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Junior Guvs Cruise Past Dunellen Behind First Half Rampage, 56-35
By Greg Machos
February 5, 2008
SOUTH AMBOY, NJ--Prior to the start of what would be a momentus and historic varsity game in the tiny enclave of South Amboy, the JV squads of Dunellen and SAHS went at it in the GMC Hoops JV Game of the Week. The Junior Guvs competed over the holidays in the 2007 Cardinal McCarrick JV Tournament, and won one of its three games with a victory over Edison on December 26th. In that game, South Amboy trailed by one, 13-12, but then turned things around with a 24-19 showing in the second half for the 37-31 win. See details in the GMC Hoops JV Roundup. Both SAHS and Dunellen have the better JV teams in the Gold Division, and considering the importance of the pending varsity matchup later in the evening on Tuesday, GMC Hoops thought it was a good idea to check out the JV programs of the two schools when the season schedule was being planned out. In the pre-season, the web site happened to check out both squads in scrimmage action as the Junior Destroyers took on Edison on Decmeber 8th, and South Amboy battled New Brunswick on December 12th.
Unfortunately, this game would not be very close as the Junior Guvs were all over the court defensively in the first half, and forced forced 20 turnovers en route to a 42-12 halftime lead. From there, all Dunellen could really do was try and make it as respectable as possible before the Junior Guvs came away with the rather lopsided 56-35 victory. SAHS scored 21 points in each of the first two periods while Dunellen could only manage single digits in each frame. The varsity reserves for South Amboy did the brunt of the damage in this one. Led by Matt Regan, who connected on 8 of 13 shots including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc for 18 points, 8 steals, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds, the home team was virtually unstoppable as it played like a juggernaut against a Dunellen team that sorely missed the presence of sophomore guard, Luke Francisco, the younger brother of DHS varsity standout, Nick Francisco, and cousin of former Bishop Ahr standout, Corey Francisco. Junior forward, Diego Cuello chipped in for South ambooy by going a perfect 6 of 6 from the floor, and made 1 of 2 at the line for 13 points while collecting 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. Sophomore guard, Luke O'Connor also contributed for the Junir Guvs with two field goals, and 1 of 2 at the line for 5 points along with 3 steals, 2 blocks, and an assist.
Ken Scarbaggio added two field goals in three attempts for 4 points, an assist, steal, and charge while Septor made 2 of 5 shots for 4 points as well along with 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Luke O'Connor's younger brother, and Tim Simko, the younger brother of Mark Simko helped round out the scoring for South Amboy (two other players also scored for the Junior Guvs, but I was unable to get their names). Standing tall in defeat for the Junior Destroyers was junior forward, Eric Cianfrone, who connected on 6 of 10 shots from the floor, and 2 of 2 at the free throw line for 14 points along with 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and a charge. Rontrik (don't have the last name, but his number was #45), had the team high with 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the field as well as 4 of 10 from the line in addition to 10 rebounds for a double-double, and four blocks and steals. The younger Francisco played mostly in the second half, and only took two shots including a made field goal for two points besides three assists, and a steal. Combined Cianfrone and Rontrik scored 30 of the DHS points, or 85.7 percent of the team's offense. For the game, South Amboy outscored Dunellen in the first two periods while the Junior Destroyers did the same to the Junior Guvs in each of the final two quarters. The Junior Guvs had the overall edge in turnovers (21-29) despite the visitors only committing nine miscues in the second half.
In the contest, Dunellen only shot 14 of 39 from the floor for 35.9 percent including 1 of 7 showing from long range for 14.3 percent. At the charity stripe, the Junior Destroyers were a mere 6 of 18 for 33.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Junior Guvs were much more proficient despite a sluggish second half offensively without its varsity reserves. South Amboy clicked on 25 of 53 shots from the field for 47.2 percent including 2 of 15 from beyond the arc for a paltry 13.3 percent. At the line, SAHS was only 4 of 9 for 44.4 percent. In other statistical departments, the Junior Governors outrebounded Dunellen by a 29-22 margin overall incluidng a 10-8 edge on the offensive glass. Moreover, the Junior Guvs had more assists (10-4), steals (24-10), and charges (2-1) while blocks were even (4-4). The first period saw South Amboy essentially win the battle as the Junior Destroyers committed 12 miscues over the final 6:36 of the frame five of those turnovers were steals by the Junior Guvs that were converted into layups for 10 points off DHS mistakes. Eight of those ten points came in a late first quarter flurry that turned a somewhat close game at 13-7 into a commanding double digit South Amboy lead entering the second. Arriving late due to the traffic on Routes 287 and 440, GMC Hoops sat down in the South Amboy Middle/High School gym with the home team already in front 3-0 at the 6:36 mark of the first.
Regan then scored on two steals for layups before O'Connor netted one of two at the line for an 8-0 lead at the 4:13 mark. Following a Dunellen timeout one second later, Cianfrone, who happens to be the younger brother of DHS varsity power forward, Matt Cianfrone, got the visitors on the board with a short jumper from the right wing for an 8-2 South Amboy lead before Scarbaggio found Regan up at the top of the key for a three pointer, and an 11-2 lead with 3:06 remaining in the period. Cianfrone would close the gap to single digits again with a score, but O'Connor grabbed an offensive rebound, and handed out an assist on a layup by Scarbaggio as he was fouled, but the diminutive junior guard missed the bonus free throw. So the score remained at 13-4 with 2:47 to go in the frame. Rontrik made one of two from the line for DHS, and on the second miss, another Junior Destroyer grabbed the rebound that led to another field goal by Cianfrone for a 13-7 South Amboy lead. But then, the Junior Guvs began to blow the game wide open with their aggressive defense that produced turnovers and forced turnovers, and generated an 8-0 spurt to close out the quarter for a 21-7 lead. The final points of the stanza were all layups off steals as Regan, Luke O'Connor, Scarbaggio, and Cuello got in on the act for the 14 point lead that put the Junior Destroyers in critical condition at the start of the second.
The beginning of the second quarter saw the Junior Guvs pick up right where they left off with four straight points including a nifty drive for a layup by Regan that made the score 25-7 before Cianfrone got on the board again for two free throws, and a 25-9 South Amboy lead with 4:13 remaining in the first half. Following the two foul shots, the Junior Governors reeled off another seven straight points including two field goals by Regan, who then handed out an assist on another for a 32-9 lead at the 2:01 mark. Following a Dunellen timeout, South Amboy closed out the first half with a 10-3 tear for a thirty point halftime lead. In the second half, Dunellen started the third quarter with five of the first seven point to trim the insurmountable deficit to just 27 at 44-17 before an injury timeout was called at the 3:19 mark of the period. Following the stoppage, Rontrik scored six points for the Junior Destroyers in a 6-1 quarter ending run for a 45-23 South Amboy lead after three. However, DHS couldn't get much close despite outscoring the home team by a 12-11 margin in the fourth as the Junior Guvs cruised to the easy 56-35 victory.
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