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Contino Fills Void To Help Lift St. Joe's Past CBA, 60-49
By Greg Machos
March 5, 2010
METUCHEN, NJ--For the first time since the Jay Williams era in the late 1990s, a St. Joseph's team defeated CBA. The Falcons, which had its season ended three of the past four years in the semifinals to the Colts, exacted revenge in front of a packed house at the Bird Cage in Metuchen. The surprising thing about it was the fact that St. Joe's did it without top sophomore DeCosey, who sat out the game for disciplinary reasons. However, saving the day was senior reserve, Nick Contino. While there was the usual scoring from fellow seniors Andrew Morgan and Steve Rennard, Contino's was a much welcomed surprise.
Coming in with just five three pointers on the season, Contino sank four threes for a season high 14 points as St. Joe's built up a 14 point lead midway through the fourth quarter, and went on to win by a score of 60-49 to advance to the semifinals of Non-Public A South for the fourth time in the five year reign of head coach, Dave Turco. It was a Clash of Titans as CBA, ranked eighth in the state according to the Star-Ledger, took on St. Joe's, which was ranked tenth. However, because of their records at the state cutoff, the Falcons drew a higher seed, a first round bye, and home court advantage while the Colts had to play an opening round game against Red Bank Catholic (won 50-45).
Morgan, a strong candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year in the GMC, scored a game high 18 points on three field goals, three treys, and three foul shots while Rennard added 14 points four field goals and two threes. Contino had his four threes, and a field goal for his 14 points. Eric Peterson also contributed with eight points on four field goals including two layups in the fourth to preserve the Falcons double digit lead. For CBA, Matt McMullen led the way with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. McMullen had six field goals and three foul shots for his points while senior point guard, Roy Mabrey, who scored 20 points in last year's meeting, had only 11 this time on three field goals, a trey, and two foul shots. J.P. Khoury also chipped in with double figure scoring as he hit a three, and sank seven foul shots for ten points.
For the game, St. Joe's, which tied a record for most three pointers in a GMCT final with ten on Sunday against Monroe, netted nine more along with 15 field goals, and three foul shots for its 60 points. Meanwhile, CBA made 11 field goals, four threes, and 15 from the foul line. The Falcons outscored the Colts in each of the four quarters played. It was a sold out crowd at St. Joseph's, and led by the Falcon Flock student section, a frontrunner for GMC Hoops Student Section of the Year, the fans were very enthusiastic to say the least. The Falcon Flock had worthy competition as well as CBA's student section made the trip from Lincroft to root their team on. However, the sheer numbers of St. Joe's fans proved to be too much for CBA's fans. Walking toward the gym from the outside, you could hear the roar of the crowd, which is something that I hadn't heard before at a high school game in all my years of doing this.
St. Joe's took an 8-7 first quarter lead as CBA got its only lead of the game at 1-0 before St. Joe's closed the quarter with an 8-6 showing as Contino hit a three pointer for his only points in the period, and Mabrey had four for the Colts. In the second period, the Falcons outscored the visitors from Lincroft by a margin of 17-15 most of which came on an 8-0 run to start the period as Rennard and Contino hit threes while senior forward, Rob O'Grady (2 points) got his only points of the contest on a layup for a 16-7 advantage as CBA called for time with 6:47 remaining in the first half. From there, CBA finished the second quarter with a 15-9 showing including the final four points of the period for a 25-22 Falcons lead at the intermission. In the third quarter, St. Joseph's expanded its lead to ten at 43-33 with an 18-11 showing. The Falcons led by as many as a dozen as Rennard and Morgan hit threes while Contino swiped a steal and scored a layup. Robbie Ashamole (2 FGs for 4 points) also got into the act with a follow off an offensive board.
In the fourth, St. Joseph's got several huge breaks right off the bat. Mabrey picked up his fourth foul at the 7:12 mark. Then the Falcons got a huge offensive rebound, and finally, the straw that broke CBA's back, a three pointer by Contino at the 6:31 mark that hit the back of the rim, bounced straight into the air, and fell through for a 46-33 lead. It was that type of night for Contino, who deserved it after the four years of hard work he put in for this program. It was also that kind of night for CBA, which would put together a run to make things interesting only to have St. Joe's keep them away at arm's length. The Colts would get a score to pull within eleven again at 46-35 with 6:10 to go, but the Falcons got a layup from Peterson with 5:48 to play for a 48-35 lead. CBA then got a three from the right wing to pull within ten at 48-38 before Peterson scored another layup with five minutes to go for a 50-38 lead.
Rennard then added a jumper from the right side at the 3:30 mark for a 54-40 lead before CBA answered with another three at the 3:21 mark for a 54-43 score. Morgan then canned a three from the left side for a 57-43 advantage with 2:51 remaining. The Colts then made one of two at the line for a 57-44 score with about two and a half minutes left. Mabrey then fouled out of the game with just over two minutes to play before CBA got another score to draw within eleven once more at 57-46. Morgan then made two from the line with 1:14 to go for a 59-46 advantage. CBA then made a three pointer to close within ten at 59-49 before Morgan closed out the scoring with a one of two showing from the line for the 60-49 victory. With the win, St. Joe's improves to 23-4 overall on the season. In addition, the Falcons are now in the driver's seat for their first ever GMC Hoops Trophy with a 6-1 record for 11 points. St. Joseph's advances to the semifinals to play top seeded Camden Catholic, which disposed of Paul VI of Haddonfield in another quarterfinal. CBA finishes the year at 23-4. Analysis will be forthcoming in the blog.
St. Joseph's (23-4)
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