Quarterfinal Game Tonight at Collins Arena
By Mike Ready
LINCROFT – The Brookdale men’s defense of their 2013 NJCAA DIII National Championship begins Tuesday night in a NJCAA Region XIX quarterfinal match against ninth-seeded Northampton (14-12, 8-6) 7:00 p.m. at Collins Arena.
The Jersey Blues are aiming towards winning their fourth overall and third-straight NJCAA Region XIX Championship when they take the court Tuesday in their quarterfinal game.
The top-seeded Brookdale men (26-1, 19-1) are ranked No.1 nationally in NJCAA DIII basketball and have stood atop that perch since the preseason rankings were released in October.
In their only meeting of the season, January 28, Brookdale defeated the Spartans by 39 points, 100-61. Freshman Rahsaan Johnson (Passaic H.S.) led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds in the win.
Brookdale steamrolled through their schedule going 23-0 before a 78-74 loss at Camden February 4 derailed their quest for an undefeated regular season. Since that loss, they’ve won three in a row by an average margin of victory of 34.6 points.
The Blues are headed by 6-foot-5 inch forward Joe Nickerson who leads the team with a 18.7 scoring average and is third in rebounding with 6.2 boards a game. Nickerson was named Most Valuable Player of last season’s NJCAA DIII National Championship Tournament when he averaged 17 points and six rebounds in three games, including 21 points and seven boards in the final.
Last season’s Region XIX Tournament Most Valuable Player, David Rosado, a 6-foot-3 inch guard from Saddle River Day School averages 10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Blues this season and would love to take home the MVP award again this season.
Four-of-five Brookdale starters have playoff experience from last season’s championship run and another, 6-foot-3 guard Brian Adams (Manalapan H.S.) had extensive playing time in the post season, including a game-changing blocked shot in the national final. Adams averages 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game this season for the Blues.
Six-foot-one inch guard Corey Soanes (Matawan H.S.), a tremendous all-around player with an amazing vertical leap, averages 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game and led the team with 73 steals. Soanes prides himself on his defensive prowess and is a relentless defender.
Sophomore point guard Ricky Stephens (Monmouth Regional H.S.) dished out an average of 3.2 assists per game to lead the team and chipped in 5.1 points and 2.9 rebounds a game as well.
Breaking into the starting lineup is 6-foot-3 inch freshman forward Jaimik Moore (Hackensack H.S.) who has really come on the latter part of the season for the Blues. Moore averages 13.5 points a game, 7.2 boards and 2.3 assists per game.
Rahsaan Johnson, a 6-foot-five forward, leads the team in rebounding, grabbing an average of 8.2 boards a game and his 11.6 points a game is fourth on the team in scoring.
Brookdale has a very deep and talented bench and you can expect to see sophomore Tevon Bennett (Orange H.S.) and freshmen Mason Jones (Manchester H.S.), Tyrone Curry (Charlotte N.C.), James Jenkins (Hillside H.S.), Eric Davis (Asbury Park H.S.), Tyler Kearny (Englewod H.S.), Jaheel Chain (Union H.S.), Dalonte Grant (Pert Amboy H.S.), and Aubrey Dozier (Abbeville La.) all see action. Freshman Tyler Gurczeski (Raritan H.S.) is a game time decision with a knee injury.
If the Blues win as expected, they’ll move on to play in Thursday’s semifinals against the winner of the fifth-seeded Middlesex vs. fourth- seeded Union game, 6:00 p.m. at Collins Arena.
Brookdale is hosting the NJCAA Region XIX DII and DIII Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals and finals all day Thursday and Saturday February 27 and March 1.
BROOKDALE WOMEN ADVANCE
LINCROFT - The top-seeded Brookdale women destroyed eighth-seed Lehigh Carbon 93-20 in Monday nights quarterfinal game at Collins Arena.
Head coach Bob Dubina began emptying his bench five minutes into the game and all 11 players suited for the game made their way into the scoring column, with five players in double figures.
The Blues bolted to a 27-0 lead at 13:56 of the first half and led 45-4 at the half.
Marya Trapp (Red Bank Regional) was top scorer with 19 points and pulled down eight boards. Nadya Szaniszlo (Keansburg H.S.) grabbed a team high 13 rebounds, blocked two shots and dropped in 14 points for her first double-double of the season.
Six-foot-3 inch sophomore center Sam Carlson (Manalapan H.S.) also pulled off a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Marina Lukianov (Howell H.S.) netted 10 points and added four rebounds, while Paxton Reddington (Saint John Vianney) scored all her 11 points in the first half and dished out a team high five assists. Jazmin Palmer (North Bergen H.S.) had five steals and six points.
With the win, Brookdale moves into Thursday's NJCAA Region XIX semifinals against fifth seeded Middlesex (19-8, 12-6), a 79-69 winner over Northampton, 8:15 at Collins Arena.