Tournaments are the time of the year when players step up with big performances. Here are some local players who delivered with crucial efforts in the tournaments and in the regular season.
On the boys’ basketball scene …
Letrell West produced an offensive show in leading Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen to two victories last week, including a triumph in the second round of the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament.
West registered 34 points and nine rebounds Feb. 13 when Saint Joseph defeated Christ the King High School, 85-66, in regular-season play. Malachi Walker contributed to the victory with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Three days later in the county tournament, West again rung up 34 points when the Falcons advanced with a 74-60 victory over Edison High School. Zach Martini collected 13 rebounds and 10 points for the Falcons against Edison.
Michael Urgarte of South Brunswick High School also enjoyed a memorable week. He reached 1,000 points for his career when he sank 14 points in South Brunswick’s 53-42 victory over New Egypt High School Feb. 13. In the GMC Tournament Feb. 16, Ugarte finished with 16 points when he guided South Brunswick to the quarterfinals in a 52-49 victory over Perth Amboy High School.
Kyle Parris fired in 22 points to lead Old Bridge High School past East Brunswick High School, 68-58, and into the quarterfinals of the GMC Tournament.
Wooodbridge High School punched a ticket to the GMC Tournament quarterfinals behind Keshaun Henry, who popped in 18 points in 74-51 triumph over South Plainfield High School.
Derrick Whitaker achieved 1,000 points for his career at South River High School. In a regular-season game Feb. 16, Whitaker poured in 33 points to reach 1,000 and guide South River past Middlesex County Vocational Technical School of Piscataway, 85-75.
The Ranney School, the No. 2 seed in the Shore Conference Tournament (SCT), and top-seeded Mater Dei Prep are headed to a third showdown of the season when the championship game is played Feb. 25 at Monmouth University. Ranney and Mater Dei have split their two games this winter.
In second-round SCT action Feb. 16, Bryan Antoine clicked on 27 points in Ranney’s 76-53 victory over Saint Rose High School, while Kenny Jones put in 20 points to steer Mater Dei past Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School, 78-35.
Middletown High School North reached the quarterfinals of the SCT when Rob Higgins flipped in 25 points in a 66-59 triumph over Colts Neck High School. Dave Campbell helped in the victory with 22 points, while Colts Neck received 20 points from Ben Bosland.
Jack Solano hit for 21 points when Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School won a second-round matchup in the SCT — a 63-48 victory over Central Regional High School.
In girls’ basketball play …
Josie Larkins came through with a memorable week. In regular-season play Feb. 14, Larkins erupted for 30 points, connecting on 13 of her 14 free throws, when she guided RBC to a 62-60 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven in a game that featured two teams that will be in the hunt to win the SCT title. Katie Rice added 19 points for RBC, while Tori Hyduke scored 19 to lead Rumson-Fair Haven.
Two days later, Larkins scored 17 points and attained 1,000 points for her career in RBC’s 60-35 victory over Colts Neck in the second round of the SCT. Larkins, who stood with 1,016 points when the game ended, is the 10th player in the highly successful RBC program to reach 1,000 points.
Alexandra Balsamo, who is one of the top weapons in the area, netted 19 points in Middletown High School South’s 64-58 victory over Manchester Township High School in the second round of the SCT.
Saint John Vianney High School — a candidate to gain a berth in the SCT finals Feb. 25 at Monmouth University — gained the quarterfinals with a 56-28 victory over Howell High School.
Over in the GMC Tournament, Sayreville War Memorial High School remained in contention for a place in the title game Feb. 24 at Rutgers University when the Bombers defeated Spotswood High School, 78-51, in the second round Feb. 15.
Sayreville’s effort was carried by Ryane Bush, who recorded 24 points and seven rebounds. Contributing to the victory was Isi Enahoro, who ended with 17 points and 10 steals.
Emma Boslet finished with 24 points and seven rebounds when Bishop George Ahr High School gained a spot in the quarterfinals with a 68-35 victory over South Plainfield.
Ambor Brown collected 21 points and seven rebounds when South Brunswick eliminated Middlesex High School, 63-27, in the second round.
Edison moved to the quarterfinals behind Samira Sargent, who scored 14 points in the Eagles’ 59-29 decision against South River.
Wrestlers shined at the districts …
Howell followed its NJSIAA Group V state team title victory by capturing the team championship in District 22, which was wrestled at Howell Feb. 18.
The spearhead to Howell’s title was freshman phenom Shane Reitsma, who knocked off rival Liam McDermott for the second time this season, 12-5, in the 170-pound finals. That resulted in Reitsma being named the District 22 Outstanding Wrestler.
For the season, Reitsma, is 35-0, while McDermott slipped to 25-2, with both defeats coming against the Howell freshman.
Four other Shore Conference teams joined Howell as district champions.
Raritan High School won District 20, Manalapan High School claimed District 21, Long Branch High School placed first at District 23 and Ocean Township High School gained the title at District 24.