Old Bridge holds off North Brunswick to advance to GMC quarterfinals

Old Bridge High School girls' basketball player Payton Alcorn drives past a host of North Brunswick Township High School defenders to the basket during the first round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament on Feb. 19 in Old Bridge. Old Bridge defeated North Brunswick, 59-56, to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

The excitement, passion and drama of the Greater Middlesex Conference girls’ basketball tournament was felt and seen in full display during the first round when seventh-seeded Old Bridge High School and No. 10 North Brunswick Township High School met on Feb. 19 in Old Bridge.

The two squads battled tooth and nail to a tie with 1:59 left play.

With just under two minutes left for one team to rise up and clinch a spot in the quarterfinals, the hometown crowd saw their Knights clinch its second straight trip to the GMC quarterfinals, hitting three free-throw attempts to defeat North Brunswick, 59-56.

“We’ve been in these situations before and have learned from them,” said Old Bridge coach Alec Alspach. “We’ve learned how to handle adversity and respond in the right way. That’s a sign of a mature team in the playoffs.”

Senior Rachel Kuhl hit two of Old Bridge’s three free-throw attempts to get the victory, going a perfect two-for-two from with 12.2 seconds left to play to make it a three-point game.

Kuhl finished with a team-high 21 points in the victory.

Trailing North Brunswick by two points after one quarter of play, sophomore Payton Alcorn got hot from three-point range to help Old Bridge start the second quarter on a 10-0 run.

Alcorn knocked in three of her four first half three-pointers in the second quarter quarter, leading to the Knights taking a 35-28 lead into the half.

The sophomore had 14 points in the contest. Senior Mia Alcorn racked up nine of her 12 points in the second half to give the Knights three players in double figures.

Old Bridge sank a total of nine three-pointers in the victory and improved to 15-7 on the season.

The Knights will play second-seeded Middlesex High School in the quarterfinals at Middlesex County Community College in Edison on Feb. 22.

Freshman Niyell McCargo and sophomore Megan Farrell both scored a team-high 21 points in the contest for North Brunswick.

Farrell trickled home five three-pointers for North Brunswick, which is 14-8 on the season.

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