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Joe's Clamps Down On Spotswood In Fourth To Advance
By Greg Machos
February 24, 2010
MONMOUTH JUNCTION, NJ--It was a classic David vs. Goliath matchup. Spotswood, seeded fifth in this year's GMCT, and a Group II school was taking on top seeded St. Joseph's from the big school GMC Red. For the first 25:13, the Chargers gave St. Joseph's all it could handle. Even had the lead on several occasions including a 38-37 edge with 6:47 to go. However, the Falcons clamped down defensively down the stretch, and that resulted in an 11-0 spurt to end the game for a 48-38 victory. The win put St. Joe's in the final for the third consecutive year, and 16th all time. The Falcons last won the GMCT back in 1999, and have won three MCT/GMCT titles all time.
There were seven lead changes and three ties in this contest. Spotswood had a lead as big as seven points while St. Joe's ended the game with its biggest margin of ten. The Chargers outscored the Falcons in the first period, but then the GMC Red champs won each of the final three periods. St. Joseph's collected its 48 points on 11 field goals, five threes, and 11 foul shots while Spotswood got its 38 on nine field goals, four threes, and eight free throws. Senior guard, Steve Rennard led the way for the Falcons in the win. The Penn bound four year starter for the Falcons had a game high 20 points including 14 points alone in the third. Rennard, who now is ninth all time in the GMC Hoops Grand Club, made two field goals, five three pointers, and a foul shot.
Meanwhile, sophomore teammate, Quenton DeCosey added 15 points on four field goals and seven free throws. DeCosey was big down the stretch with a three point play that gave St. Joe's the lead for good at 40-38 with 4:13 left, and then a layup off an alleyoop pass by Rennard at the 3:04 mark for a 42-38 lead. He also played a small role in the Falcons 9-0 rally in the second as he sparked the run with two free throws at the 3:16 mark. St. Joe's only had four players break into the scoring column while Spotswood have five. Rennard and DeCosey, however, accounted for 73 percent of the Falcon offense to carry St. Joe's to the win. Tyler Osofsky led Spotswood in the losing effort with a team high 14 points on two field goals, two threes, and four foul shots. Osofsky, who didn't score his first points until the very end of the first half, scored 12 in the second.
Allen Kuiper, a senior forward for Spotswood, played valiantly with 10 points on three field goals and four free throws. He also pulled down 13 boards for a double-double. Osofsky and Kuiper made up 63 percent of Spotswood's offense, which was held to 24 points below their average coming into this contest (62 ppg). St. Joseph's, meanwhile, was held to 12 points below its average (60 ppg). Spotswood didn't back down. The Chargers stayed with the Falcons for much of the game, but just ran out of gas. St. Joe's experience, depth, and defense proved to be the difference. Spotswood started the game on a positive note though as James Pareti got his only points of the game on a layup in the opening minute for a 2-0 lead. Andrew Morgan (2 FGs and 3 FTs for 7 points) countered with a score of his own to tie it at 2-2.
The game continued to go back and forth a bit as the Chargers scored to take a 4-2 lead at the 5:41 mark before St. Joe's responded with a bucket to tie things up at 4-4. Kuiper then drew a foul, and made one of two from the line for a 5-4 lead with 4:34 remaining in the first. Kuiper then got a loose ball and converted it into a layup for a 7-4 lead at the 3:42 mark. Then, the Falcons took over for a bit as DeCosey connected on a jumper from the left wing for a 7-6 score at the 3:11 mark, and Rennard put his team in front for the first time at 8-7 on a pull-up jumper from the foul line with 1:39 to go in the period. Cody Pace, who was limited to just five points on a field goal and a three pointer, got his only three following an offensive rebound for a 10-8 Chargers lead at the 1:04 mark. Just less than 20 seconds later, Ashamole was cited for a goaltend on a Mike Liming (7 points on two FGs and a three) layup attempt for a 12-8 Spotswood lead heading into the second.
DeCosey opened the second quarter with two free throws at the 7:09 mark for a 12-10 Spotswood lead. Kuiper then made two foul shots of his own at the 6:16 mark, and then after a scoring drought by both teams that lasted for 2:37, Liming connected on a three pointer from the right wing for a 17-10 Chargers lead at the 3:39 mark. St. Joseph's then scored nine unanswered points over the next 3:17 including two foul shots by DeCosey at the 3:16 mark, a three pointer by Rennard from deep on the left wing at the 2:22 mark, and then a two handed jam by Ashamole off a steal and assist by Eric Peterson at the 2:03 mark. Following a Spotswood timeout with 1:58 left in the first half, Kuiper was called for traveling on a spin move at the 1:03 mark. Then, Morgan capped the run with a field goal at the 22.2 second mark for a 19-17 lead. Osofsky then got his first points of the game on a jumper from the left wing as time ran out in the first half with the score tied at 19-19.
St. Joe's began the second half with seven of the first nine points for a five point lead. Rennard, who made four of his threes in the period along with a field goal, opened the second half scoring with a three pointer for a 22-19 lead just 20 seconds into the half. After Kuiper picked up his second foul at the 6:13 mark, DeCosey drove in, spun, and took a shot over Kuiper for a 26-21 lead at the 4:25 mark. Spotswood showed some resolve though by getting a rare six point play as Osofsky was fouled on a three pointer. Then, when he missed the bonus free throw, Kuiper grabbed the rebound, and converted a traditional three point play for a 27-26 lead with 3:29 left in the period. Rennard then took over with all eleven of the Falcons points in an 11-2 run that spanned 2:29 for a 37-29 lead. First, he made two threes in a span of just 48 seconds to put St. Joe's ahead, 32-27 at the 2:41 mark.
Just under a minute later, Morgan fed Rennard for a layup as the school's all time leading three point shooter was fouled at the 1:44 mark. After Osofsky made two free throws at the 1:19 mark, Rennard made a three pointer from the right wing for a 37-29 lead with a minute to go in the third. Osofsky then closed out the period scoring with a three pointer of his own from the right wing at about the 40 second mark for a 37-32 Falcons lead after three quarters. Osofsky, who scored nine straight points for Spotswood, then picked up right where he left off with two free throws to open the fourth. Less than a half minute later, he made a big play on defense by blocking Morgan's shot, which fell into the hands of Kuiper, who passed upcourt to Osofsky for a layup, and a 37-36 St. Joe's lead with 7:16 left. The Chargers then capped a 9-0 rally by forcing a turnover that resulted in a breakaway layup by Liming for a 38-37 lead with 6:47 left.
The Chargers had a couple chances to increase its lead too. With 6:28 left, Pace went to the line after an over the back foul was called on the Falcons. The recent addition to the 1,000 point scorers club at Spotswood missed the front end of the one and one, but Kuiper grabbed the offensive board. The ball eventually got into the hands of Osofsky, who hit the back of the iron on a three point attempt. Kuiper then made a nice defensive play by blocking a shot by DeCosey at the 6:01 mark. Morgan responded with a key defensive play of his own by drawing a charge with 4:54 left. However, St. Joseph's hadn't scored in 4:06, and time was running out. The Falcons began their decisive run when DeCosey hit a floater and was fouled for a three point play at the 4:13 mark. Following a timeout with 3:44 left, Rennard lobbed an alleyoop pass to a leaping DeCosey for a layup, and a 42-38 lead with 3:04 to go. Kuiper was then called for traveling at the 2:56 mark.
At this point, the Falcons began to work the clock, and look to go to the line. Morgan drew a foul at the 2:27 mark, and made a pair from the charity stripe for a 44-38 lead. Rennard then added one of two from the line for a 45-38 advantage with 1:49 remaining. Spotswood was unable to recover as St. Joe's went on to win, 48-38. With the victory, St. Joseph's improved to 21-4 on the season including an 18-0 mark in conference play. The Falcons advanced to play Monroe for the 2010 GMCT Championship on Friday night at the RAC at 8:00 PM. The Purple Birds defeated Sayreville by a score of 74-67 in overtime to earn its first ever trip to the finals. Spotswood dropped to 17-5 overall on the season, and 14-5 in the GMC. Analysis and video highlights will be forthcoming in the blog.
St. Joseph's (21-4)
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