By JOHN PAVIA
Special to ZAGSBLOG
TRENTON, N.J. — With the basketball season coming down to a win-or-go-home scenario, Isaiah Briscoe propelled Roselle Catholic over Trenton Catholic in the semifinals of the New Jersey Non-Public South B bracket of the state tournament, 70-50.
With Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan on hand, Briscoe finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in a very well-rounded performance.
RC sophomore Matt Bullock poured in a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds and Asante Gist added in 13 points for the Lions.
Roselle Catholic will play The Patrick School in the Non-Public B South final on Tuesday at Jackson Liberty High School. The venue has changed recently and this is the current location. This will also be the fourth time these two highly-ranked teams will have played each other this season.
“Another game, great competition so we’ve got to be locked in. We need to have two great practices and I think we can win,” Briscoe said.
With the New Jersey Tournament of Champions wide open, RC is alive for a repeat.
Of course, a year ago, Briscoe was at St. Benedict’s Prep, only to transfer in to RC in the summer
“I mean, I knew coming in to the year, that the year would kind of look like this because Isaiah had to sit the first 30 days and so then when he comes back, then you’ve got to get to a feel for how all the guys are going to play together,” RC Coach Dave Boff told SNY.tv. “You’ve got to build the chemistry and the kids have done a good job with that recently and they’re playing good basketball.
“I thought that the kids did a great job with the game plan. My assistant coaches did a great job along with myself coming up with a game plan. The kids followed it beautifully. They were really tuned in against their shooters. I’m just so proud of the way they defended tonight.”
Holding a team featuring 2015 Syracuse commit and former RC guard Malachi Richardson and rising sophomore Myles Powell to only 50 points was no easy task and Boff mentioned that after the game.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I mean, they’re two of the best players in the state. We watched a lot of film on them. We had a good idea of how we wanted to to play them and then the kids came out and executed it. When we execute the way that we did tonight, we’re a hard team to beat.”
“Well, you know, we had great practices all week,” he said. “Everybody was tuned in to one goal. Stop Myles Powell and Malachi Richardson. Tahir [Pretlow], Kameron [David], Asante [Gist]…they came out and did just that. Malachi had nine points, I don’t know how many Myles had (21 points). Everybody just locked in. We had one goal.”
Boff spoke very highly of his first season being able to coach Briscoe.
“It’s been a pleasure,” he said. “He’s a great kid. He couldn’t be any nicer of a kid. He’s unselfish. He does everything we ask him to do. It’s been a real pleasure and I’m blessed to coach him.”
Briscoe is considering numerous schools, including Arizona and Syracuse, as well as locals UConn, St. John’s, Rutgers and Seton Hall.
“Coming up as a kid, you always know that the locals are going to be there no matter what,” he said. “It’s so great for a kid to stay home and be able to take care of my mom and my dad, things like that. The local schools have always been great so I just take it as a blessing and continue to keep working.”
Briscoe did not have any major recruiting updates, but he did say he “planned to cut his list down to 10 in the next two or three weeks.”
Photo: (Alex Remnick/The Star-Ledger)