By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Trenton, NJ – St. Joseph’s of Metuchen was considered the favorite to win this game.
However, being the favorite to win a game doesn’t always guarantee them that they will win the game. And that’s exactly what happened in this game.
Roselle Catholic Lions defeated St. Joseph’s from Metuchen Falcons, 65-49, last night from the Sun National Bank Center. Roselle Catholic won the Tournament of Champions Championship with the win, before a Roselle Catholic player broke the trophy in the media press conference room.
With the win, Roselle Catholic ended their season with a 25-5 overall record. St. Joseph’s ended their season with a 27-5 mark.
This was the first meeting between the teams. It was also each team’s first Tournament of Champions appearance in the championship game.
St. Joseph made their first Tournament of Champions appearance last year. But it wasn’t until Friday night when they won their first Tournament of Champions game.
Roselle Catholic is in its first Tournament of Champions appearance, and won its first Tournament of Champions game on Friday night. They have also won their first Non-Public B State Championship since 1962-63.
After St. Joseph’s made the score 58-47, Tyler Roberson, who will be off to Syracuse University in the coming months, scored 7 straight points to make it 65-47. Then, St. Joseph scored the last basket to make it 65-49.
Roselle Catholic had a 10-point lead at 50-40 in the fourth quarter. Marques Townes then made it 50-43 with a three-point basket, before Hakim Saintil made it 52-43. Matt Bullock made it 54-43, before James Ziemba scored to make it 54-45.
It has been and forth since fourth quarter opened. Yet, Roselle Catholic had a 48-40 lead when St. Joseph player Jimbo Long was injured. It is not clear how injured he was since he returned to the game nearly a minute later.
Roselle Catholic ended the quarter with back-to-back three-point baskets by Malachi Richardson. His 6-0 run made the game from 36-32 to 42-35 at the end of the third quarter.
“We know St. Joe’s is capable of doing that,’’ said Roselle Catholic head coach Dave Boff. “But since that Union loss, we’ve preached maturity and composure. So we just called a timeout, refocused and played as a team.’’
After St. Joseph got within 1 point, Roselle Catholic went on a 4-0 run to make it 34-29. Karl-Anthony Towns broke up the run with a two-point basket, in which he scored his 1,000th career point. He converted a free throw for his 1,001st point to make it 34-32.
“Karl is a great talent, but we have the best player in the state in Tyler Roberson,’’ said Boff. “Our plan was to not let them get going in transition and to hold Karl to a low point total.
“We wanted to play behind him and have someone sit on the high post so we had him covered front and back. We wanted to force him to beat us from 15 feet.’’
St. Joseph made it 28-27 with a three-point play by Marques Townes. Roberson silenced the St. Joseph run with a two-point basket to make it 30-27. St. Joseph got within 1 point when Towns scores a two-point basket to make it 30-29.
St. Joseph’s started the third quarter with 8 straight points in an 8-0 run after Asante Gist scored to open the quarter for Roselle Catholic. The 8-0 run made the score 28-24.
“Their defense was the difference,’’ said St. Joseph coach Dave Turco. “They stopped us in transition and their length really gave us problems. They really forced us out of a lot of things. They had us shooting NBA 3-pointers, which we don’t usually do. Give them the credit for the defense they played.’’
Roselle Catholic led at the half, 26-16. Richardson scored 14 points in the first half for Roselle Catholic. Wade Baldwin had just 6 points for St. Joseph’s.
After Long scored a two-point basket to make it 10-10 for St. Joseph’s of Metuchen, Roselle Catholic went on a 9-0 run for the first four minutes of the second quarter. They increased it to an 11-0 run, which was broken at 3:29 when Baldwin made back-to-back free throws to make it 21-12.
At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 10-10. Richardson led all scores in the first quarter with 6 points.
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