Villanova commit Matthew Hodge leads St. Rose at Metro Classic, eyes clash with No. 1 Montverde | Zagsblog
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Friday / June 21.
  • Villanova commit Matthew Hodge leads St. Rose at Metro Classic, eyes clash with No. 1 Montverde

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    By DORIAN ALERTE

    SOMERSET, N.J. — In the nightcap of the first night of the Metro Classic, Franklin High School saw
    a back-and-forth battle result in a 20-point victory for the St. Rose Purple Roses, the No. 1 team in New Jersey.

    St. Rose held off No. 19 Union Catholic after a fourth-quarter surge from brothers
    Matthew and Jayden Hodge.

    “I think we did a great job,” Jayden Hodge said after putting up 24 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals.. “We came out a little soft in the beginning and then in the last quarter we came out more aggressive. We told each other, ‘We gotta win this game and we gotta play more aggressive on the defensive end, hit shots,’ and that’s what we did and that’s how we got the win.”

    The Purple Roses led 41-31 at the half, but a quiet third quarter allowed the Vikings to close
    within 3 points at 48-45. Fifteen seconds into the fourth quarter, head coach Brian Lynch called a
    timeout. The subsequent two possessions resulted in a 3-pointer by Jayden Hodge, and a steal
    that resulted in a missed layup but own rebound and put-back by Jayden, who this week picked up an offer from Rutgers.

    “We have a lot of little things that we do in order to try and get something at the basket or a
    three-point look after something at the basket,” Lynch said. “They did a good job of just
    executing out of that timeout. We had been getting some decent looks in that third quarter and all
    of a sudden, one fell for us and it was like a spark of energy, it was unbelievable. All of a sudden,
    our guys were up full court pressuring, it was like they were dying to see the ball go into the
    basket and once they did, their energy went through the roof, and I think eventually that’s what
    wore them [Union Catholic] down.”

    St. Rose won the fourth quarter 23-6, including 17 from the Hodge brothers who seemingly took
    turns scoring on the Vikings.

    “We knew that they are a great team,” said Matt Hodge, who committed to Villanova in September and finished with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 steals. “So we had to come ready to play and stay composed. We were up 10 points and they cut it to 3 and we just had to stay composed and play our game and that’s what we did.”

    “It reminds us of them being young boys playing in the backyard,” said their father Odell Hodge, a former star at Old Dominion.

    “When they’re on the court, and they’re clicking like this, then I’m pretty much calm. They were
    going back-and-forth in the fourth, this is the attitude of, ‘We don’t want to lose this game, so we
    have to do whatever it takes’, especially Matt with his hurt foot and Jayden took the lead.”

    Gioacchino Panzini finished third on the team in points with 13, including an alley-oop dunk when the game was already out of hand for Union Catholic.

    On Day 3, St. Rose will play in the final game of the Metro Classic against the No. 1 team
    nationally, Montverde (FL) Academy, and No. 1 recruit Cooper Flagg.

    “Oh, I’m really excited,” Matt Hodge said. “It’s just going to be a great experience for our guys,
    and that’s what we’ve been waiting for, that’s the moment. At the end of the season, I told Coach
    Lynch that I wanted to try to get the best out of the best, and lucky enough, we got into this great
    event.”

    When asked who would guard Flagg, Jayden could not help but smile.

    “Can’t say that yet,” Jayden said smiling.

    Photo: @VUSportsdotcom

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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.

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