Johnson's Double-Double Leads Blues
By Mike Ready
LINCROFT – The Brookdale men’s basketball team clobbered Northampton Pa. Community College 100-61 Tuesday night at Collins Arena for their 21st straight win against zero defeats on the season.
Ranked No.1 in NJCAA DIII play and the defending national champions, Brookdale (21-0, 14-0) continues to demolish its opposition to the point where its starters rarely see much playing time in the second half of games. In 21 games this season, Brookdale’s average margin of victory is 25.6 points per game.
Brookdale’s closest games of the season were both against Union County, beating them by four points at Union, 64-60 November 16, and by seven, 75-68 at Collins Arena January 16. Brookdale seems to always struggle against Union and the Owls will likely present the biggest obstacle for Brookdale in their quest for three straight NJCAA Region XIX championships come playoff time.
In Tuesday night’s 39-point debacle, all sixteen players on the bench saw playing time, with fourteen breaking into the scoring column. Starter Ricky Stephen’s was out with an illness but should return for Thursday’s game at Cumberland County.
Brookdale bolted out to a 21-9 lead at 11:29 of the first half and led by 19, 48-29, at the half.
Sophomore forward Joe Nickerson (Barringer H.S.) led the Blues with 10 first half points, including a nice offensive rebound and put-back at 8:10 and set up a pretty ally-oop, with sophomore guard David Rosado finishing it off at the 6:30 mark of the first half.
Freshman forward Rahsaan Johnson (Passiac H.S.) came out smoking in the second half, scoring the first six points of the half for Brookdale, and 10 of Brookdale’s 20 points in the first five minutes of the second half to take a 68-35 lead. Johnson finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block.
“We’re playing good, we’re sharing the basketball and playing as a team,” Johnson said after the game. “We’re all friends off the court too, and when you put that relationship off the court together with the connection on the court it’s all good. We have a very cool coaching staff I can really relate to them, they work us hard but we have a lot of fun too.”
“With the playoffs coming up we’ve got to remember that nobody’s going to be giving us anything,” Johnson added. “They’ll all be shooting for us, we’re the champions.”
Nickerson ended the night with 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals while Brookdale’s best all-around player, Cory Soanes added seven points, three rebounds, four steals, four assists and a blocked shot. Rosado added five assists and five rebounds with four points.
Freshman forward James Jenkins (Hillside H.S.) came off the bench to score 11 points while sophomore Tevon Bennett (Orange H.S.) dropped in 10 points.
Freshmen Jaimik Moore (Hackensack H.S.) and Tyrone Curry (Charlotte N.C.) both came off the bench to score eight and seven points respectively for the Blues. Moore added five rebounds – three offensive – two assists, two steals and one blocked shot in a terrific showing.
Also contributing off the bench was freshman guard Mason Jones (Manchester H.S.) with five points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal.
Brookdale travels to Cumberland Thursday before returning home Saturday for a 2:00 P.M. tipoff versus Middlesex County C.C.