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Saint Thomas Aquinas, South Brunswick advance to GMC boys’ basketball final

South Brunswick High School boys' basketball player Andrew Tesser drives past St. Joseph Metuchen High School's Kody Robinson to the basket during the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament on Feb. 26. South Brunswick defeated Saint Joseph Metuchen, 88-77, in double overtime to advance to the finals of the tournament.

The boys’ basketball final of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament is set.

The Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and the South Brunswick High School boys’ basketball teams will battle for the GMC tournament championship on Feb. 28 at Middlesex County Community College in Edison.

In what will go down as one of the best semifinal games in GMC tournament history, the No. 4 seed, South Brunswick, upset the No. 1 seed, Saint Joseph Regional High School, with an 88-77 double overtime victory on Feb. 26 at New Brunswick High School. 

Once up 11 points late in the third quarter, South Brunswick found itself down, 69-67, with 19 seconds to go in regulation against the Metuchen school.

Senior Justin Carbone stepped up big time for the Vikings, knocking down a jumper in the final seconds to help South Brunswick gain overtime.

Carbone finished with a game-high 27 points in the victory. 

South Brunswick roared to victory with the game tied 73-73 going in double overtime, outscoring the Falcons, 15-4, in the extra period to win its ninth straight contest.

“When we are playing fast, that’s when we are our best,” said South Brunswick coach Joe Hoehman. “We knew this year we could make it back into the top of the county. This is definitely a special win for us. Everyone contributed in one way or another.”

Senior Devin Strickland scored eight of his 16 points in overtime for the Vikings, while South Brunswick teammate Yathmin Vermula scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half.

South Brunswick now stands at 21-4 on the season and is 14-1 in its last 15 games.

For second-seeded Saint Thomas Aquinas, it was business as usual against sixth-seeded Edison High School in the other GMC semifinal that was played on Feb. 26 at New Brunswick High.

Despite not having star player Quadry Adams, who was out with an injury, Saint Thomas Aquinas rolled to past the Eagles to a 72-55 victory to advance to the GMC title game.

“This is the best group of kids I have ever had,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas coach Bob Turco. “The chemistry is unbelievable. The guys have bought in and have gotten after it.” 

The Trojans had three players in double figures in the victory, led by junior Kyree Henry, who scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half.

Sophomore Jaquan Harris knocked in 17 points for Saint Thomas Aquinas, with teammate Tristian Jefferies scoring 10 points in the victory.

Saint Thomas Aquinas is now 22-4 on the season and is currently on an 11-game winning streak.

The Trojans will look to win their first conference championship since 1992, while South Brunswick will try to capture its first GMC tournament title in program history.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports


Saint Thomas Aquinas High School boys' basketball player Kyree Henry grabs the rebound and starts the fast break during the team's game against Edison High School on Feb. 26 in the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament. Henry scored a team-high 20 points to help Saint Thomas Aquinas defeat Edison, 72-55, and advance to the finals of the tournament.
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