Boys state tournament Group semifinal preview

By Mark Kitchin


Delbarton, Mountain Lakes and Chatham will continue their runs in state tournament play on Saturday with 11 p.m. home games while Morristown will be forced to play a night game on the road. All of them are hoping to advance to play in Group finals on Wednesday and have a good Memorial Day holiday in the process.

Group III

Morristown at Ridge, 7 p.m.

A little work on the road should bother the Colonials. On Thursday they took a two-hour bus ride and beat Shawnee 12-11. They took charge with a 5-2 third-quarter run to go up 11-9 in the fourth quarter. Brad Hersh had three goals to lead Morristown. Connor Dolan and Stephen Delargy make the offense go. They also have a quartet of defenders (Alec Schunck, Dave Levine, Matt Drake and Mike Norton) who aren’t afraid to play physical.

Ridge won’t be a pushover. The Red Devils defeated Mendham 12-9 on May 19, the same team that gaveMorristownits toughest loss of the season. Kevin Kelly scored five goals and two assists in Ridge’s 10-5 win over Princeton in the quarterfinals. Kelly is the team’s top scorer with close to 100 points. He can dish it out as well as he can take it himself when it comes to scoring. Robert Macey, Jason Mertz and Connor Meth are also key offensive contributors. Goalie T. J. Jones made 11 saves on Thursday. Ridgewood and Moorestownwill clash on the other side of the bracket.

Group II

Northern Highlands at Chatham, 11

The second-seeded Chatham Cougars have cruised through their state tournament bracket so far. On Thursday, they rolled with a 14-5 romp over Holmdel. Nick Guida and Matt Proto fired hat tricks; Sam Carson and Sean Whiteman have also had brilliant performances to keep the Cougars on top of their game. Their opponents the sixth-seeded Northern Highlands eked out an 8-7 victory over Ramapo to advance in the tournament. The Highlanders rallied with four fourth-quarter goals to earn their win. James Temple had three goals and Pat Routh had two for Northern Highlands. They are both very dangerous because they are as good feeding as they are finishing. Jake Barr and D. J. Bonifacic can also finish. They have 65 goals between them. Goalkeeper Justin Schick doesn’t let many get past him.

It doesn’t get any easier for the winners. On the other side of the bracket isS ummit, the state’s top-ranked team which will battle Somerville on Saturday.

Group I

West Essex at Mountain Lakes, 11

The Lakers had a good tune-up game for this matchup when they tussled with Madison on Thursday. Mountain Lakes prevailed 8-5 in a game that was tied 5-5 going into the fourth quarter. Tim LaBeau had three goals in the contest. He teams up with Greg Cuccinello and Dylan Muti to form a talented first midfield. Bill Burgoyne, Andrew Portnoy and Jon Broome fortify the attack. The defense of Jeff Chang, Dan Badolato and Tyler Batesko are as tenacious as any in the state and Andrew Bolland can shut teams down between the pipes.

West Essex is no pushover. The Knights recently beat Madison 6-2 near the end of the regular season. Joe Fusco and Phil Lapone have nearly 80 goals between them. Lapone scored four times in West Essex’s 6-5 victory over Rumson in double overtime that advanced the Knights to the sectional semis. Anthony Perreta converted a Mike Drumm feed to account for the winning score. Defensemen Tyler Fossetta, Matt Piscitello, Mike Mitchell and keeper Mike Wiatrak are tough kids.

Mahwah, which defeated Kinnelon 6-5 on Thursday, plays Glen Ridge in a 6 p. m. game on the other side of the bracket.

Non-Public A

St. Joseph’s (Metuchen) at Delbarton, 11

The Green Wave took care of business by stifling Bergen Catholic 13-3 on Thursday. Clay Haarmann had four goals and three assists, John Shaffer scored twice and Pat Foley had a goal and three assists for the Morris County Tournament champs. The Green Wave attack has gotten more accurate with every contest and getting the ball in their sticks is crucial. Jack Breit is an offensive-minded defenseman and Spencer Huston and Will Reynolds are terrific support for goalkeeper John Schisler.

St.Joe’s advanced by toppling Seton Hall Prep 15-8. The Falcons took command with a 9-3 second-half burst. Ryan Loughlin scored five goals and Ed Lubowicki had three goals and four assists for St. Joseph’s. They are the team’s main scorers along with Michael Brandes. Goalie Harry Burke mans the nets.  

St. Augustine Prep hosts Don Bosco Prep in a major battle on the other side of the bracket.


About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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