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Quarter Surge Propels St. Peter's Prep
By Greg Machos
March 11, 2010
PISCATAWAY, NJ--For three quarters, Seton Hall Prep looked poised to win another Non-Public A North sectional championship. The top seeded team, which trailed 11-7 at one point late in the first quarter, had gone on a 29-18 run over a span of 14:04 to take a 36-29 lead midway through the third, and still led by four heading into the fourth. However, the third seeded Marauders of St. Peter's Prep from Jersey City rallied with a 24-10 surge in the fourth quarter to win the Non-Public A North title, and earn a berth in the Non-Public A State Championship Game with a 64-54 victory. The Pirates, which lost in the championship game of this section for the second year in a row, got a game high 22 points from Sterling Gibbs, but only four in the fourth period.
Meanwhile, Stephon Whyatt and Chase Fluellen came up big for St. Peter's Prep, which recently reached the finals of the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament last month, and lost to Seton Hall Prep in last year's Non-Public A North State Tournament. Fluellen scored nine points, and Whyatt connected for all six of his points in the fourth quarter with two threes during an 8-0 run that turned a 50-49 deficit into a 57-50 lead with 3:01 left. The Marauders bench outscored the Pirates bench by a 15-3 margin in the game. Ronald Roberts, who signed a letter of intent to play at St. John's University next fall, led the way for the winners with a team high 16 points on six field goals and four foul shots. From the second quarter on, Roberts was five of six from the field and two of four from the line for 12 points along with seven rebounds, and a blocked shot.
J.J. Hladik scored 11 points in the first half, and ended up with 14 points on two field goals, three treys, and a foul shot while Kevin Walker chipped in with 12 points on two field goals, a three, and five of six from the line down the stretch to seal the victory. Myles Davis, a junior, chipped in with 7 points on a field goal, and five foul shots for the Marauders, which claimed its first Non-Public A championship since 1959, and first sectional title since 1984. Meanwhile, for the Pirates, which have been the dominant program in Non-Public A North, and Non-Public A in general for decades under the guidance of long time head coach, Bob Farrell, also got 12 points by John Caprio on two field goals and 8 foul shots to go along with 14 boards for a double-double. Freshman Spencer Weisz chipped in with 9 points on a field goal, two threes, and a foul shot. Forward, Stephon Mosley had 8 points on four field goals. Maurice Roach (2 points) and Connor Wujciak (a point) rounded out the scoring for Seton Hall Prep.
For the game, St. Peter's Prep got its 64 points on 15 field goals, six threes, and 16 foul shots while Seton Hall Prep got its 54 points on 14 field goals, three treys, and 17 foul shots. Both teams outscored each other in two of the four periods, but the Marauders huge fourth quarter was the difference. St. Peter's Prep had two field goals, three treys, and made 11 of 13 from the foul line in the final period while limiting Seton Hall Prep to just two field goals, and six of eight from the line. Walker had 8 points in the final period while Whyatt had his six, Davis added five, Fluellen scored three, and Roberts chipped in with two for the winners. Gibbs had his four while Caprio chipped in with three for the Pirates. Mosley added two and Wujciak got his only point early in the period. Seton Hall Prep shot 35 percent in the first half while St. Peter's Prep made 40 percent of its shots over the first two periods. However, an 11-0 run from late in the first quarter into the early second, and then a 5-0 burst at the end of the first half propelled the Pirates to a 27-25 lead at the intermission.
GMC Hoops picked up the action with 4:15 to go in the first period, and St. Peter's Prep leading 5-4. Over the next 2:15, the Maruaders scored six of the next nine to go up by four at 11-7. However, the Jersey City school, better known for its football prowess, went into a scoring drought that lasted about 4:30, and Seton Hall Prep took advantage. First, the Pirates ended the first with three points including one of two from the line by Caprio at the 1:45 mark, and a pair from the charity stripe by Gibbs at the 1:11 mark to close the gap at 11-10 heading into the second. Seton Hall Prep then opened the second with the first eight points for an 11-0 spurt to take an 18-11 lead with 5:51 left in the first half. Gibbs scored on a baseline drive from the right side for a layup, and then Weisz connected on a three from the right side for a 15-11 lead at the 6:45 mark. Following a timeout at the 6:40 mark, the Pirates got a score from Mosley and one of two from the line by Weisz for the seven point advantage with less than six minutes to go in the half.
After forward Keith Lumpkin was called for a traveling violation at the 5:42 mark, St. Peter's Prep, which defeated Oak Hill Academy in the Prime Time Shootout back on February 13th, went on a 14-4 tear over the next 4:02 for a three point lead. The run was sparked by a floater by Walker, and continued with a three by Hladik, and a two handed jam by Roberts for a 20-18 Pirates lead at the 4:05 mark. Weisz accounted for the only SHP scoring during this stretch with a layup. After a Seton Hall Prep timeout, Fluellen scored four points and Roberts made one of two from the line at the 1:49 mark during a 7-2 run for a 25-22 lead. The top seeded Pirates then closed the half with five straight points including a layup off a steal by Gibbs at the 1:23 mark, two free throws by Caprio at the 1:02 mark, and a fearless drive to the basket by Gibbs that drew a foul, and produced one of two from the foul line at the 25.3 mark for a 27-25 lead at the intermission. In the second, Gibbs made three of six shots and one of two from the line for 7 points while Weisz added six. Roberts scored five in the period for the Marauders.
At the half, Gibbs had 12 points for the Pirates while Caprio grabbed nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Hladik scored 11 points while Davis pulled down four rebounds for the Marauders. The second half started with another run by Seton Hall Prep as it scored seven of the first nine points of the third for a 36-29 lead. The run was highlighted by a layup from Gibbs, and a three by Weisz off an assist by Gibbs for the seven point advantage just a little more than halfway through the third period. St. Peter's Prep scored the next four points including a short jumper off the drive by Hladik at the 2:38 mark for a 36-33 score. Mosley put the Pirates up by five again with a layup down low at the 2:05 mark for a 38-33 score. Davis pulled the Marauders within three by making two free throws after being fouled by Mosley at the 1:30 mark for a 38-35 Pirates lead. Caprio got those two points back with a pair from the line at the 1:18 mark for a 40-35 lead, but Roberts closed the gap to three once more by getting the offensive rebound off a missed three by Walker, and jamming it home for a 40-37 score at the 1:02 mark. Hladik then swiped a steal, drew a foul on the drive, and made one of two from the foul line with 27.7 seconds remaining in the period for a 40-38 Pirates lead.
Seton Hall Prep closed the period though with four of the last six points including two free throws by Gibbs at the 3.7 second mark for a 44-40 lead after Roberts had pulled the Marauders within two again on a tip in. Wujciak opened the fourth with a one of two showing from the line for a 45-40 lead before Davis got his only field goal of the game on a steal for a layup as he was fouled for a traditional three point play, and a 45-43 Pirates lead at the 7:02 mark. Roberts was called for goaltending on a Mosley shot at the 6:39 mark for a 47-43 Seton Hall Prep lead. St. Peter's Prep then scored six unanswered points including a three from the right wing by Walker at the 6:15 mark, one of two from the line by Fluellen at the 5:22 mark, and a jumper by Fluellen for a 49-47 lead with 5:08 to play. It was the first lead for the Marauders since the start of the second quarter. Gibbs then scored to tie things up at 49-49, and Caprio put the Pirates in front again at 50-49 with one of two from the line at the 4:41 mark.
There would be six lead changes and a tie in this contest while neither team had a lead bigger than seven points, and the last lead change would occur when Whyatt connected on a three from the right wing at the 4:31 mark for a 52-50 lead. Then, after Gibbs missed the front end of a one and one with 4:14 to go, Whyatt struck again with a three from the right corner at the 3:26 mark for a 55-50 lead. Roberts made it an 8-0 spurt as Roberts netted two foul shots for a 57-50 lead with 3:01 left. Caprio made two free throws to close the gap to five again at 57-52 with 1:30 left, but Walker countered with a pair of his own at the 1:11 mark for a 59-52 lead. Gibbs swished two from the charity stripe to again close the gap to five at the 1:09 mark, but Walker made one of two at the 57.6 second mark, a pair with 45.2 seconds to go, and Davis closed out the 64-54 victory with two charity shots at the 12 second mark.
With the victory, St. Peter's Prep improved to 25-6 overall on the season, and will play Non-Public A South Champion, Camden Catholic in the Non-Public A title game on Saturday at 6:00 PM at the Ritacco Center in Toms River. Meanwhile, Seton Hall Prep, which lost to Immaculata in last year's final (58-50), finishes its season at 26-3. Analysis will be forthcoming in the blog.
St. Peter's Prep (25-6)
Seton Hall Prep (26-3)
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