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Welcome to the GMC Hoops Top Ten Greatest Games Section of the web site.  Continuing our fifth anniversary celebration, GMC Hoops has put together a list of the top ten greatest games ever covered by the web site over its first five seasons (2000-2005). There were a total of 32 games from either the regular season, GMC Tournament, and NJSIAA State Tournament that were nominated including two Junior Varsity and two Freshman games. Of those games, only ten were selected to be on this special list.  We intend to have the complete list of nominated games posted soon. Feel free to e-mail your comments and suggestions to gmachos@gmchoops.com.


GMC HOOPS TOP TEN GREATEST GAMES FROM 2000-2005

    1. South Plainfield 66--St. Joseph's 65
      2005 GMCT Final
      February 25, 2005
      Rutgers Athletic Center

      Arguably one of the greatest Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament Finals Ever. The third seeded Tigers successfully defended their crown after stumbling into the GMCT with losses to Colonia and Woodbridge late in the regular season, and squeaking by sixth seeded New Brunswick in the quarterfinal round in a very controversial game. Fourth seeded St. Joe's, which began the year 1-7, surged into the tourney final with wins in 15 of their last 16 including wins over top seeded South Brunswick (twice), Piscataway, Rochester East, in the Prime Time Shootout, and fifth seeded Cardinal McCarrick. The Falcons took a 65-64 lead with 14 seconds left on a pair of foul shots by junior forward, Sean Baptiste, who rebounded a missed dunk attempt by future NBA lottery pick, Andrew Bynum, and got fouled. Following a timeout by SPHS Head Coach, Jeff Lubreski, the Tigers inbounded the ball to senior guard Marquis Jones, who became the school's all time leading scorer, and was later recruited by the University of Rhode Island. Jones then took the ball down the floor, and sank a short jumper with three seconds left for the victory. In this GMCT final, South Plainfield set a record for most three pointers by a team with ten, and by an individual with six by University of Pennsylvania bound Darren Smith, who won the tournament's Most Valuable Player Award with 31 points.

    2. St. Joseph's 64--New Brunswick 62
      2003 GMCT Semifinals
      February 25, 2003
      East Brunswick High School


      It was the first of two memorable semifinals played that year. Second seeded New Brunswick, which had the likes of Marvin Taylor, Kareem Byrom, Eric Bynes, Dwayne Jarrett, and Jamaal Jenkins, had taken a 13 point lead on a monsterous dunk that brought the house down, and gave the Zebras all the momentum at that point with less than four minutes to play. However, the third seeded Falcons, led by Jonathan Dixon, who eventually went on to play at Lawrenceville Prep, and Division II NJIT, rallied. Dixon caught fire as he hit several of his five three pointers (5 of 5 3 PT FGs) down the stretch while Calvin Cannon and Tom Scott each added one as well. New Brunswick fueled the comeback with a horrendous performance at the line going a cold 29 percent at the charity stripe on the night. The St. Joseph's faithful got into the game, and when New Brunswick called time out with seven seconds to play, and with St. Joseph's out of timeouts, the moment was there for the Falcons to seize. Josh Batts scored the winning layup as time expired, and St. Joe's earned the right to play top seeded Cardinal McCarrick in the final. The Eagles would eventually beat the Falcons in the championship by a 67-56 margin for their first county/conference crown in school history.

    3. Raritan 53--South Plainfield 52
      2004 North Jersey Section 2 Group III Championship
      March 9, 2004
      Plainfield High School

      This is the only game on the list that features a non-conference team. Raritan, which competes in the Shore Conference, denied the Tigers their first sectional crown since 1991, and halted the longest winning streak in South Plainfield school history. The Rockets, which defeated highly touted Scotch Plains with the likes of Derrick Caracter and Lance Thomas, were led by guard Marques Johnson and center Qar'ran Calhoun. Calhoun dominated the first half for the Rockets as he put Tiger big man Ian Robinson in foul trouble, and collected most of his team's points as the Rockets took a 21-17 halftime lead. South Plainfield rallied to take the lead back, and appeared to have Raritan on the brink in the fourth quarter when Johnson made a tremendous play. With the Tigers leading by three, Corey Gilmore got a steal and headed in for an apparent uncontested layup when the younger Johnson ran him down from behind, and blocked his layup attempt. This huge defensive game swung the momentum back in the Rockets favor, and they ralled to garner a three point lead with time running out. South Plainfield managed to get the ball for one more possession, and had the right man take the game tying three point attempt, but when Darren Smith nailed the shot, the officials ruled that his foot just touched the three point line, and ruled the shot to be a two pointer, and Raritan won 53-52.

    4. Cardinal McCarrick 65--South Plainfield 63
      2003 GMCT Semifinals
      February 25, 2003
      East Brunswick High School



      This was the nightcap of the two memorable 2003 Greater Middlesex Conference semifinals, which by the way, were both selected as the 2003 GMC Hoops Games of the Year. The top seeded Cardinal McCarrick Eagles, and their dream season were put to the test as the fourth seeded Tigers, fresh off their big win over Perth Amboy in the quarterfinal round, gave the Mika Wilson led Eagles all they could handle. After South Plainfield took an early lead, McCarrick settled down and eventually pulled even with the Tigers. Wilson, who was the 2003 GMCT MVP, and teammate Billy Wagner took advantage of the edge they had in size over their Tiger counterparts, and attacked the glass. The game would go back and forth until the end when McCarrick's Ed Fulham banked in a layup with about 30 seconds to play. Cardy Mac went on not only to win its first ever county/conference title in school history with a 67-56 win over St. Joseph's in the championship at South Brunswick High School, but also claim their first sectional crown in 23 years with a victory over Wildwood Catholic in the Non-Public B South Championship at Lakewood High School.

    5. South Plainfield 59--Piscataway 56 OT
      2004 GMCT Quarterfinals
      February 21, 2004
      South Brunswick High School


      Like McCarrick the previous year, South Plainfield's dream season was on the line, and in serious jeopardy. With guards Darren Smith and Gary Houston struggling from the perimeter, and the Chiefs weathering an early storm to overcome a first quarter deficit, the game, which was slowed by a ton of personal fouls and turnovers, turned into a scare for the then undefeated Tigers. As a matter of fact, Piscataway, which had 31 turnovers in the contest, should have won the game in regulation. Early in the first half, the Chiefs were called for a technical due to a scorebook error, and in the fourth quarter, senior guard Manny Perotte, who played admirably in defeat, missed two clutch free throws down the stretch to give the Tigers a chance to comeback. Meanwhile, the Tigers managed to chip away at a four point, late fourth quarter lead to force overtime, despite playing tenatively down the stretch. Houston and Marquis Jones sank key free throws in the final minute, and then in the extra session Houston came up big with a pivotal three pointer to give SPHS a 56-53 lead, and the Tigers won by that same margin. Surviving the Chiefs upset bid, the Tigers defeated St. Joe's in the semifinals, and arch rival Colonia in the championship for their first ever county/conference title to go along with their second consecutive GMC White Division crown.

    6. Colonia 74--Cardinal McCarrick 72
      2004 GMCT Semifinals
      February 23, 2004
      South Brunswick High School


      Despite having a freshman point guard, the Patriots rolled into the conference tourney, defeated New Brunswick after spotting them a 17 point halftime lead, and then upset defending champion Cardinal McCarrick in the semifinals. In a thrilling game, the Eagles, which earned the second seed in the 2004 GMC Tournament after going through the GMC Blue Division undefeated, were vulnerable to the upset thanks to a tough overtime win over tenth seeded J.P. Stevens in the quarterfinals, and foul problems for their point guard, Mike Garcia. With Garcia out of the way, Colonia's Zach Rosen was able to be more effective directing the Patriot offense. The freshman point guard, who immediately drew attention during the summer with a phenomenal performance against Bridgewater in the semifinals of the Linden Summer League playoffs, was able to dribble penetrate and dish to senior forward, Nkenna Usuwa for the winning layup with seven seconds remaining to give Colonia the two point win, and their fourth appearance in the GMCT Championship Game in six years.

    1. South Plainfield 60--New Brunswick 59
      2005 GMCT Quarterfinals
      February 20, 2005
      Middlesex County College


      One of the most controversial games in Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament History. Like 2004, A Tony DiGiovanni coached team gave South Plainfield all it could handle in a GMCT Quarterfinal. DiGiovanni, now the coach at New Brunswick lost to the Tigers in the 2004 GMCT Quarterfinals while coaching at Piscataway. As in their 2004 GMCT Quarterfinal versus Piscataway, South Plainfield jumped out to an early only to have their opponents rally back, and take a lead late. Another similarity to 2004, missed free throws prevented the Zebras from putting the Tigers away late as the usually reliable Davar Watson misfired at the charity stripe setting the stage for a South Plainfield last minute rally to tie the game. Then, as they did the previous year, the officials played a role as well by calling a foul on a New Brunswick player after Darren Smith got a rebound at the South Plainfield end with less than a second remaining. Smith, the eventual MVP of the tourney, sank a free throw with 0.5 left, and the Tigers escaped with the win while the referees were booed off the floor. South Plainfield would go on to knock off second seeded Colonia in the semifinals, and then win their second consecutive GMCT by defeating St. Joseph's on a last second shot by four year varsity player, and 2004 GMC Hoops Player of the Year, Marquis Jones. New Brunswick would get their revenge though as they upset the Tigers on their home court in the quarterfinal round of the North Jersey Section 2 Group III State Tournament, 66-61.

    2. St. Joseph's 46--South Brunswick 44
      2005 GMCT Semifinals
      February 22, 2005
      Middlesex County College


      For the second time in four years, Dan Stonkus and South Brunswick won the Red Division, and earned the top seed in the GMCT only to lose in the semifinal round. The Vikings lost as a top seed in 2002 to that year's runner-up, Colonia. However, losing to a St. Joe's team with the likes of future NBA lottery pick, Andrew Bynum and Sean Baptiste wasn't considered an upset. The Falcons, which had started the season 1-7, turned things around in a hurry with wins in 15 of their next 16 including a victory over highly touted Rochester East in the Prime Time Shootout some ten days earlier. St. Joseph's also demolished the Vikings their previous meeting the first week of February at the Bird Cage. This time though, the Vikings were determined to stay within striking distance for the duration of the game despite falling behind early in the first half. As a matter of fact, South Brunswick had a chance to either force overtime or get the win, but sophomore guard, Martin Soaries was unable to see fellow teammate, junior Tommy Hill open in the right corner for a possible game tying or winning shot, and misfired from the top of the key as time ran out. The Falcons would go on to lose in heartbreaking fashion to South Plainfield in the championship, and then lose in the first round of the Non-Public A South State Tournament to Monsignor Donovan.

    3. Cardinal McCarrick 58--J.P. Stevens 57 OT
      2004 GMCT Quarterfinals
      February 21, 2004
      South Brunswick High School



      It was a rematch of a regular season game played won by McCarrick, 63-58, earlier that 2004 season at J.P. Stevens as well as a rematch of a second round GMCT battle at Cardinal McCarrick in 2003. Stevens was a Cinderella story going into this game as they defeated Perth Amboy for the third time that season in the second round, and had put together a nice run after starting the season on shaky ground with losses in eight of their first eleven games. The Hawks turned things around with wins in 8 of their next 12 going into the GMCT Quarters including two wins over Amboy, and two wins over a Piscataway team that put a scare in top seeded South Plainfield
      . On the other side of the ledger was a McCarrick team, which had just won its second straight GMC Blue Division title, and was more offensively balanced than in 2003 when they won it all in the GMCT for the school's first conference championship. As he had done in the regular season game several weeks earlier, Kenny Melford, came off the bench, and gave the Hawks a spark. The 2004 GMC Hoops Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, came up with clutch athletic plays while Andrew Biancosino and Jason Callender provided support. Kevin Olivieri saved the Eagles though with his fine performance at the foul line including two free throws late in the extra session for the win. However, after surviving two straight overtime games, Cardy Mac would fall in the semifinal round to third seeded, and eventual runner-up Colonia, in a thrilling two point loss.

    4. Colonia 66--Piscataway 63
      2005 GMCT Quarterfinals
      February 20, 2005
      Middlesex County College



      Once again, the Chiefs would go home heartbroken as they squandered an early 22-11 first quarter lead. Nick Smith, who would go on to surpass former teammate Justin Chiera as Colonia's all time leading scorer, and play at Division II Stonehill, turned in a monster game with 36 points. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, Piscataway's Rodney Freeney (20 points) turned in some amazing drives to the basket while teammate Brandon Wilkinson was hot from the floor with 23 points on five three pointers. The Patriots, which came into the tournament as the number two seed, and co-champions in the GMC White Division, were able to pull out the win as Nick Allan sank two free throws with 7.9 seconds remaining to seal the win as Colonia's fans stormed the court in celebration. However, Colonia's bid to reach their fifth final in seven years was dashed in the semifinals by their White Division nemesis and arch rival, South Plainfield, which defeated them for the sixth time in the two teams last seven meetings over two years, and went on to win their second straight Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament title.


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