On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Super Sunday in the Greater Middlesex Conference takes place with the GMCT Elite Eight playing at the Physical Education Center on the Edison campus of Middlesex County College.
Top seeded East Brunswick and second seeded St. Joseph's are heavy favorites to reach the Championship Game on Friday night. The Bears are looking to reach the final for the first time since 1996 when they won it all. The Falcons are looking for the 4-peat something that hasn't been done in MCT/GMCT play since the great Perth Amboy teams of the early to mid-70s. However, there are teams such as third seeded North Brunswick, fourth seeded Woodbridge, and fifth seeded Carteret, seventh seeded Spotswood, ninth seeded Sayreville, and 11th seeded Old Bridge, which will all try to have something to say about that.
Like last year, we have a couple party crashers as ninth seeded Sayreville and 11th seeded Old Bridge won their Round of 16 matchups on the road against higher seeded teams. However, both have been in the GMC Hoops Top Ten at some point during the season if not for the entire length of it. Sayreville has been a hot team as of late with 7 wins in its last 8 games. Meanwhile, Old Bridge has gotten back on track after falling to Piscataway Tech, Piscataway, East Brunswick, and St. Joe's recently. The Knights are healthy again with Tyler Drews back in top form after an ankle injury, and they also have a third option with the added scoring of Chris Conrad. team.
Sayreville is making its first appearance in the GMCT Elite Eight since losing to Monroe in overtime in the 2010 GMCT Semifinals. Old Bridge, which had reached the quarterfinals in 5 of 6 years under the guidance of Rocky Knowles from 2002 to 2007, is making its first appearance in the GMCT Elite Eight in six seasons. Meanwhile, Carteret, the fifth seed, is making its first appearance in the Elite Eight since falling to second seeded Piscataway in the 2008 quarterfinals.
East Brunswick enters the quarterfinal round undefeated in GMC play, and with only two losses (20-2) on the season. The Bears started the season with 15 straight wins before losing to St. Anthony's a few weeks ago. St. Joseph's has only lost two in the GMC, and both came at the hands of arch rival, EB in division play. The Falcons also have losses to DeSoto of Texas and the Patrick School outside of conference to post an 18-4 record. North Brunswick started the year as the fourth ranked team in some polls, but after defeating South Brunswick in the Brunswick Challenge holiday tournament, and going undefeated in GMC White play, the Raiders earned the third seed.
Woodbridge is one of the great stories of this 2012-13 season. The Barrons have had their first winning season since 1988-89, reached the Elite Eight for the first time since then, have the most wins in three decades, and finished second in the GMC White behind North Brunswick. The Barrons only two losses in division play came at the hands of the Raiders. Woodbridge enters GMCT Super Sunday at 20-3 while North Brunswick comes in at 18-3. Fifth seeded Carteret, which had almost as good a season as last year, enters the day at 18-6 while seventh seeded Spotswood enters the day at 18-5. All Eight teams in the quarterfinals have at least 14 wins with six of those teams having 18 wins or more.
So far in this tournament, the Red and White Divisions have dominated. Six teams are either from the GMC Red or the GMC White. Each Division has three teams in the Elite Eight with the Red Division having East Brunswick, St. Joseph's, and Old Bridge while the White Division has North Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Sayreville. Division records in crossover games in this tournament so far, the White is 5-2, the Red is 5-2, the Blue is 4-5, and the Gold is 0-4. As a result, the Red Division is well ahead in the latest GMC Hoops Conference Cup Standings.
North Brunswick returns to the GMCT Elite Eight for the third time in the last four years. The Raiders have won the GMC White three years in a row. Prior to 2010, The Raiders had not been in the GMCT Quarterfinals since 1998. Spotswood is making its second GMCT Elite Eight trip in four years. The Chargers, which finished second in the GMC Blue, earned the trip by defeating Piscataway Tech for the third time this season. The last time Spotswood made it to the Elite Eight, it upset East Brunswick to make its first ever GMCT Final Four appearance in 2010. East Brunswick is making its fourth straight trip to the Elite Eight. The Bears reached the semifinals last year for the first time since 2001. EB has made six trips to the GMCT Quarterfinals in the past eight years.
St. Joseph's, the defending champion, has gotten this far in the tournament 14 times in the last 17 seasons. The Falcons have reached the Elite Eight in seven of the eight years Dave Turco has coached at the school. Carteret is making its 7th ever trip to the GMCT Elite Eight. The Ramblers have not reached the GMCT Final Four though since winning it all in 2002. All four of the matchups feature teams that have not played each other this season. Through last year, the GMC White won five GMCT crowns while the Red Division has won five, and the Blue Division has won three.
#11 Old Bridge (14-9) vs. #3 North Brunswick (18-3)
Where: Middlesex County College
When: Sunday at 12:00 PM
Both teams have played South Brunswick and East Brunswick with NBTHS beating the Vikings, and the Knights winning 2 of 3 versus the Vikes. Each team has also played East Brunswick with the Raiders losing to EB in the Championship game of the Brunswick Challenge while Old Bridge lost to regular season Red Division games to the Bears.
The two key matchups in this contest will be OB's Sultan Aminu going up against North Brunswick's frontcourt combination of Virgil Boykin and Dennis Ford, and NBTHS's Iverson Fleming going up against Tyler Drews. Old Bridge has been known as a two man team for most of the season, but nobody has been able to stop the duo of Aminu and Drews. Both players will probably end up being the first two 1,000 point scorers at OBHS.
North Brunswick has also had problems with big men this season. On Friday, Bleriot Thompson stormed out to scored 12 of Colonia's 23 first half points before the Raiders found a way to stop him in the second half. Monroe's Nick Isola scored 32 points in a game against the Raiders while Franklin's Josh McGriff had a big game against North Brunswick as well. Aminu is coming off a 12 of 14 shooting performance for 25 points against South Brunswick on Thursday. Boykin and Ford will have their work cut out for them.
Old Bridge will have to make sure Fleming doesn't get off to a hot start like Colonia did on Friday. Fleming only had two field goals including a three in the win on Friday versus the Pats. Meanwhile, Drews went 8 of 18 and scored the first 8 points for OB in the win over SBHS on Thursday. The Raiders must also watch out for Drews playmaking ability. He handed out 10 assists in the win over the Vikes as well. One of the receipients of those assists was Chris Conrad, who scored 19 points in the win on Thursday. If Old Bridge can get Conrad going, it has a third option that defenses have to think about, which will help open up things more for Aminu and Drews.
GMC Hoops Pick: Old Bridge.
#7 Spotswood (18-5) vs. #2 St. Joseph's (18-4)
Where: Middlesex County College
When: Sunday at 1:30 PM
The key for the Chargers will be offensively. They will need to set the tempo with Dadika pushing the ball, and kicking out to Dalonte Grant on the wing for threes, or scoring himself. Jamal Lewis will have to battle on the inside with not only Towns, but also James Ziemba, who has been very productive as of late.
Spotswood may try to go zone to force the Falcons to beat them from the perimeter, but with Towns ability to stretch the defense with his great touch from beyond the arc along with Baldwin's ability to explode from long distance as well as Jimbo Long and Raven Owen having the capability to hit the three, the Chargers are going to have to hope that the Falcons go cold from deep.
The most important thing that Spotswood will have to do is get back on defense, and make this a halfcourt game. Don't let St. Joe's get easy baskets, especially high flying dunks. Make the Falcons earn their points.
GMC Hoops Pick: St. Joseph's
#5 Carteret (18-6) vs. #4 Woodbridge (20-3)
Where: Middlesex County College
When: Sunday at 4:00 PM
The key for Carteret is to not let Jared Pearson have a big day in the paint. Pearson has had a knack of scoring from all angles from down on the blocks to the foul line in. The Ramblers can not let him just score at will, which he has been able to do in several games that GMC Hoops has seen. In addition, the Ramblers will need to force turnovers so that they can score in transition, and a big day from outside by Andrew Stam, who is their best perimeter shooter.
For Woodbridge, the key will be Duquan Bailey. He must play well, and most importantly, stay out of foul trouble. In two of the Barrons game covered by GMC Hoops (Immaculata and North Brunswick), Bailey has fouled out. The Barrons need Bailey's playmaking ability, quickness, and foul shooting on the floor throughout most if not all of this contest. Woodbridge will also have to get back on defense to prevent Carteret from getting easy scores while getting transition scores itself. Eddie Harris will need to get involved in this game early with scoring from inside and out as well as getting to the line.
GMC Hoops Pick: Woodbridge
#9 Sayreville (15-7) vs. #1 East Brunswick (20-2)
Where: Middlesex County College
When: Sunday at 5:30 PM
The Bombers are going to have to score well in the halfcourt because EB makes you work on defense. The Bears do not give up many easy baskets, and they have players that can draw charges like they did in the last game against St. Joe's. Also, with the likes of Amir Bell getting back on defense, they are able to contest layup attempts. Sayreville will need to have big games from the perimeter by Seraji as well as Corey Taite, Jon Bracero, and Jason Saldiveri.
East Brunswick has a balanced and deep team with the likes of Bell, Rob Ukawuba, and Gary Baumer, but there are also great role players like Danny Leung, Jake Krantz, Carl Taylor, and Adedmola Adedokum. Pat McMullen and Ethan Folz also help out off the bench. Sayreville will have to make sure it contests shots on the perimeter, and also prevent EB's size with Krantz, Adedokum, and Ukawuba from pounding the glass.
GMC Hoops Pick: East Brunswick
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