By Jimmy Allinder
With one more mountain to climb, the East Brunswick High School boys basketball team will have returned to familiar territory and play rival Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament championship game.
The Falcons prevented the Bears from winning the crown in 2013 and 2014, and Colonia High School interrupted East Brunswick’s streak a year ago by eliminating the Bears in the semifinals. This year, sixth-seeded East Brunswick gained a measure of revenge by knocking off the third-seeded Patriots, 81-71, in the quarterfinals. That propelled the Bears to the semifinals game against second-seeded South Brunswick High School Feb. 23.
While the seeds might indicate the Vikings would be favored, the previous two games between the opponents show that may not be the case. East Brunswick lost by a point in the first encounter in mid-January and scored a convincing 81-68 win in the second game played two weeks ago.
Leading the way in the Colonia triumph was senior Michael Vick, who deposited 27 points, including eight free throws in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter when the Patriots attempted a comeback.
“He’s been there before, and Mike is really one of the better players in the conference,” East Brunswick coach Mark Motusesky said. “As a team, we have a lot of familiarity with playing these kinds of games, so we’re looking forward to this opportunity.”
The East Brunswick girls advanced to the championship finals Feb. 25 at Kean University with a 44-40 victory over Bishop George Ahr High School Feb. 22. The third-seeded Bears met Monroe Township High School, which made its second consecutive trip to the finals by topping South Brunswick, 56-48.