Villanova-bound Bryan Antoine leads Ranney over Roselle Catholic in matchup of New Jersey powers | Zagsblog
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Tuesday / March 28.
  • Villanova-bound Bryan Antoine leads Ranney over Roselle Catholic in matchup of New Jersey powers

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    LINCROFT, N.J. — In a game that featured three McDonald’s All-Americans and half a dozen high-major prospects, two of the top teams in the state of New Jersey played an unofficial state championship game on Wednesday night.

    Villanova-bound guard Bryan Antoine went for a game-best 25 points as Ranney, the No. 16 team in the USA Today Top 25, beat Kentucky-bound Kahlil Whitney and Roselle Catholic, ranked 15 nationally, 61-49 before a capacity crowd of 2,400 at Brookdale Community College. Kentucky coach John Calipari sat courtside to support Whitney, who will sign his National Letter of Intent May 3 in his native Chicago. 

    “After we lost to them last year [in Non-Public B final] we had a feeling that we can’t let that happen again,” Antoine said.

    The 6-foot-7 Whitney finished with 15 points in the loss, while junior big man Cliff Omoruyi had 15 and UNLV-bound guard Josh Pierre-Louis 13 with several highlight-reel dunks for RC.

    Senior guard Ahmadu Sarnor tallied 12 for Ranney.

    With the win, Ranney (16-2) made a statement that it can win the school’s first New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in March. Roselle Catholic (17-2) has won three TOC titles since 2013, including last year when the Lions beat Ranney along the way. The two teams could meet again in the loaded Non-Public B bracket, which in the past has featured perennial powers St. Anthony’s and St. Patrick.

    Ranney now owns impressive wins over Roselle Catholic and Jaden McDaniels and Federal Way (WA) at the Hoophall Classic, but also lost to Gill St. Bernard’s. RC, meantime, beat Gill but loss to Ranney and to Norcross (GA) at the Hoophall.

    “Our confidence is probably going to go through the roof,” Antoine said. “As coach tells us you can’t really predict the future, you have to take it step by step.”

    Ranney outscored RC 29-21 in the second half and iced the game midway through the fourth period with a 9-0 run that made it 61-44. It featured a 3-pointer by Florida-bound walk-on Alex Klatsky and three straight dunks by junior Phillip Wheeler, Antoine and Wheeler again.

    “We had 23 turnovers, that’s a lot of turnovers,” Whitney said. “They forced a lot of turnovers. We didn’t execute on offense.”

    Whitney said he’s looking forward to “meeting those guys again,” but “now I’m just trying to get my team to buy in being a team and doing the things that teams do while facing adversity.”

    Whitney said it was nice to see his future college coach on the sideline.

    “I got a lot of respect for Coach [Calipari] and that’s where I’m going next year,” he said.

    Before the game, Whitney, the 6-4 Antoine and 6-5 Florida signee Scottie Lewis (8 points) were honored as McDonald’s All-Americans for the March 17 game in Atlanta. All three are projected 2020 NBA lottery picks according to

    “It was great,” Whitney said. “I didn’t know that they were going to do that for us. To be out there with my parents and be out there with all the other McDonald’s All-Americans, it’s a great experience and it’s something I’m looking forward to down the road.”

    In a first half that produced a slew of dunks, the Panthers took a 32-28 lead behind 17 points from Antoine and 10 from Sarnor.

    Whitney managed just 5 points at the break while going 0-for-4 from the line.

    Omoruyi kept RC in the game with five first-half dunks en route to 11 points.

    Ranney stretched it to 48-39 after three quarters and Antoine 23 had by that point while the Lions struggled offensively and made a number of costly turnovers.

    “The frustrating thing for me is we’ve been working for a while on playing the right way and doing a couple of things that didn’t happen tonight and Ranney played a great game,” RC coach Dave Boff said. “I thought their kids played a good brand of basketball and I’m just disappointed that we didn’t really put our best foot forward.”



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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.