar Grove Celebrates Arbor Day

April 24, 2018

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - For Arbor Day again this year, apple trees will be planted at Morgan's Farm.  Please come out to join in a community tree planting event.  Volunteers are asked to please bring shovels.  We’re watching the Apple Orchard grow!

The Township Manager, Thomas Tucci will welcome the volunteers, followed by a flag salute led by Cedar Grove ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...