The John P. Stevens High School boys’ basketball team is fueling up for its run in the tournaments that await the Hawks in the coming weeks.
J.P. Stevens put its foot on the pedal when it cruised past New Brunswick High School, 71-54, on Feb. 8 in New Brunswick.
J.P. Stevens coach Chris Garcia is counting on these final games in the regular season to spark his Hawks.
“It’s very important to finish strong as you come down the stretch to the county tournaments,” Garcia said. “We want to get a good seed in the county tournament, as well as in states. A win like this builds confidence going in. This was huge for us.”
The Hawks will first compete in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, which started for them on Feb. 13 in a rematch against New Brunswick in Edison. After conference tournament action, J.P. Stevens will focus on the state sectional tournament.
The visitors from Edison faced some difficulties stopping New Brunswick’s Ahyan Brown-Miller, who led all scorers with 20 points.
However, the Hawks relied on a balance attack to post the victory.
“I just think that we played with a lot of energy tonight,” Garcia said after the game. “We were able to maneuver through their pressures, and we got to the free-throw line a lot. We tried to take away their best player as best as we could, but there’s only so much you can do against him. He’s really good. Overall, I just think we played really well tonight.”
Junior Kasi Hazzard led J.P. Stevens with 19 points, while senior Elisha Smith followed up with 18 points. Senior Tyrese Conover contributed to the victory with 14 points.
The Hawks started with a 16-8 effort in the first quarter and then broke away with 23 points in the third.
The victory lifted the Hawks to 9-11 on the season.