High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Gill St. Bernard's

N.J. Week 12 hoops rankings: State champions crowned

March, 13, 2012
After games on Sunday, March 11

The marathon that is the high school basketball season is winding to a close, as the state sectional champions were crowned this past weekend.

Some brought little surprise, like when St. Anthony, the third-ranked team in the POWERADE FAB 50, used stifling defense to repeat as Non-Public B champions. The Friars' 67-39 victory against Gill St. Bernard's ran their win streak to a national-best 63 games, secured their 27th group title and earned them the top seed in this week's Tournament of Champions.

Others triggered shock and suspense, like when Plainfield had to storm back from a halftime deficit to beat Neptune in the Group 3 championship — this coming one round after the Cardinals downed previously undefeated Teaneck by 22. Or when Atlantic City had to pull off a similar late run to beat an upstart Elizabeth squad in the Group 4 title game.

And one contest made history. Ewing's 59-50 win against Pascack Hills in the Group 2 final made Shelley Dearden the first female coach in state history to lead a boys basketball team to a state championship.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 30-0 (1)
Friars repeated as Non-Public B champs while running their win streak to 63 games by easily beating Hudson Catholic and Gill St. Bernard's. They enter the Tournament of Champions as the top seed, awaiting the March 14 winner of Ewing and Atlantic City.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 31-1 (2)
The Gray Bees begin a tough two-week stretch, playing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in Maryland beginning with a contest against John Carroll (Md.). Then they will take part in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament beginning on March 28.

3. Plainfield 28-3 (4)
The Cardinals handed Teaneck its lone loss of the season before rallying back against Neptune to win the Group 3 title. Next up: Asbury Park in Wednesday's opening round of the Tournament of Champions.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

NJ Week 8 hoops rankings: St. Anthony knocks off Huntington Prep

February, 14, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 12

A month ago, Bob Hurley surprised many when he called his undefeated St. Anthony squad "a work in progress" just hours after winning at the HoopHall Classic in front of a national TV audience.

On Tuesday, Hurley gave another reason for opponents to worry when he told me that his Friars squad, fresh off beating national power Huntington Prep by one to push their two-year win streak to 53 games, still hadn't played its best.

"We've gotten better, but we still haven't played our best basketball" Hurley said of the No. 3 team in the POWERADE FAB 50. "Saturday was great and now we'll see if we can keep using that experience to grow more. Kyle [Anderson] is really the only returning starter at his same position. Jerome Frink started, but he played center last year and now he's a forward. So with all these new players and positions and with how much Kyle likes to pass, he's still trying to figure out where to get them the ball.

"It's like a chef working on a new recipe. You keep working with ingredients to see what turns out the best."

The PrimeTime Shootout wasn't so kind to Gill St. Bernard's. The Knights lost to a New Jersey team for the first time this year when Plainfield knocked them off in a 78-77 overtime contest. The Cardinals were coming off an eight-point loss to St. Anthony, which also beat them in the Tournament of Champions final last year. Could a rematch be in store?

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 20-0 (1)
Friars won a 51-50 thriller against national powerhouse Huntington Prep (W. Va.) at the PrimeTime Shootout behind Kyle Anderson's 18 points. The No. 3 team in the FAB 50 will again be tested against Jefferson (N.Y.) and Bishop Eustace this week.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 26-1 (3)
Gray Bees blew out Solebury, Lakewood and St. Patrick by an average of 35 points.

3. Teaneck 20-0 (4)
Highwaymen remain undefeated and move up a spot after a statement win against No. 10 Paterson Eastside. Next up: Bergen Tech and Paramus Catholic.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

Gill St. Bernard's downs Mater Dei, moves into POWERADE FAB 50

January, 10, 2012
After games on Monday, Jan. 9

Before this season, Gill St. Bernard's coach Mergen Sina told me with plenty of conviction: "It's a good time to get to the top of the pack...this year, we honestly feel we can win a state title."

The Knights have backed up Sina's claim in the early going by holding their own against some of the nation's best. After posting a 2-2 mark at the prestigious City of Palms in Florida, the Knights earned a huge, 76-73 win in overtime this past Saturday by downing previous national No. 8 Mater Dei (Calif.). Dominic Hoffman led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds and the Knights showed resolve, bouncing back in the extra period after Mater Dei forced overtime with a three at the buzzer.

The win moves the Knights into the No. 21 spot in the POWERADE FAB 50, seven spots ahead of St. Benedict's Prep and 17 slots behind St. Anthony, which pushed its win streak to 43 games in dominant fashion.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 10-0 (1)
Kyle Anderson had 21 points and eight boards in the Friars' 62-32 win against East Brunswick. They will face a big test Monday against national No. 34 Miller grove at the HoopHall Classic.

2. Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone) 6-2 (3)
Big games from Dominic Hoffman (24 points, 13 boards), Alex Mitola (20 points) and Jaren Sina (19) pushed the Knights to a 76-73 overtime win against Mater Dei (Calif.) on Jan. 7.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 11-1 (2)
Miami recruit and Rice senior transfer Melvin Johnson has been huge for the Gray Bees, draining six 3-pointers in a win against Bergen Catholic to match his season average of 24 points.

Click here for the full POWERADE New Jersey hoops rankings.

Close calls highlight New Year's Jump Off and Week 2 NJ hoops rankings

January, 3, 2012
After games ending Jan. 2

For years, two of the state's perennial powers in St. Anthony and St. Benedict's never faced off, as father and son preferred not to do battle on the court. But when Danny Hurley left St. Benedict's for the NCAA in 2010, the Friars became fair game.

The two made up for lost time with a classic contest during an eventful New Year's Jump Off Classic. St. Benedict's led most of the game, but the defending national champs wore down the Gray Bees behind Kyle Anderson's 13 points and 10 rebounds and pulled out a 51-50 win. The 7-0 Friars are now fourth in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Last year's state runner-up also engaged in a close battle, as No. 4 Plainfield held on for a 59-57 win against No. 8 Hudson Catholic. Ahmid Williams free throws in the final seconds proved to be the difference.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 7-0 (1)
Friars survived their first test of the season, overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit to beat No. 2 St. Benedict's Prep, 51-50.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 9-1 (2)
Gave top-ranked St. Anthony all it could handle in 51-50 loss at New Year's Jump Off.

3. Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone) 3-2 (3)
Knights have been idle since City of Palms. Return to action this week against Bridgewater-Raritan.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

DeCosey, Mitola lead debut of NJ All-State hoops stock watch

December, 22, 2011
The first New Jersey hoops rankings will come out next week, but we've still got you covered with as the season gets underway. Each week, we'll take a look back at our New Jersey preseason All-State basketball team and update you on how some of those players are faring this year. There will be a Prime-Time Player (PTP), an Other Top Player (OTP) and an Under the Radar (UTR) player who is making his case as one of the state's top ballers.

PTP: Quenton DeCosey, St. Joseph (Met.), Senior
DeCosey broke the 1,000-point mark by dropping 30 in a win against Old Bridge. The senior swingman also had 12 rebounds for the Falcons, who are 2-1. (ESPNHS coverboy Kyle Anderson also surpassed the 1,000-point mark this past week when he scored 20 in St. Anthony's 78-21 win against Newark Central.)

OTP: Alex Mitola, Gill St. Bernard's, Senior
Playing against some of the nation's top competition, the Knights held their own with a 2-2 showing, thanks to the play of Mitola. The sharp-shooting guard knocked down 18 3-pointers in the final three games and is averaging 25.7 points this season.

UTR: Sayvon Williams, Union City, Senior
The speedy senior can hurt opponents with his quickness and outside shooting. This much was clear in a 73-60 win against Newark Vocational when Williams netted a game-high 27 points, including four 3-pointers.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Fall postseason update

November, 16, 2011
From the nation's No. 1 team (Don Bosco Prep) to the nation's No. 5 baller (Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony), I know you've heard plenty about football and basketball of late. But don't think I've forgotten about the equally important and intense postseason battles taking place in the other fall sports of soccer and cross country. Here's an update on how things have shaken out:

*Surprise, surprise. Christian Brothers Academy, No. 3 in the Dyestat rankings, won its 23rd cross country team state title, tying Bernards for the most in state history. The Colts broke their own meet record with an average mark of 16:11. CBA senior George Kelly took the individual crown with a time of 16:05, helping the Colts down rival Don Bosco Prep, 18-45, in the Non-Public A race.

*Tim Ball of Piscataway looked impressive entering this weekend's Meet of Champions, running a time of 15:38 to capture the Group 4 title. Click here to read more about the group championships at Dyestat.

*Christian Brothers also found success on the soccer field, completing a 21-0 season with a 1-0 win in the Non-Public A championship against Delbarton. Scott Thomsen provided the winning goal just over a minute into the first overtime period, pushing the Colts to their first title in nine years and the No. 4 ranking in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

*Freshman Malcolm Dixon stepped up in a big way in the Non-Public B title, knocking a deflected shot into the net to give Montclair Kimberley a 1-0 overtime win against Gill St. Bernard's for the state crown.

*On Thursday and Sunday, Groups 1-4 will play their respective soccer championships at The College of New Jersey. Here's how the schedule looks:

Group 4: Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Cherokee
Group 3: Ramapo vs. Timber Creek

Group 2: Bernards vs. Holmdel
Group 1: Waldwick vs. Haddon Township

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

No. 1 St. Anthony looks to defend state title in New Jersey

October, 19, 2011
The good news for the rest of the Garden State is that the likes of Michael Gilchrist, Myles Mack Derrick Gordon and other stars from the St. Anthony and St. Patrick powerhouses aren't around to dominate the state and national scene anymore.

The bad news is that coach Bob Hurley and Kyle Anderson are back with plenty of help to defend St. Anthony's crown. Anderson, a UCLA commit who has lost just once in his prep career, headlines a Friars team filled with tough players like Jerome Frink and Jimmy Hall. This nucleus placed the Friars at No. 9 in the POWERADE FAB 50 preseason rankings.

With a new coach and standout underclassmen Dakari Johnson and Austin Colbert transferred, it could be a relatively off year for St. Patrick, leaving upstarts like St. Benedict's Prep and Gill St. Bernard to push ahead as a result.

Here are how the preseason state rankings shake out:

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City)
2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone)
3. St. Benedict's Prep (Jersey City)

Click here for the full POWERADE preseason New Jersey basketball rankings