Nickerson Returns to Score 23 Points For Blues
By Mike Ready
LINCROFT – Coming off a two week Christmas break it didn’t take long for the No.1 ranked Jersey Blues (12-0, 9-0) to shake off any rust it had accrued, as they easily defeated Cumberland County Community College (6-6, 5-5), 96-79, for their twelfth win in a row Monday night at Collins Arena.
Running off 21-straight points to close out the first half, the Blues took a 31-point lead, 57-26, into halftime and cruised the rest of the way; emptying it’s bench in the process.
The Blues welcomed back sophomore forward Joe Nickerson ( Barringer H.S.) for his first game action of the season and he didn’t disappoint. Nickerson, the MVP of last season’s National Championship Tournament when he averaged 16.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game - including 21 points and seven rebounds in the final - poured in 23 points Monday night to lead the Blues.
Four other Blues scored in double figures with sophomore guards Corey Soanes (Matawan H.S.) and Tevon Bennett (Orange H.S.) each netting 14 points. Soanes added five steals in a tremendous defensive effort and brought down the house with a spectacular slam-dunk off a Nickerson feed at 16:07 of the first half.
Sophomore point guard Ricky Stephens (Monmouth Regional) had a nice all-around game with 12 points, five assists, three rebounds and one steal.
Starting forward Rahsaan Johnson was a force off the glass, ripping down a game-high 12 boards, including an impressive seven off the offensive glass. The freshman from Passaic H.S. also scored nine points and had two steals.
Freshman guards Tyrone Curry (Charlotte,N.C.) and Jaleel Chain (Union H.S.) came off the bench to score ten and eight points respectively for the Blues. Chain added three assists and a steal while Curry nailed two three-pointers. Freshman reserve Tyler Gurczeski (Raritan H.S.) contributed five points and four rebounds and showed some excellent hustle.
Brookdale travels to New Haven Ct. for a Friday night game versus Gateway Community College and then busses to Massachusetts for a Sunday game against Bristol Community College. This will give the Blues the opportunity to measure up against some tough out-of-state competition.