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Close Calls Close 18th Annual Hoop Group NJ Tip-Off Showcase

Mater Dei 56, St. Mary’s Elizabeth 55

Trailing by five points at halftime and by as much as eight in the third quarter, St. Mary’s Elizabeth did not flinch, going on a 16-5 run in the last 5:15 of the third period, taking a 40-39 lead into the final quarter. Mater Dei regained its scoring touch regaining the lead and pushing the advantage to 53-45 with 2:24 remaining.

St. Mary’s displayed a ton of fight drawing to within one on a pair of free throws from Papie Roberts. After Mater Dei’s Alexander Rice missed a free throw, Jay’von Jackson gave St. Mary’s their first lead since the 7:14 mark. The lead would be short-lived as Kenny Jones dribbled the ball down the court before feeding Yasin Pretlow, whose jump shot at the buzzer lifted Mater Dei to the dramatic 56-55 victory. St. Mary’s head coach Anthony P. Colletti disputed the call and argued that Pretlow did not get the shot off before the buzzer but in the end, the call stood.

Pretlow led Mater Dei with 21 points while Jones chipped in 14 points and Kyle Cardaci had 11 points. For St. Mary’s, Roberts pumped in a game-high 16 points while Jackson netted 13 points.

Gill St. Bernard’s 68, Shawnee 46

Leading 17-10 after the first quarter, Gill St. Bernard’s offense lit up the scoreboard behind three-pointers and sinking free throws, including a four-point play from Alexander Schachne as Gill St. Bernard’s held a commanding 39-17 at intermission. In the second half, Shawnee cut into the lead with a 13-2 run, but that was still not enough as Gill St. Bernard’s coasted home for the 68-46 win.

Paul Mulcahy led Gill St. Bernard’s in scoring with 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Alex Schachne and Brad Bundschuh each delivered 14 points apiece.

Linden 50, Bergen Catholic 44

Ranked 43rd in the country by, Linden came out firing on all cylinders jumping out to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter against Bergen Catholic. However, the Crusaders rallied going on a 9-0 run tying the game up with 4:37 left in the second quarter.

Entering the third quarter tied at 24-24, Bergen Catholic took its first lead on a trifecta from Doug Edert. Both teams’ exchanged the lead several times as the contest was tied at 35-35 at the end of the period. The Tigers scored the first four points in the fourth quarter, but Edert kept the Crusaders close draining a three-pointer. Linden managed to pull away late due to clutch free throw shooting.

Tavon Jones led Linden in scoring with 15 points while Mickey Watkins netted 12 points. For Bergen Catholic, Edert scored 19 points while Zachary Freemantle contributed 16 points.

Don Bosco Prep 78, Newark East Side 73

Entering the third quarter, Don Bosco Prep trailed 39-35. However, thanks to the one-two combination of Marcellus Earlington and Ron Harper Jr. the Ironmen’s offense found its stride, especially in the paint, outscoring Newark East Side 20-13 in the third quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, Don Bosco extended the margin to 68-58 but a 7-0 run by Newark East Side trimmed the deficit to 70-66 with 3:34 remaining. A driving lay-up by DeAndre Speight made it a one-point game with 2:35 on the clock. Harper Jr. took over sinking a trey and swooshing a pair of free throws to make it 75-69 with 1:28 left as the Ironmen hung on for the 78-73 win.

Earlington had one of the highest scoring output totals in the Hoop Group Showcase with 35 points while Harper Jr. poured in 23 points. For Newark East Side, Speight finished with 14 points.

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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