The East Brunswick High School boys’ basketball team was searching for a victory that was very much needed at the time.
And East Brunswick was able to attain that triumph when John P. Stevens High School paid a call to East Brunswick on Jan. 2 for a Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division matchup.
Opening up the new year in style, East Brunswick snapped its two-game losing streak with a 48-34 victory to improve to 2-3 on the season.
“We need this win,” said East Brunswick coach Mark Motusesky. “The way we moved the ball on offense allowed us to get good looks at the basket. A lot of layups. I was very pleased with how we played for the first three quarters of the game.”
J.P. Stevens came into the contest off a solid 52-47 victory over Perth Amboy Technical High School, but were unable to slow down East Brunswick from getting off to a 8-0 run to begin the game and couldn’t come back from its early deficit and fell to 2-3 on the season.
“We’re a young team with not a lot of varsity experience,” said J.P. Stevens coach Chris Garcia. “We didn’t play to our potential and East Brunswick played very well. They executed, while we did not. Our goal is for the kids to buy in and continue to improve throughout the season.”
The Bears took a 12-6 lead into the second quarter and stretched their lead to 21-11 with 4:45 to go till halftime when Max Tischhauser drained a three-pointer from the left wing.
Tischhauser scored all seven of his points in the second quarter for East Brunswick.
Sophomore Justin Black helped extend East Brunswick’s lead going into the half.
After knocking home a bucket to make it a 13-point lead for the Bears, Black showed off his great point guard skills to score in the final seconds of the first half.
The sophomore drove hard to the basket and stopped on a dime by the free-throw line to drill a pull-up jumper with two seconds left to give East Brunswick a 25-11 lead going into halftime.
“I just had to pull that off in the final seconds,” Black said. “Coach (Motusesky) called the play and I made the shot.”
Black scored seven of his nine points in the first half.
East Brunswick came out firing in the second half, freshman Jalen Pichardo in particular, scoring all six of his points to help the Bears get on a 11-2 run to begin the third quarter and extend their lead to 36-13.
Junior forward Brendan Devlin kept the Bears rolling after their hot start to the third quarter, scoring two more baskets down in the paint to get the East Brunswick lead up to 25 with 2:31 to go in the quarter.
Devlin finished with a team-high 10 points in his first career varsity start, scoring six of those points in the third quarter.
“I was running the court really well,” Devlin said. “I was able to get a lot of rebounds and play well on the defensive end. The little things helped the team and I stand out to get the win.”
In total, the Bears outscored the Hawks 17-9 in the third quarter to go up 42-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
J.P. Stevens didn’t go quietly however, as freshman Keyshawn Winchester, got the Hawks on a roll begin the fourth quarter by scoring five straight points.
Winchester had a stellar fourth quarter of play, scoring 13 of his game-high 16 points in the quarter to give J.P. Stevens a little momentum going into its next game against Perth Amboy on Jan. 4
Junior Nas Majied scored six points in the contest for J.P. Stevens.
“Keyshawn has a very bright future,” Garcia said. “His aggressiveness and effort was unmatched. I love seeing that in a young player. As long as our guys keep buying in and believe in each other, I think we’ll get better and surprise some teams down the stretch.”
East Brunswick’s next game will also be against Perth Amboy, with the Bears playing the Panthers on the road on Jan. 7.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports