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.
St. Anthony’s Beats The Patrick School, Takes Aim As Best Jersey Team
BY JEREMY FUCHS
JERSEY CITY—The ground in New Jersey high school hoops is shaking, and Bob Hurley and St. Anthony’s find themselves as the beneficiary.
In a week where Roselle Catholic and Pope John both lost, St. Anthony’s could be poised to take over as the best team in the state, as they beat The Patrick School 58-37 in the Dan Finn Classic at the Jersey City Armory Saturday night.
Taurean Thompson led all players with 15 points, while Wichita State-bound Markis McDuffie added 11. For St. Patrick’s, star junior guard Bryce Aiken was held to just seven points.
After The Patrick School started the game on a 6-0 run, the Friars collected themselves and proceeded to play a really strong game.
“A slow start to the game for us,” Hurley said afterwards. “Markis came out nervous. It was 6-0, we called a timeout. From that point on, they only scored two points in a very long time. Tightened up on defense, relaxed on the offensive end, started to play with a little more purpose.”
In the second quarter, St. Anthony’s dominated, outscoring their rivals 20-5. At that point, the Celtics were finished.
Thompson, who won MVP honors, was particularly impressive, slamming home a bunch of rebounds and generally causing matchup problems in the post for the Celtics.
“He’s an emerging player,” Hurley said of Thompson. “He’s the recipient of a lot of easy baskets. He has the ability to finish plays. Balls coming from a bunch of guys willing to give it up.”
After the game, Thompson confirmed to SNY.tv that both Rutgers and Temple have been looking at him. The junior forward said he is in no rush to decide.
St. Anthony’s lost a close game earlier in January to Roselle Catholic, but has the type of depth to make a run. Jagen Mosely and R.J. Cole add a lot of scoring and playmaking ability. Thompson, a springy forward who could probably add 20 pounds to his frame, is a really good finisher. McDuffie is a silky smooth swingman who will make a lot of fans happy in Wichita.
For the Patrick School, Aiken was mostly held in check and struggled with foul trouble. Despite that, the guard did have a few ‘wow’ passes. Aiken told SNY.tv after the game that Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Stanford, Seton Hall and Miami are his top schools. The junior guard said he’s not going to make a decision until at least after the season.
“Still looking, just focusing on finishing school,” Aiken told SNY.tv. “Get closer to making my decision after the season.”
St. Pat’s, unable to play in the playoffs, looked sloppy against both Roselle Catholic and St. Anthony’s. With the Friars able to hold their own against Roselle Catholic, there is a chance that it is St. Anthony’s that emerges from a really talented group of Jersey teams.
Hurley, though, cautioned getting too excited.
“It’s the tenth game of the year,” Hurley said. “This was a good performance for the tenth game of the year. The only poll in my world that matters is the end of the season one. Trying to get better every day, this was a step in the right direction.”
Despite his coach’s statements, Thompson was confident.
“With the way we’re working every day, I think we have the potential to be No. 1.”
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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.