Drops in 18 Second-Half Points to Spark Blues
By Mike Ready
LINCROFT – Atlantic Cape had just pulled to with one point of Brookdale, 63-62, at the 13:00 minute mark of the second half and were in the midst of their first real run of the game. Trailing by nine, 50-41 at the half, the Buccaneers had just outscored the Blues 21-13 in the first seven minutes of the second half and seemed poised to take control of the game.
However, Brookdale freshman forward Jaimik Moore (Hackensack H.S.) had a different idea as he came off the bench to score 10 points in three minutes to jump start the Blues (25-1, 18-1) en route to a 102-66 victory over Atlantic Cape (13-9, 12-7), Tuesday night at Collins Arena.
Moore’s 10 points fueled a 12-3 run to hand Brookdale a 75-65 lead with 10:00 minutes showing on the clock, and the Blues proceeded to dismantle Atlantic Cape the rest of the way, holding the Buccaneers without a field goal and only one free throw the final 10 minutes of the game.
Moore added another eight points before taking a seat with 3:30 remaining in the game, finishing with 18 points, all in the second half.
“In the first half I wasn’t prepared mentally, so my game was a little off. At halftime I prepared myself better and realized we had a game to finish,” Moore said. “We have a really deep team, and there’s always someone to step up when needed. We focused more on defense using our full court press more in the second half and our depth wore them down.”
The 6-foot-3 inch Moore added seven rebounds, dished out three assists, and had three steals while shooting 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) from the field, all in the second half. It was one of, if not the best second-half performance by any Brookdale player this season.
Not to be out done, sophomore forward Joe Nickerson (Barringer H.S.) kept the Blues in the game in the first half, scoring 20 of Brookdale’s 50 first-half points along with eight rebounds, two steals and a block. Four of his rebounds were off the offensive glass and he set up sophomore guard Cory Soanes (Matawan Regional H.S.) for two highlight reel slam-dunks; Soanes had eight first-half points.
Nickerson registered team highs with 24 points and 11 rebounds, adding four assists and three steals. Soanes finished with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Sophomore guard/forward David Rosado (Saddle River Day School) chipped in with eight points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Freshman forward James Jenkins (Hillside H.S.) had a strong second-half performance as well, hitting for eight points and hauling down seven boards.
Brookdale has one regular season game remaining before the NJCAA Region XIX Tournament begins, with Brookdale hosting the semifinals and finals February 27 and March 1. Brookdale is the defending champion and will be the No.1 seed and team to beat. Camden (18-7,14-5) and Union (18-7,15-4) appear to be the Blues biggest obstacles for a repeat. Camden handed the Blues their only loss of the season, 78-74, February 4 at Camden.
“That loss to Camden affected us really bad,” Moore said. “We have a team full of competitors that don’t like to lose. At the end of the day even the greatest champions lose, you have to put it out of your mind and realize you don’t want to feel that feeling again. So you got to work harder than you have ever worked before so you can get to where you want to be.”
“We want to take Region XIX,” Moore added. “But we’re not settling for anything less than being ranked No.1 and repeating as national champions.”