NEW BRUNSWICK – The last time East Brunswick High School and Bishop Ahr played against each other was in last year’s Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinal, where Bishop Ahr upset the Bears as an 12th seed. In this year’s tilt, the Bears were able to take the contest on the heels of a dominant second quarter.
Third-seeded East Brunswick scored 28 points in the second quarter, defeating sixth-seeded Bishop Ahr 61-41 in the GMC Tournament quarterfinals at New Brunswick High School on Saturday.
Nicole Johnson, a freshman for the Bears made a huge contribution in the second quarter scoring 11 points and dishing out five assists. Johnson led the Bears with 19 points.
“We could tell that they were trying to foul and we just really wanted to push the ball. This was my best game and I just really wanted to win against them,” said Johnson.
The freshman guard was able to get to work the offense to find senior teammates Julia Simoes and Dayna Scalfani with open three-point looks. Simoes hit three and Scalfani made two, with Johnson adding one of her own to build the lead that the Bears wouldn’t give up.
Scalfani credited extra practice shooting with taking advantage of the 2-3 defense that Bishop Ahr employed.
“In the fast few practices we have been working on our shooting, me and Julia. It was lucky, but we both shot with confidence,” said Scalfani. “They were in a 2-3 the whole second quarter and that came to our advantage, especially with shooters on our team. No matter what, we still and the lane to drive also.”
Scalfani added, “It’s a great feeling. The excitement and enthusiasm we had on the court and bench, it was just great. I’m proud of my team today.”
Head Coach Keith Lane was pleased with his team’s overall performance, citing an excellent defensive effort from his team. East Brunswick controlled the glass and denied Bishop Ahr from getting into any sort of rhythm offensively.
Lane really like the way Johnson and his team attacked the Trojans to build that big lead.
“We practice it and we coach it. We don’t want to just be passive, we want to attack the seams to get a two on one to find the open shooter,” said Lane. “She (Johnson) was able to do that today.”
The goal for East Brunswick now becomes advancing further than the semifinals. The Bears will face the winner of second-seeded Monroe and seventh-seeded South River, which will take place at New Brunswick High School on Sunday at 3 p.m.
The following tweet from Marcus Border includes one of many awesome three point shots.
20-16 EB pic.twitter.com/UzXULMLBaY
— Marcus A. Borden (@bordenfb4ever) February 21, 2015