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 Hudson Catholic, Sets Up Rematch with Roselle Catholic
BY JEREMY FUCHS
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The last time they met, in a crammed gym in Roselle, it was an instant classic. Roselle Catholic narrowly held on to beat St. Anthony’s 51-48.
After that game, Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff wanted one thing.
“Hopefully we’ll see each other in the state tournament,” Boff said.
He’s gotten his wish. St. Anthony’s beat Hudson Catholic 58-45 Wednesday, to win the New Jersey North Non-Public B title at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
RCbeat Trenton Catholic 72-67 thanks to 34 points from Kentucky-bound point guard Isaiah Briscoe. Now RC (26-4) and St. Anthony’s (28-1) will meet for the third straight year to decide the Non-Public B state champion.
The game is set for 7 p.m. at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, N.J. The winner will move on to the Tournament of Champions.
The Friars got off to a slow start against Hudson Catholic, trailing by one after the first quarter. But that was the end of the sloppiness. In the second quarter, Wichita State-bound forward Markis McDuffie and talented junior forward Taurean Thompson heated up and finished the game with 19 and 10, respectively. McDuffie had 11 rebounds and Thompson had 8.
“I had to be more vocal,” McDuffie said. “I can hype the team up.”
Hudson Catholic’s senior forward Sammy Friday impressed with seven points and had a number of nice moves in the post. Nassir Barrino added eight. Outside of Friday and Barrino, though, Hudson Catholic did not have enough firepower to hang with the talented and deep Friars roster. St. Anthony’s, despite not playing its best game, still was able to cruise to a relatively easy victory.
“We’re just a really good team,” Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley said.
St. Anthony’s guard Jagan Mosely only played 16 minutes with foul trouble, scoring four points. The senior is one of the most explosive guards in the state, as evidenced by his just-missed tomahawk jam down the stretch. He will need to put forth a strong 32-minute effort to help slow down Briscoe and Roselle.
One of New Jersey’s burgeoning rivalries will resume once again, with the athletic and star-powered Roselle Catholic team going up against the well-coached, deep St. Anthony’s team. St. Anthony’s only loss this season has been that game in Roselle, and they’ve lost the last two times in the state finals.
Hurley is not ready to focus on Roselle Catholic.
“We all want to savor this,” Hurley said. “I’m having a half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a small glass of red wine, and I’m out cold.”
But Hurley acknowledged that the matchup will be special.
“Getting a chance to play a team that is a tremendous team, a physical team, our only loss, wow, what a chance,” Hurley said.
Even though they lost to Roselle Catholic, their only loss, Hurley said this is a different St. Anthony’s team.
“We’ve improved,” Hurley said. “The team that was in our fifth game of the season at that point, we weren’t so sure of ourselves.”
It amounts to the two best teams in the state playing for a chance to head to the Tournament of Champions. Forget about the struggles of Seton Hall and Rutgers. March Madness is alive and well in the Garden State.
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.