Tag Archives: Basketball

Eagles soar in opening round

By James Evans

In their first game of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex County Tournament, the South Hunterdon Eagles (15-4) won handily over the Vernon Vikings, 73-39. The game, which was close throughout the first half, looked like it had all the elements of a first-round upset for the Eagles. However, led by strong play from senior guard Jake Whitaker, who had a season-high 25 points, South was able to run away with the game in the second half.

At the half, the Eagles were up 34-30 in a close game. What most teams would take as an advantage going into the half is a nightmare for the Eagles. In three of their four losses, the Eagles have effectively buried themselves in the third quarter, a major struggle for them this year. That, in conjunction with half of their points coming from Whitaker in the first half, was not a good sign for the team.

However, coach Jason Miller would not have any of it. “He ripped into us at halftime and was unusually heated,” said Whitaker, who added six steals and two rebounds in the contest. And it looks like Miller should do that more often, as his team went out and outscored the Vikings, 39-9, in the final half, absolutely executing on both sides of the court.

When asked postgame how he felt about his performance, Whitaker smiled and said that he “felt great tonight” and that “was certainly the return that I was looking for.” Also playing well in the contest was senior center John Conlon, who had eight points and 10 rebounds in the contest. When asked postgame about his performance, Conlon gawked at the stat sheet in shock that he was a mere basket from his second season double-double. “I absolutely had not idea I was that close,” Conlon said. “We all just played like a team tonight and we need to execute if we want to move onto the next round.”

The Eagles, in the meantime, will play on the road against North Plainfield this Thursday, having a few days off after a tough stretch of basketball. Their next Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex game will be Saturday at home against either North Hunterdon or High Point.

North Penn edges Rams

Pennridge boys’ basketball lost a tough one, 51-49, to North Penn on Thursday. The Rams led 28-24 at the half. Dan Long amassed 20 points to pace Pennridge. He was backed by Joe Molettiere (13 points) and Mike Tatarowicz (10). The Rams fell to 8-5 in the SOL Continental and will return to action Saturday against Quakertown.

Eagles drop another to Del Val

By James Evans

The South Hunterdon Eagles lost their third game in the past six, as they dropped to 13-4 following a 62-57 loss to the Del Val Terriers (9-6) on Tuesday. It was another poor third quarter by the Eagles that hurt them in the second half in a game that was close throughout.

In three of their four losses this season, the Eagles have lost their lead or tie game in the third quarter. Tuesday, with the game tied after the first quarter (8-8) and again at the half (26-26), the Eagles were down by nine in the final minute of the third quarter. However, the early troubles for South began well before the game even started. Guard Daniel Begg remarked postgame that he was worried that “some of the guys are playing with their heads down” and that “the recent struggles have affected the team.” Junior guard Josh Phillips echoed the senior captain’s thoughts after the loss: “We need to pick our heads up for the final third of our season, no question.”

The goal for the night was to contain Terriers forward Josh Christ, who had 22 points in the team’s first contest on Jan. 7. In the rematch, the Terriers hoped to exact revenge for the 62-54 loss, and did so in front of a raucous home crowd. Christ was not as contained as he was in the first contest, greatly swinging the game in the final minutes, hitting two clutch free throws to seal it. However, this game did not look like the Eagles to win from the start.

Junior guard Brennan Carey, who had a team-high 19 points in the first contest, had five turnovers in the first half and shot poorly from the field, so personifying much of South’s early basketball. As trite as it may be “the shots were not falling tonight,” which was certainly reflected in the Eagles’ low shooting percentage. Yet, the game, despite the abysmal third quarter and the early shooting, was within two with 1:01 left to play in the fourth. However, like they have all season, the Eagles lost the game on two critical foul shots in the final minutes. One, a 1-1 opportunity for senior guard Devon Troutman, was missed, along with two shots to keep it a one possession game by Jake Whitaker.

Due to snow, the Eagles will have a back-to-back this Thursday/Friday against Manville and then either Belvidere or Vernon. The latter game will be the opening of the Eagles’ Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex County tournament. If the Eagles hope to have any success at the season’s end, these two games are needed to build the confidence back up and lift the heads high.

Patriots heat up against Rams

Central Bucks East boys’ basketball shot 24 for 41 from the floor and 10 for 13 from the line en route to a 65-47 victory Tuesday over Pennridge. Patriot Tommy Strasburger filled out the stat sheet with a team-high 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. Brendan McLaughlin added 16 points and Matt Gentry 11. For the Rams, Dan Long managed 12 points, while teammates Zach Muredda and Joe Molettiere each deposited 11 and Mike Tatarowicz 10.