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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.
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Saturday / December 16.
  • Brown to Suit Up as PC Faces St. Anthony

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    **See St. Anthony Coach Bob Hurley talk about the state tournament here.

    **And read my Rivals story on Paterson Catholic guard Jayon James here.

    Paterson Catholic will get an emotional boost Monday when Fordham-bound wing Lance Brown suits up to play against St. Anthony in a can’t-miss semifinal showdown in the New Jersey North Non-Public B state tournament.

    The teams will tip at 6 at The CERC in Jersey City.

    “I’m playing,” the 6-foot-2 Brown, who underwent knee surgery Jan. 8, wrote Sunday night in a text message. “I feel real good. I practiced today and yesterday and it feels good. I’ve been icing it all day and night and I’m going to play.”

    Brown has been in and out of the PC lineup since injuring his knee in December against Plainfield. He entered in the waning seconds of the Passaic final to can a 3-pointer against Kennedy and then played briefly when the Cougars hammered Dwight-Englewood in the state sectional quarterfinals.

    Now he wants to help the Cougars (25-4) win a state title.

    “I think they can beat a St. Anthony,” Kennedy coach Jim Ring said last weekend after the Cougars beat the Knights for the Passaic County championship. “They have the talent that they could get there [to the Tournament of Champions]. They’re very, very good. They’re the best team we’ve played all year. Case closed. No one’s even a close second.”

    Top-seeded St. Patrick (25-3), the favorite to win this year’s Tournament of Champions, will face St. Mary of the Assumption in the other semifinal .

    The winners will meet Wednesday at 8 o’clock at Rutgers.

    The Friars (24-4) beat the Cougars 84-71 in last year’s semis en route to winning their 10th Tournament of Champions title, but this year could be different.

    St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley concedes that this year’s team is not the same as last year’s. Only Villanova-bound wing and McDonald’s All-American Dominic Cheek (14.2 ppg) returns from that core group.

    “We’re really not defending it because we have different people trying to play,” Hurley said in an interview you can see here. “I think it will be a real challenge. Our state tournament with St. Patrick and Paterson Catholic is one of the strongest in the United States and the winner of the North has a great chance to win the whole thing.”

    St. Anthony’s guards are not nearly as strong as they were last year, and so PC’s guards of Myles Mack (13.9 ppg, 5 apg), Jayon James (8.5 ppg, 7.0 apg) and freshman Kyle Anderson will have to pressure them and also push the tempo.

    St. Anthony’s bigs – Derrick Williams, Ashton Pankey and Devon Collier — are still finding their way in Hurley’s system and the team has not played as uptempo as last year because some of the bigs aren’t quick enough.

    St. Anthony has also proven vulnerable this year on its home court. Long Island Lutheran went into Jersey City and beat St. Anthony last month, giving the Friars their first home loss in six years.

    Still, if PC can push the tempo and create chances for James, Edwin and Mack in the open floor, they can pull the upset.

    The key will be going into that game with enough confidence that they can get it done.

    “They have to take the court against the better teams now that they’re going to possibly see, whether it’s St. Anthony on the road or St. Pat’s on a neutral setting, they have to go out there believing that they can win,” Ring said. “And if they do, they’re a very, very tough team.”

    **Speaking of St. Patrick, Indiana assistant coach Roshown McLeod went to the school Saturday to check out practice. IU is working hard on junior guard Kyrie Irving. IU is also involved with 6-6 junior guard Ronald Roberts of St. Peter’s Prep and Plainfield sophomore guard Tyrone Johnson.

    NON-PUBLIC B STATE CHAMPS SINCE 1980

    1980 – St. Anthony

    1981 – St. Anthony

    1982 – St.  Augustine Prep  (Richland)

    1983 – St. Anthony

    1984 – St. Anthony

    1985 – St. Anthony

    1986 – St. Anthony

    1987 – St. Anthony

    1988 – St. Anthony

    1989 – St. Anthony

    1990 – St. Anthony

    1991 – St. Anthony

    1992 – Marist (Bayonne)

    1993 – St. Anthony

    1994 – Paterson Catholic

    1995 – St. Anthony

    1996 – St. Anthony

    1997 – St. Anthony

    1998 – St. Patrick

    1999 – St. Augustine

    2000 – St. Patrick

    2001 – St. Anthony

    2002 – St. Anthony

    2003 – St. Patrick

    2004 – St. Anthony

    2005 – St. Patrick

    2006 – St. Patrick

    2007 – St. Patrick

    2008 – St. Anthony

    **In North 1, Group 4, Robert Morris-bound guard Karon Abraham dropped 20 points and Paterson Eastside beat Paterson Kennedy 77-61.

    **St. Joe’s-bound guard Justin Crosgile scored his 2,000th career point when he tallied 31 in a 67-62 loss to St. Peter’s Prep in North Non-Public A. He is the fourth player in Passaic County history to reach the 2,000-point plateau and the first boy since Tim Thomas did it in1996.

    “It was great to get the 2,000 points,” Crosgile told The Record. “I was hoping we would get the win with it, but everything happens for a reason.

    “You have to live with it and move on.”

    (Photos courtesy Bergen Record/Herald News)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.