Veteran leadership can keep a steady hand as the Colts Neck High School boys’ basketball team travels through the state tournament.
Colts Neck relied on its seniors when the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournament began a week ago.
Colts Neck, the top seed in the section, survived when it avoided an upset with a 74-66 victory in overtime against 16th-seeded Monroe Township High School on Feb. 27 in Colts Neck.
Senior guard Ben Bosland believed it was veteran leadership that sent the Cougars past Monroe.
“A lot of our lineup are seniors,” he said. “We didn’t want our season to end in a first-round upset, so we got some timely stops and timely baskets in overtime. When they hit that shot to send it to overtime, we all rallied around each other and said that we weren’t going to lose.”
The Cougars held a big lead, but Monroe forced overtime at 63-63 when senior guard Luke Patel sank a 3-point basket at the buzzer. However, Colts Neck pulled away with an 11-3 effort in the extra session.
Bosland believed the victory over Monroe would serve as a wake-up call to the Cougars.
“This is going to help us a lot,” he said. “It’s a big confidence booster. We haven’t been playing well as of recent, but we know that now that it really counts, we need to step up and keep the momentum going.”
The Cougars played ninth-seeded Middletown High School South in the quarterfinals on March 1 in Colts Neck, where they won by a score of 57-48. Bosland and senior Danny Gaines each had 16 points in the win. Ryan Purcell scored 30 points for Middletown South.
The Cougars continued their run in the semifinals with a 58-40 victory over fifth-seeded Montgomery High School on March 3 in Colts Neck. Gaines led the way with 22 points, while Bosland posted 12 points.
Colts Neck was scheduled to close out its bid for the Central Jersey, Group 4 championship when it hosted seventh-seeded Trenton Central High School in the final on March 5. The Cougars entered the game with a 19-7 record.