The South Brunswick High School boys’ basketball team has taken the the Greater Middlesex Conference by storm during its last eight games.
South Brunswick, which rolled to an 82-52 victory over Old Bridge High School in South Brunswick on Jan. 23 to improve to 7-1 in the stretch, has shown that it has the talent and offensive prowess to compete with anyone in the conference.
“We have a high ceiling and have high hopes for the season,” said South Brunswick coach Joe Hoehman. “We’re starting to understand our identity. Flying around and causing havoc on defense and then getting out in transition, works for us. We have guys that score in the open floor and guys that can shoot the basketball. It’s been a fun year so far.”
South Brunswick recorded 10 three-pointers and scored over 80 points for the fourth time this season in its victory over Old Bridge to improve to 9-3 on the season.
It’s been a different story for Old Bridge on the other hand, with the Knights dropping to 2-11 on the season and still struggling to piece everything together as a team.
Coach Jim Macomber believes his Old Bridge team has the talent and work ethic to find its groove and be a competitive club during the second half of the season.
“We’re grinding right now,” Macomber said. “We’re looking to work on our toughness and hopefully come county tournament time, we can be a team that can upset somebody. We haven’t given up and are working hard everyday to find ways to win a game.”
Old Bridge’s zone defense couldn’t contain the Vikings from behind the arch to start the game as South Brunswick knocked in five three-pointers in the first quarter to get out to a 15-12 lead.
Senior Devin Strickland led South Brunswick on a 10-3 surge to begin the second quarter, helping the Vikings take a 25-15 lead with 2:51 to play till the half with a great steal to start the fast break and then getting the assist on teammate Ty Murchison’s jumper.
Strickland scored seven points in the second quarter as the Vikings held a 32-20 lead into halftime
Senior Justin Carbone led the South Brunswick charge in the third quarter, starting off the second half by banging home his third three-pointer of the night.
Carbone connected on 10 of his game-high 22 points in the third period, finishing his night by swishing in his fourth three-pointer during the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. The senior also had a nice assist on teammate Yathin Vemula’s ally oop layup that put the Vikings up by a count of 66-50 in the fourth quarter.
“My teammates helped me get open and I’m going to take shots when I’m open,” Carbone said. “I know I can knock down (three-point) shots. We always look to play together. The only thing I care about is helping my team win games.”
South Brunswick took a 54-40 lead into the fourth quarter after senior Andrew Tesser showed great hustle in the final seconds of the third quarter to get the offensive rebound and hit a jump shot before the buzzer.
Tesser’s three-point play started South Brunswick’s 28-point fourth quarter to seal up its ninth victory of the season.
Strickland finished with 21 points in the victory and is averaging a team-high 20.2 points a game. Carbone is second on the team with 18.5 points a game.
South Brunswick is averaging just under 71 points a game this season and has scored over 80 in three of its last five games.
“Coming into the season, we knew we had the talent to be at the top of the GMC. We just had to put it together,” Strickland said. “We came together as a unit and as a family in the spring. We have to come out with a lot of energy and give everything we have every time we get on the court.”
Senior Ryan De la Cuesta led Old Bridge with 18 points (four three-pointers) in the contest, while teammate Ryan Witte finished with 12 points in the loss.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports