GMC Gets Big Non-Conference Win From St. Joseph's
By Greg Machos
February 23, 2005
The 28th edition of the Prime Time Shootout showed that teams from the Greater Middlesex Conference still has a lot to go before being considered among the elite basketball programs in the state of New Jersey. However, they are making progress. Colonia gave Blair Academy all it could handle before fnally dropping a 73-59 decision. Considering that the Patriots didn't have Chineme Usuwa and Matt Vance in the lineup, Colonia did quite well to make it interesting.
South Brunswick did a solid job holding another solid edition of Bloomfield Tech to just 50 points, but still lost by 17, 50-33. The loss was South Brunswick's third in its last five after starting the season 15-1. St. Peter's was no match for fifth ranked Haddonfield, which almost put up triple digits against the Cards in a 99-30 wipeout. Danny Gonzalez still managed to score his 1,000th career point in the loss. St. Joseph's did the Greater Middlesex Conference proud on the final day of action at the showcase event as they won their 11th game in 12 outings with a 78-68 victory over a Rochester East team that was 17-1 going into the matchup.
The Falcons win over the Orientals from Rochester gave the GMC its best non-conference win of the season with Cardinal McCarrick's 85-68 victory over the Columbia Cougars of Maplewood and the Iron Hills Conference in the Roselle Catholic/South Brunswick Tournament being the one of the few real solid win by a Greater Middlesex Conference team in non-conference action this season. South Plainfield defeated both Scotch Plains and Cranford in the John "Butch" Kowal Tournament in Rahway over the holidays while Monroe defeated Colts Neck during the middle of the season as well. Overall, the GMC is 74-57 overall against non-conference teams up to this point in the season.
Breaking that 74-57 mark against the other conferences in the states breaks down this way by division: Gold Division is 32-16, Blue Division is 15-7, White Division is 16-14, and the Red Division brings up the rear with a sub .500 mark at 11-20. The win by St. Joseph's was their first of the season against a non-conference team with losses coming against St. Patrick's, Christ School, Abington Friends, St. Benedict's, and St. Anthony's. Meanwhile, Colonia is 1-3 against non-conference competition with their only win against meager Point Pleasant Bech in the Roselle Catholic/South Brunswick Holiday Tournament, and losses to St. Benedict's, Roselle Catholic, and Blair.
South Brunswick has also lost to Roselle Catholic as well as Bloomfield while they defeated Hamilton, a team that started the year 2-4, but has won 12 of its last 14 to post a 14-6 record as they battled Valley Division rival, Hightstown for the Valley Division Championship of the Colonial Valley Conference as well as prepare for the state tournament. The Vikings also soundly defeated North Plainfield of the Mountain Valley Conference, which is having a down season playing against the likes of Hillside, Rahway, St. Mary's of Elizabeth, and Roselle Catholic.
St. Peter's is actually 4-2 against non-conference foes with losses to only Haddonfield and Academy Charter while winning against Somerset Vo-Tech, Keyport, Noor-Ul-Iman, and Chad Science. Only the Cardinals didn't qualify for the state tournament out of the four GMC representatives that participated in the Prime Time Shootout with Colonia, South Brunswick, and St. Joseph's not only qualifying for the states, but also reaching the Final Four of the 2005 Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament.
Overall, teams in New Jersey were 2-5 against teams from outside the state in the showcase event. In addition to the Falcons win over Rochester East, St. Patrick's evened up their record for this year's Prime Time with a 68-46 victory over Cardozo of Queens, New York. The Celtics had lost badly earlier in the weekend to Oak Hill Academy, one of the perennial national powers, 87-51 in a game that was actually televised on ESPN. St. Anthony's lost on the same night against another national power year in and year out in DeMatha of Maryland, 62-59.
Meanwhile, Raritan, which won the Group III State Championship last season including a thrilling upset over then undefeated South Plainfield to win the North Jersey Section 2 Group III Championship, 53-52, lost to Rice from New York, 58-41 while Franklin dropped a 42-37 decision to Our Savior New American from Centerreach, Long Island in New York by a 42-37 score. Other teams from outside the state that competed were Vashon from St. Louis, the top ranked team in the country according to the USA Today Super 25 Rankings. Vashon defeated Niagara Falls of New York, which also competed last year.
Mount Vernon of New York, the defending New York State Champion also played, and defeated Christian Brothers of Syracuse, New York (not to be confused with CBA of Lincroft and the Shore Conference). Mount Vernon recently defeated St. Patrick's soundly in a showcase event at St. John's University in New York. Westchester of Los Angeles, another perennail national powerhouse also competed, and defeated Xaverian of New York, 62-48. Christ the King of Middle Village, New York, which is remembered for rallying in the fourth quarter against Jay Williams led St. Joseph's, and winning in the 1999 Prime Time Shootout while being ranked second in the country at the time, also played and upended a tough and game McCorristin squad, 56-44.
Oak Hill Academy went 2-0 in the showcase as it defeated St. Vincent/St. Mary's of Akron Ohio, which is known for being the school that had LeBron James. The two schools have been known to have great battles in the past at the Prime Time Shootout as three years ago, Carmelo Anthony and James dueled in a one on one battle that has gone down as one of the more memorable games from the event. Bishop O'Connell of Maryland, which went 30-4 last season, and defeated St. Joseph's over the summer at the Eastern Invitational Team Camp at the College of New Jersey, raised its record to 21-2 overall this year with a 68-57 win over Germantown Academy of Pennsylvania. See the rest of the results from this year's Prime Time Shootout.
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