For the sixth straight year, GMC Hoops is getting a jump on the regular season with coverage of some of the teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference in pre-season scrimmage action. To see what scrimmages we'll be covering, view the 2007-08 schedule.
Catholic Visits North Brunswick For Scrimmage
By Greg Machos
December 6, 2007
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ--On Thursday, GMC Hoops traveled out to North Brunswick, and despite some traffic tie-ups on routes 287, 1, and 27, managed to just miss the first two and a half minutes of the Raiders scrimmage with Roselle Catholic. North Brunswick head coach, Ed Breheney is an alum of Roselle Catholic, and had his team participated in the 2006 Ed Chakey Shootout at RCHS, where it soundly defeated J.P. Stevens by a score of 56-33. Last season, North Brunswick qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2003 when Shaheid Williams led a squad that won its first round game in the Central Jersey Group III tourney before losing to eventual Group III State Champion and T of C semifinalist, Franklin. In the 2007 Central Jersey Group IV Tournament, the Raiders, which ended the season at 15-9 including an 8-6 mark in the GMC White, traveled to West Windsor-Plainsboro South in the first round, and after a sluggish start, surged past the Pirates for a 68-50 victory before losing to Rancocas Valley in the Quarterfinals.
Returning this year from that team are C.J. Brathwaite and Jeff Ashamole along with talented juniors Ricky Harris and Michael Cole. Sideeq Keys-Wnoy also returns to bring some athleticism off the bench. However, North Brunswick took some hits to graduation as Brandon Rogers, Laud Anderson, Keith Robinson, Malcolm Stoby, Lavarr Molina, and Ryan Fogler all graduating. As a matter of fact, Rogers and Anderson are now playing at Middlesex County College, where Rogers scored 12 points in a game against Bergen Community College just two days earlier. Meanwhile, Roselle Catholic is looking to not only get back to the state tournament for the sixth time in the past seven years, but return to the seasons of 2002, 2004, and 2005, when it reached the Final Four of the Non-Public A North section. The Lions, which compete in the Mountain Valley Conference against the likes of Hillside, Rahway, Cranford, and Roselle, have managed to still be competitive while holding to its strong academic standards. Both teams played for six quarters while the JV teams competed in another gym close by. In perhaps the closest scrimmage covered to date by the web site, Roselle Catholic won three of the periods while New Brunswick won two, and the third quarter ended in a 16-16 tie. However, the Lions 12-2 effort in the sixth and final frame proved to be the difference in a 72-64 overall edge.
In the scrimmage, both squads had plenty as North Brunswick made 37 miscues, which Roselle Catholic converted into 28 points while the Lions made 29 turnovers that the Raiders turned into 21 points. Crunching the numbers, North Brunswick would have had about 25 turnovers in a regular four period game while Roselle Catholic would have had 19. For the game, the Raiders shot 24 of 64 for 37.5 percent including 5 of 12 from three point range for 41.7 percent. At the foul line, North Brunswick made 9 of 14 for 64.3 percent. Meanwhile, Roselle Catholic made 29 of 91 shots for 31.9 percent including 11 of 24 from beyond the arc for 45.8 percent. At the foul line though, the Lions struggled making only 2 of 10 including several air balls for 20 percent. Looking at the other statistics, both teams were even in rebounds at 51-51, but Roselle Catholic had nearly a two to one edge in offensive rebounds (25-13), and that resulted in 18 second chance points for the Lions while the Raiders had only seven points off second opportunities.
RCHS ended up having the only fast break points with three off of a trey while North Brunswick held edges in assists (17-16), and blocks (4-0). The visitors from Union County had advantages in steals (13-12) while charges were even at 1-1. Analyzing these numbers, Roselle Catholic earned the slight edge in this scrimmage due to fewer turnovers, converting more of their opponents miscues, making a high percentage of three pointers, and enjoying a solid advantage on the offensive boards, and cashing in on the second chances that resulted from them. Individually for North Brunswick, Jeff Ashamole played much better than when we last saw him at the 2007 Middlesex County College Summer League. The 6'7" center made 6 of 11 shots from the field, and 3 of 6 from the charity stripe for 15 points along with 9 rebounds, and three tremendous blocks. C.J. Brathwaite took his share of shots, but didn’t hit many of them. As a matter of fact, he shot better from beyond the arc than inside it. For the scrimmage, Brathwaite, a senior, shot 2 of 11 from two point range while making 2 of 5 from three for a combined 4 of 16 effort from the field for 25 percent. He also made 4 of 5 from the foul line for a total of 14 points while picking up 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal. Junior point guard, Ricky Harris chipped in with five points on 2 of 5 shooting including a trey while handing out 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Michael Cole, another promising junior, played a bit early on, but left the game.
The first quarter saw North Brunswick make 3 of 9 shots from the floor including a three pointer, and also one of two at the line while Roselle Catholic made 4 of 10 field goals including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc to get the 10-8 period edge. Despite the Raiders getting three second chance points, and two points off three Lion turnovers, the visitors from Union County got the early jump in the exhibition. Arriving at the 5:29 mark, the web site began coverage with Roselle Catholic in front by a 3-0 margin. The next minute and a half or so saw both teams exchange baskets as Ashamole got a field goal to pull the Raiders within one before the Lions later grabbed a rebound on the defensive end, and gave an outlet pass to Brendan Trelease for an easy layup to make the score 5-2 as North Brunswick called for time at the 3:50 mark. Following the timeout, Ashamole then made one of two at the line to make it 5-3 before Roselle Catholic doubled its lead by scoring five of the next seven points over a forty-five second span for a 10-5 lead with 1:30 left in the first. Highlighting the run was a three pointer, and a field goal. After the Lions called timeout at the 1:20 mark, the Raiders got the final points of the period with a three pointer from the right wing by Brathwaite off an assist by Harris for a 10-8 Lion lead with 35 seconds to play in the frame.
Roselle Catholic had an opportunity to end the quarter up by four, but Trelease was called for a traveling violation at the 29 second mark. North Brunswick was unable to tie the score as RCHS came away with the two point first quarter edge. In the second stanza, North Brunswick made 4 of 7 shots including another three pointer while also making 2 of 2 at the foul line to get the 12-11 quarter edge. The Lions struggled from the floor only making 5 of 17 shots for 29.4 percent including 0 of 3 from beyond the arc. Roselle Catholic also didn't fare well at the charity stripe going 1 of 3 for 33.3 percent in the period. Turnovers became a growing theme and concern in this period as both teams combined for 14 turnovers including nine by the Raiders and five by Roselle Catholic. In the first 2:55 of the frame, North Brunswick committed four turnovers, which helped the Lions gain an early 5-2 lead on two field goals and their one of three effort for the quarter. Twenty seconds later, the Raiders made their fifth turnover, which Roselle Catholic promptly turned into points as forward, Matt Henn sank a turnaround jumper in the key for a 7-2 advantage at the 4:34 mark. Neither team would score for exactly a minute and a half before Ashamole got the Raiders on the board for the first time in several minutes with a nice strong move down the right side of the key for a two handed layup to trim the deficit to three at 7-4 with 3:04 to play in the second.
Following a Lion timeout at the 2:40 mark, North Brunswick continued to chip away at the lead as Brathwaite drew a foul by going down hard on a drive with 1:58 left. The senior swingman then connected on both of his free throws for a 7-6 Roselle Catholic lead. On the next RCHS possession, North Brunswick came up with a nice defensive play as the Raiders stole the ball, got it into the hands of Brathwaite, who then dished out an assist on a layup that gave the home team its first lead of the entire scrimmage at 8-7 with 1:42 to go in the frame. A little more than twenty seconds later, North Brunswick was on the move again as Ashamole took in an entry pass from Brathwaite, and sank a turnaround jumper from the right low block for a 10-7 lead with 1:20 remaining in the second. Both teams exchanged baskets as Harris handed out an assist on a layup by the Raiders in the final minute of play before Roselle Catholic called a timeout with eight seconds left, and NBTHS leading, 12-9. The Lions set up a play that ultimately brought results as they connected on a jumper with two seconds left for the 12-11 Raider edge in the stanza. Moving on to the third period of play, both teams combined for the most points in any one of the six quarters with 32 as each side put in 16 for a quarter tie. In the quarter, Roselle Catholic made 6 of 12 shots for an even 50 percent including a scorching 4 of 5 from downtown for 80 percent.
Meanwhile, North Brunswick, had some struggles from the field with 5 of 14 shots including two threes for 35.7 percent. In addition, the Raiders knocked down four of six from the foul line for 66.7 percent. Turnovers continued to play a big role in this scrimmage as both teams combined for 15 miscues in the frame including nine by the Lions and six by the Raiders. The Lions started out strong by blitzing the Raiders with threes for a 12-5 lead in just the first 2:32 of the period. Roselle Catholic opened quarter scoring with a three pionter from the top of the key at the 6:16 mark for, and then added three more including one from the left wing at the 5:28 mark after Ashamole had misfired on a front end of a one and one situation some ten seconds before. Seemingly on the ropes in this period, North Brunswick fought back with a solid finish as it outscored its opponent by an 11-4 margin to tie things in the frame. After Ashamole failed to scored on an offensive rebound and putback attempt, and the subsquent one and one chance at the line with 4:52 left in the third, the Raiders picked their big man up by grabbing two offensive rebounds, and scoring on a tip-in for a 12-7 Lion lead at the 4:30 mark. Roselle Catholic would get another score on a basket in the paint for a 14-7 lead, and then Harris was called for a turnover at the 3:43 mark.
Neither team scored for almost exactly a minute before the Lions got on the board again with an offensive rebound and putback that put them up by nine at 16-7 with 2:12 remaining. However, North Brunswick made a furious rally by scoring the last nine points of the period for the tie. The Raiders started the run with a steal for a layup at the 1:50 mark to make the score, 16-9. Seventeen seconds later, Harris found Brathwaite on the right wing for a three pointer to close the gap to four at 16-12 with 1:33 left in the third. Following a Roselle Catholic turnover at the 1:09 mark, North Brunswick managed to get to the foul line, and sink another pair of charity shots to close the gap to two at 16-14 with 54 seconds left. Then, after a huge block by Ashamole that stirred up the home crowd with 45 seconds left, and an RCHS turnover several moments later, the Raider big man stepped up to the line, and sank two more foul shots to tie the score at 16-16 with 33 seconds to go. The Lions then smartly called timeout again with inside ten seconds remaining, and had a chance to gain the quarter edge, but Ashamole came up with another key defensive stop by turning in his second block of the last minute of the quarter to preserve the 16-16 quarter tie.
In the fourth quarter, Roselle Catholic managed to gain the upper hand in another closely played period as the Lions made just 5 of 17 shots for 29.4 percent, but all three of their three point attempts while connecting on 1 of 4 from the line while North Brunswick shot better going 6 of 14 overall for 42.9 pecent, but only 1 of 3 from long distance for 33.3 percent. The turnover counts for both squads continued to mount as well with the visitors from Union County making three miscues while the home team made six for a combined total of nine in the frame. Once more, the Lions came out blazing as they scored the first six points including a three pointer from the right wing by Henn at the 7:30 mark. Following a North Brunswick timeout six seconds later, the Raiders got on the board as Brathwaite passed to Ashamole for a layin at the 7:04 mark for a four point Lion lead. Less then thirty seconds later, Roselle Catholic increased its margin to five as the Lions sank one of two at the line with 6:36 to go in the fourth. North Brunswick responded by once again going to Ashamole for a short hook in the paint that made it 7-4 at the 5:38 mark.
Then, North Brunswick continued to try and climb out of another early hole it dug itself into as Harris passed to Brathwaite for a short jumper from the left wing that was the senior's first two point field goal of the scrimmage. With the score now 7-6 at the 4:47 mark, the Raiders climbed back into the game, and took the lead as Brathwaite made another short jumper at the 4:20 mark for an 8-7 lead, and Harris followed that with a three pointer from the right wing for an 11-7 advantage at the 3:55 mark to cap a 9-0 run. However, Roselle Catholic closed out the quarter with a 7-2 spurt including another three pointer by Henn from the right wing that gave the Lions the lead back at 14-13 with 1:25 remaining in the frame. Despite good clock management, and use of timeouts to setup a quarter ending score, Roselle Catholic was unable to add to its tenuous lead, but the Raiders weren't able to take advantage as RCHS pulled out the one point, 14-13 fourth quarter win. In the fifth quarter, North Brunswick won its second period of the exhibition with a 13-9 edge thanks to a 5 of 13 effort from the floor for 38.5 percent including 1 of 3 from beyond the arc for 33.3 percent while making 2 of 3 at the line. Meanwhile, Roselle Catholic went just 4 of 9 from the floor including 1 of 5 at the line. Moreover, both teams combined for another ten turnovers as each squad had five miscues each in the frame. After both teams started out the period by exchanging threes in the first 1:36, North Brunswick embarked on a quarter deciding 8-0 run for an 11-3 lead with 2:50 left in the third.
Sparking the run was an offensive rebound and follow by Keys-Winoy at the 5:43 mark for a 5-3 lead. The Raiders then followed that with a jumper, and another score by Keys-Winoy for a 9-3 advantage at the 4:52 mark. North Brunswick would get another score for an eight point lead with 2:50 left in the fifth before RCHS ended the run with an offensive rebound and putback at the 2:03 mark for an 11-5 NBTHS edge. The Lions then added another score to close the gap to four at 11-7 while Brathwaite missed the front end of a one and one with 50 seconds left, but then after a score and a missed one and one by the visitors, Brathwaite put the quarter away with two free throws in the final seconds for a 13-9 period edge. The final quarter saw Roselle Catholic shut down North Brunswick by holding it to just a field goal while scoring the first seven points of the period off three Raider turnovers. Roselle Catholic got a three pointer, and two field goals in the first 2:14 before NBTHS got a bucket and called timeout at the 5:46 mark trailing, 7-2. Following the stoppage, things didn't get better for the Raiders as the Lions drew a charge on Ashamole at the 5:26 mark. Neither team scored over the next 1:11 as RCHS was called for a lane violation on a free throw at the 5:21 mark, and North Brunswick missed the front end of a one and one following an offensive rebound and putback attempt. Roselle Catholic would put an end to the brief scoring drought with a score inside at the 4:15 mark for a 9-2 lead, and got the final points of the quarter on two offensive rebounds and a follow for the 12-2 period win.
North Brunswick continues its scrimmage schedule with an exhibition against Whippany Park, and then begins its season on the road at the Bomb Shelter in Sayreville on Friday, December 14th. GMC Hoops will be there to cover all three levels in a Freshmen, JV, and Varsity Tripleheader. More analysis on this scrimmage is now available in the GMC Hoops Blogosphere.
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