Special to ZAGSBLOG
JACKSON, N.J. — In the fourth contest between these two teams this season, we were treated to a thrilling game for the Non-Public B South championship in which Roselle Catholic prevailed over The Patrick School, 64-58, proving the adage that it’s very hard to beat a team three times in one year correct.
Defending Tournament of Champions winner Roselle Catholic will play the survivor of Thursday’s game between St. Anthony’s and Hudson Catholic on Saturday.
RC was led by Chris Silva, Isaiah Briscoe, Asante Gist and Matt Bullock, who accounted for 48 of the team’s 64 points in the game.
Briscoe scored all 13 of his points in the first half while the other three did most of their damage in the second half. Bullock scored a majority of his 14 points in the third quarter with a couple of tough finishes in traffic.
For The Patrick School, Seton Hall-commit Angel Delgado and Dupree McBrayer led the way with 14 points apiece. Delgado also added 11 rebounds. Bryce Aiken and Daniel Knight chipped in also with 12 points; Aiken scored all 12 of his points after halftime as he battled mightily to keep his team within striking distance.
Gist, who shook off a rough first half shooting the ball, was at his best in the second half as he got to the rim constantly for lay-ups and easy assists to Bullock and Silva.
“I came inside the locker room [at halftime] and coach [Dave Boff] said, “Settle down and just play,” Gist said. “He said, ‘Sometimes your shots don’t fall so sometimes you’ve got to do other things. So I came out and got to the rim. I did what I was supposed to do as a point guard, get my teammates the ball, then put them in the best positions so that we could win.”
“I mean, it wasn’t really taking over,” Gist clarified when talking about The Patrick School’s decision to double Briscoe in the second half. “I saw that they were double-teaming him and that’s my backcourt partner so I’m the other one that can handle the ball and bring the ball up. So when I saw that they were doubling him, I had to take over the role of bringing the ball up and doing everything else that he couldn’t do. He played great today, but in the second half they just played good defense on him.”
Speaking of defense, the Lions put on a great display of their own, particularly in the second half.
“We know that we can play defense and we know that we can stop people,” Gist discussed with SNY.tv after the game. “So our main thing today was to shut them down and get ourselves some easy transition buckets to score at the other end. That’s what coach [Boff] said we had to do to win the game and we executed that. Just played lock-up defense and that’s what we got to keep doing moving forward.”
At the heart of this defensive effort stood Silva who was matched up with Delgado. Delgado and Daniel Knight got Silva into a bit of foul trouble early on in the game, but Boff had faith that Silva would not pick up another foul and had him back in the game to start the second quarter.
” [Angel] Delgado is very strong and stuff so I needed help on the weak side and my team was always there to give me help,” Silva said. “In a big game like this, everything is just to stay focused. If you stress too much, you won’t make it easy on yourself. You’ve just got to stay focused on everything that you do. Like today, I was in foul trouble, but I just stayed focused on everything and that was the key for me.”
Silva finished with 12 points and seven rebounds as well as a huge block on Aiken in the third quarter during the midst of a rally that would see Roselle Catholic take the lead for good. His work to keep Delgado off the glass in the second half, after he had snared eight rebounds in the first half, was instrumental in limiting The Patrick School’s second-chance points. Silva also showed off an outside shooting touch to his game as part of the potential he had to grow into a special player down the road.
“I think the guys just shared the basketball and never stopped believing that we would win this game,” Boff said when describing his team’s resolve after being down three at halftime. “I think that they, for the last couple of days and all day today for the first half and at halftime, they believed that they would win the game. They figured they’d find a way to win. The heart of a champion is a tough thing to take away and i think that the people that wrote this team off, they forgot that this team won a championship last year and they’re not going to give it up that easy.”
With two of his main scorers struggling, Briscoe in the second, Gist in the first, Boff described the depth and talent the rest of his team has and why they were crucial to their win.
“We have a lot of good players,” he said. “Those guys [Briscoe and Gist] get a lot of the headlines and they deserve it. They’re great players, but we have a lot of really good basketball players in that locker room and they stepped up and they played well tonight.”
The perfect example to of this would be Kameron David, who came in off the bench to play some stellar defense on the talented guards from The Patrick School. David ended up being a major part of this victory not only due to his defense, but also because of his clutch foul-shooting. He made six of his eight attempts from the foul line in the second half with many of them coming in the final minute with a very close score. Due to his heady play and calm nerves, Roselle Catholic moves on in the state tournament.
Gist summed up what his team needs to continue doing as they venture further towards a coveted second consecutive Tournament of Champions crown.
“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing, as far as making this run in states,” he said. “Just going to practice, paying attention to coach, playing hard in practice and paying attention to detail. We just need to come out and execute and make big plays as a team on offense and on defense.”