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Hoop Group Tip-Off: Roselle Catholic spreads around the wealth and holds Pope John in check for a 71-58 win

Roselle Catholic is looking to re-assert its dominance in NJ High School Basketball, after a year where they did not win the Parochial B State title. The Lions seem like a team on a mission to reclaim their title in the 2016-17 season, and get back to NJ’s TofC Final.

Roselle Catholic showed everyone just that on Friday night after blowing out a very good Trenton Catholic team to open the season. The Lions would have to turn around less than 24 hours later and take on another top NJ HS Basketball team in Pope John of Sparta.

Pope John hung in though in the first quarter and trailed 18-10 with Pope John’s Arron Clarke pouring in five points for the parochial power. Roselle Catholic’s Nate Pierre Louis scored six of his game high 16 points in the first quarter to keep the winning Lions in the lead.

Roselle Catholic seemed to spread the wealth around and beat Pope John with a balanced attack that included four different players in double figures as they raced out to a 40-19 halftime lead they would never relinquish. Pope John was held to nine second quarter points as six different Roselle Catholic players scored in the half led by nine from Nate Pierre Louis and Alonzo Frink.

In the 3rd quarter Roselle Catholic was too much for Pope John as the Lions of Pope John could never get into reach of the Union County powerhouse. However, after one of the country’s top ranked junior’s Nazeron Reid picked up his fourth foul of the game with 38 seconds left in the quarter, Roselle Catholic’s lead was cut to 49-36. Pope John and Roselle Catholic traded baskets in the last few seconds as Roselle Catholic led 51-39 at the end of three quarters of play. Pope John outscored Roselle 20-11 in the 3rd to get back into the game led by Samba Diallo, another of the top recruits in the country for 2018. Diallo had 10 points in the quarter and finished the game with 18 for Pope John.

Even with some key players in fouls trouble for Roselle Catholic in the 4th quarter, they just wouldn’t relinquish their lead and managed to keep its distance from a stingy Pope John offense that was relentless.

Roselle Catholic simply had too much speed, depth, and quickness for Pope John to keep up with the high scoring fast paced offense. The final was 71-58, and Pope John’s leading scorer for the day was Samba Diallo with 18 points and six rebounds and was the team’s MVP in the losing cause.

Roselle Catholic’s MVP with 16 points and four assists was Nate Pierre Louis.

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