Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Aiken, Delgado Lead The Patrick School to Union Final
By JOHN PAVIA Special to ZAGSBLOGUNION, N.J. — In a matchup between two of the best teams in New Jersey, The Patrick School prevailed over Roselle Catholic, 73-51, in the Union Country Tournament semifinals at Kean University on Wednesday.
It was a balanced and complete effort from The Patrick School ,which had five players score in double figures. The high scorer for them was 2016 point guard Bryce Aiken, who finished with 18 points and played a very composed game against two of the premier guards in the state, Isaiah Briscoe (20 points) and Asante Gist (12).
Delgado, Aiken and The Patrick School will face Cincinnati-bound Quadri Moore and his Linden team in the finals of the Union County Tournament on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Kean University. Moore went for 18 points and Juwan Jones tallied 20 as Linden downed Plainfield, 63-44, in the second semifinal.
In the first game, Aiken did a tremendous job orchestrating the offense for his teammates, scoring when openings were presented to him and played tough defense on Gist for the majority of the game, limiting him to only 12 points.
“It’s always fun playing against other high-level guards [Briscoe and Gist] because that’s your competition when you’re going to rankings for college and everything like that,” Aiken told SNY.tv. “It definitely shows you how you’re matched up and the places you’ve got to improve on. So you know, it’s always fun playing against other high-level guards.
Coach Chris Chavannes of The Patrick School told SNY.tv he was pleased with Aiken’s play of late.
“I’m very pleased with him,” he said. “I think that was a challenge to him, that’s one of the reasons why he wanted to come here [Aiken transferred from Pope John XXIII to The Patrick School this year] was to help change his game and become more a pure point. Tonight he did a great job of again just being a facilitator and guarding the ball and being a leader on the floor and showing poise or whatever. And I think he probably did that better tonight than any other game that we’ve had, except maybe California, I thought he did a great job there too.”
Aiken, who is only a sophomore, currently holds offers from Seton Hall, Rutgers, Detroit, Manhattan and Auburn. He also mentioned that a lot of high-major schools are showing interest in him as well.
His teammate, Seton Hall-bound Angel Delgado also had a big hand in The Patrick School’s win on Tuesday also. Delgado finished with 10 points and a high number of rebounds, but he also kept Roselle Catholic’s Chris Silva on the bench for much of the first half after his work in the post caused Silva to pick up two quick fouls in the first quarter.
Without Silva, Delgado and senior Daniel Knight (15 points) attacked the offensive glass relentlessly for rebounds and second-chance points. Delgado was also the final line of defense near the rim and due to the good ball pressure from his teammates, they did not allow many easy looks at the rim for Briscoe or Gist.
Delgado also hinted that he wouldn’t mind having Briscoe join him at Seton Hall, who is recruiting him very hard.
“Sometimes I’ve talked to him [about Seton Hall] and he’s a good player,” he said. “I’d like to have him on my team at Seton Hall, but it’s his decision.”
Delgado said he wants to bring his best game to Seton Hall next year and will give coach Kevin Willard “not 100 percent, but 200 percent.”
When pressed about what he thinks Delgado can bring to Seton Hall next year, Chavannes raved about his rebounding ability.
“Well, he’s one of the best rebounders period in the country,” he said. “I mean, he’s just an outstanding rebounder. I think we’ve got to really improve defensively, but I think one of the saving graces for him is that he just rebounds like, and we’ve had some tremendous rebounders at The Patrick School like Mike Gilchrist and DeAndre [Bembry] last year, but he takes it to another level. He’s one of the best rebounders I’ve seen in the 20 some-odd years I’ve been associated with the school.”
Photo: Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.