Bombers, Knights reach finals of holiday hoops tournaments

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By Warren Rappleyea

Boys’ basketball

Sayreville War Memorial High School’s Ryan O’Leary and Old Bridge High School’s Kyle Parris turned in strong performances to lead their respective teams to the finals in holiday basketball tournaments.

The Bombers made their way to the finals of the Albert E. Martin “Buc” Classic at Red Bank Regional High School before bowing to Mater Dei Prep. Sayreville was down by nine points at the half but managed to cut the lead to four, but the Seraphs were able to recover and pull away in the final quarter.

O’Leary led his team with 12 points, and Henderson Mautes added seven points. In the Blue and Gray’s exciting semifinal victory over Middletown High School North, 65-64, the senior pumped in 22 points, including five 3-points, and Xavier Townes added 11 points.

O’Leary 17 points paced the Bombers in an opening-round success against St. John Vianney High School. Townes added eight points, as Sayreville built a 16-7 lead in the first quarter and never really looked back.

Coach John Wojcik’s team is now 5-2 on the season heading into a busy week that saw Sayreville scheduled to visit Gill St. Bernard’s School Jan. 2 before returning home to host Woodbridge High School Jan. 4. The Bombers will be at Colonia High School Jan. 6 and home again against Bayonne High School the following day.

Parris scored 58 points in Old Bridge’s three games in the Husky Holiday Classic at Matawan Regional High School. The Knights easily got past Edison High School, 57-39, in the opening round, as Parris hit for 17 points and Brandon Millings added 10 point. Parris came up big in overtime when Old Bridge squeaked by Union High School, 55-53, in the semifinals. His put back with time remaining won the game and gave Parris 29 points to go with nine rebounds.

In the finale, Old Bridge fell, 41-38, to Ocean Township High School in a defensive battle, despite 12 points by Parris. The Knights led, 29-28, after three quarters.

The low scores throughout the tournament were a good sign for coach Jim Macomber’s team, which is 4-2.

Old Bridge was slated to return to action Jan. 3 at East Brunswick High School. On Jan. 5, the Knights will entertain John P. Stevens High School and Bishop George  Ahr High School will visit Jan. 7.

“We have to play defense better than in the past because we don’t have the pure scorers,” Macomber said. “It has to be a team effort.”

Girls’ basketball

In girls’ basketball, Sayreville bested Donovan Catholic High School, 81-45, in the consolation round of the WOBM Classic in Toms River. Six Bombers scored in doubles figures, led by Isi Enahoro, who had 14 points. Katie Esposito and Morenike Akinrefon added 13 points apiece.

Previously, the Bombers lost a 65-51 decision against Toms River High School North in the quarterfinals. Sayreville had a strong second half but could not erase the 14-point deficit. Ryane Brush and Enahoro scored 14 points each.

The Bombers (5-1) were scheduled to be at South Plainfield High School Jan. 3 and will host Bishop Ahr Jan. 5 before heading to Monroe Township High School Jan. 7.

Old Bridge (3-3) had a solid showing in the Lady Wave Tournament in Long Branch. The Lady Knights downed Point Pleasant Beach High School, 51-20, in the opening round, as Amanda Carney scored 23 points, including her 1,000th career point, and freshman Rachel Kuhl impressed with 12 points.

In the semifinals, it was Old Bridge scoring a 63-35 win over Pinelands Regional High School. Carney again led the way, this time with 28 points, and Kuhl added 16 points. In the championship tilt, Barnegat High School came away with a 50-43 win, despite a 24-point effort by Kuhl.

The Lady Knights were slated to resume the regular season at home against East Brunswick Jan. 3. On Jan. 5, Old Bridge is set to visit J.P. Stevens before traveling to Spotswood High School Jan. 7.