By Jimmy Allinder
It was an old-fashion knock-down, drag-out turf war between two combatants with common geography, with the team executing the best game plan winning in the end.
That was the Bishop George Ahr High School (19-5 overall, 12-2 White Division) girls’ basketball team, which broke open a close game for three quarters to finally put away Edison High School, 64-53, in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament quarterfinals Feb. 18.
The Eagles (15-9 overall, 8-6 Red Division) proved their 10th seed should have been higher by disposing of seventh-seeded and Blue Division champion South River High School, 59-29, two days earlier. However, Trojans coach Brittney Griffin had studied Edison’s offensive tendencies extensively on film and remained faithful to her strategy, even after falling behind by as much as eight points in the first half.
“Edison’s perimeter shooters, [Samira Sargent and Madison Reddy], get open when defenses collapse on them when they penetrate,” Griffin said. “We were ready for that.”
The key to stopping the Eagles was Bishop Ahr’s superior height with junior Sarah Decker and freshman Emma Boslet, who continually denied attempts to penetrate the paint. Edison was eventually forced to take shots that often missed, leading to the Trojans’ own scoring opportunities. Boslet (21 points), Decker (16) and senior Brianna Jackson (19) keyed the fourth-quarter surge.
Second-seeded Bishop Ahr moved on to the semifinals Feb. 21 against third-seeded South Brunswick High School, which is where the game the contest will be waged. If victorious, the Trojans will meet the winner of the other semifinal between top-seeded Sayreville War Memorial High School (22-2 overall, 14-0 White Division) and fourth-seeded Piscataway Township High School (14-10 overall, 10-5 Red Division).
Bishop Ahr and South Brunswick clashed in January, with the Trojans coming away with a 47-45 victory, but Griffin didn’t put much stock in that outcome.
“We felt good about the game but not because we won,” she said. “We were able to experience how they play, and that was valuable. They have outstanding offensive players, and we just need to stick to what we do best, which is limiting their scoring opportunities.”
That’s exactly how the Trojans defeated Edison.
The championship game is Feb. 24 at Rutgers University and will be the first game of a doubleheader, with the boys’ title tilt following.
Top-seeded Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen (23-2 overall, 9-1 Red Division) remained the area’s only boys’ team in the GMC Tournament and met fourth-seeded Woodbridge High School in the semifinals Feb. 22 at South Brunswick.
The Falcons advanced with an 81-59 victory over ninth-seeded Piscataway Feb. 19 in the quarterfinals. If it defeated Woodbridge, St. Joe’s will meet the winner of second-seeded South Brunswick and third-seeded Sayreville for the championship.
Middle school hoops
Both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at Edgar Middle School in Metuchen have enjoyed successful seasons, with one of the highlights being the second annual Pink Game Feb. 7.
The opposition was provided by John Adams Middle School in Edison, and Edgar won both games, 64-49 (boys) and 46-39 (girls).
“Our teams donated food and drinks, and the theme of the evening was ‘Playing for a Cure,’ ” Edgar boys’ coach Ed Albanese said. “We held shooting competitions, sold bracelets and were able to raise over $600 that was donated to the National Foundation of Cancer Research.”
Also involved in helping with the evening’s planning and events was Edgar girls’ coach and teacher Beth McLaughlin.
At the time the game was played, the boys were 12-0 and the girls were 10-1.
Area high school varsity bowling teams receive most of the publicity and rightly so, however, a recent tournament enabled sub-varsity members to be in the spotlight.
The format featured schools entering two-person teams, with each bowling three games. Individual high games, high series and the top three scores in both boys’ and girls’ divisions were recognized.
Among area high schools that participated, John P. Stevens High School’s Roya Varshney rolled the high series (380), and Varshney and Sacchi Adhita placed first with a 738 score.
On the boys’ side, St. Joe’s Zach Abbey and Joey Maurer finished second with an 1109 series.