South Brunswick rolls into state sectional boys’ basketball semifinals

South Brunswick High School boys' basketball player Devin Strickland gets the steal and then flies in for the slam dunk during the team's game against Hightstown High School in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 Tournament on March 5. Strickland scored 16 points in South Brunswick's 84-41 victory over Hightstown to advance to the semifinals.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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South Brunswick High School boys' basketball player Devin Strickland gets the steal and then flies in for the slam dunk during the team's game against Hightstown High School in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 Tournament on March 5. Strickland scored 16 points in South Brunswick's 84-41 victory over Hightstown to advance to the semifinals.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

There was no slowing down the South Brunswick High School boys’ basketball team in its pursuit of advancing to the semifinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 Tournament on March 5 in South Brunswick.

Facing off against Hightstown High School, the team that handed the Vikings their first loss off the season back on Dec. 23, South Brunswick showed the Rams how much better of a team they have become in the second half of the season in a monster way.

The fourth-seeded Vikings forced four turnovers during the first five possessions of the game to get off to a 6-0 run and didn’t look back, rolling to an 84-41 victory over the No. 5 seed, Hightstown, to improve to 23-5 on the season.

“Hightstown did a great job running its set plays in our first meetings and we wanted to come out and disrupt that the best we could,” said South Brunswick coach Joe Hoehman. “When we’re flying around getting deflections and getting on the fast break, we are tough to stop.”

Senior Devin Strickland scored South Brunswick’s first six points on the night and finished with 10 of his 16 points in the first half.

Strickland knocked in a layup off a nice dish by teammate Yathmin Vemula on a set play during the final seconds of the first half to give South Brunswick a 39-24 halftime lead.

Senior Justin Carbone continued his monster stretch over the last nine games for the Vikings, racking up 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half.

Carbone is averaging 22.8 points in the last nine games for the Vikings.

South Brunswick came out on fire in the second half to secure its spot in the semifinals, starting the third quarter on a 21-0 run.

Junior Ty Murchison anchored the run by knocking in back-to-back three pointers and scoring eight points during the run. Murchison finished with 11 points on the night.

Vemula started the run with a steal and a layup to begin the second half and finished with eight points in the victory.

South Brunswick will play Middletown High School South in the state sectional semifinals on March 7.

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