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Upsets continue in Bergen Invitational Hoops Tournament



(4) Northern Highlands 59, (3) Fair Lawn 51

Early on things did not look good for the number four seeded Northern Highlands Highlanders as they found themselves in a 9-0 hole in the first quarter and down as much as 11 points in the second quarter. That all changed in the third quarter as the Highlanders outscored Fair Lawn 20-8 and held on for the 59-51 victory in the quarterfinals of the Bergen Invitational Tournament at Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey.

The Highlanders will face the number one seed Ridgewood Maroons from the Mall Region in the semifinals at Ridgewood High School on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Senior Benny Haber led Northern Highlands in scoring with 13 points while sophomore Rich Waltman added 11 points with nine of them coming in the third quarter as the Highlanders took a 52-39 lead. Fair Lawn answered back, cutting the margin down to 56-51 with 58 seconds remaining but free throws from senior Andrew Keenan and Haber sealed the win. Senior Dillon Welsh finished with a game-high 18 points while sophomore Patrick Snoad contributed 15 points that were all three-pointers.

“Our reserves gave us a lot of minutes and energy in the second quarter,” said Northern Highlands Head Coach Mike Stone. “I told the starters at halftime you have two minutes to emulate that or else you’re coming out. We won the third quarter 20-0 and it’s nice to persevere and we’re moving on.”

(4) Ridgefield Park 55, (2) Hasbrouck Heights 51

The Ridgefield Park Scarlets enjoyed an early double-digit lead in the second quarter only to watch Hasbrouck Heights take their first lead since the first quarter in the fourth and push the lead up to 49-45 before senior Mike Taveras took over grabbing a loose ball after a turnover by the Aviators off an inbound pass and taking it to the rim for a lay-up giving the Scarlets the lead for good.

Hasbrouck Heights squandered an opportunity to tie the game up committing another critical turnover and Taveras iced the win knocking down two free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining. Ridgefield Park will square off against number one seed Demarest from the Monument Region in the semifinals at Ridgewood High School on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

“I think we played a very good first half but in the second half we struggled to put the ball in the basket which put us in a real difficult spot,” said Ridgefield Park Head Coach Chris Gaskin. “Sometimes the basketball gods work in your favor and we’ll take it. Mike really saved the bacon at the end of the game for us. A tough kid who plays hard all the time and his game is defensively and attacking the basket.”

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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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