PISCATAWAY – East Brunswick senior guard Nicole Johnson is known for a tireless engine. That drive was on display Thursday night, especially in crunch time during the unbeaten Bears’ biggest game of the season.Johnson hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime at Piscataway, then scored nine of her team’s 15 overtime points in a 77-68 victory over the previously undefeated Chiefs
East Brunswick played Monroe in the finals of the 2016 Girls Basketball GMC Tournament at Kean University on 2/25/16. Produced by EBTV at the East Brunswick Public Library.
WHO: No. 1 seed Monroe (22-2) vs. No. 2 East Brunswick (19-3)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Monroe breezed past eighth-seeded Dunellen, 55-41, in the quarterfinals and defeated fourth-seeded South Brunswick, 56-48, in the semifinals.
East Brunswick routed 10th-seeded Middlesex, 64-39, in the quarterfinals and defeated sixth-seeded Bishop Ahr in a 44-40 comeback victory in the semifinals.
The Bears boast two talented senior captains in Allie Warren and Sydney Greenspan. Sophomore guards Nicole Johnson, Sabria Glasgow and Shanelle Colmon round out the starting five. The dynamic trio of young guards is athletic, explosive and boasts seasoned players despite their age. The Bears have a very balanced and unselfish scoring attack with no starting player averaging more than 10 points per game. Any one of the starting five can be the leading scorer in any given game.
So proud of this team, good luck girls!!
East Brunswick got off to a slow start early in a similar fashion to their last match against Monroe, a 65-48 loss in the GMC semifinals. However, the Bears came back in the second a third quarter with a switch to a zone defense and created offense by driving hard to the basket.
In the final quarter, the Bears shot too many threes and settled offensively, while also initially having trouble beating Monroe’s press. Freshman Nicole Johnson and junior Allie Warren each scored 10 points to lead the Bears.
“We were settling for threes down the stretch there and I thought a couple of times we could have driven to the basket,” said East Brunswick coach Keith Lane. “I really think defensively, we just made some mistakes out there and good teams will do that to you.”
Lane thanked his girls for a great season.
“I have really appreciated their efforts to bring the program back and not everybody is going to win a county championship. Not everybody is going to win a state sectional and this is a bitter pill to swallow, but after a while you stop and look back 21-6 is a pretty good season.”
East Brunswick fought hard as can be seen from these tweets, but sometimes things just don’t quite work out. This was a great season and we are all proud of these girls.
— Herb Peluzzo (@MrPeluzzo) March 7, 2015
Great season girls. Hard fought loss. Great heart displayed by all. #EBPRIDE
— Chris Yannazzo (@EB_Athletics) March 7, 2015
End of the 3rd. Bears down 1.
— Chris Yannazzo (@EB_Athletics) March 7, 2015
The Falcons will head to Rutgers University on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the RAC after losing to Piscataway in last year’s semifinals.
East Brunswick dug themselves a huge hole in the second and third, but continued to fight in the final quarter with 21 points. Junior forward Allie Warren led the Bears with 18 points, including 10 in the fourth. Coach Keith Lane commended his girls for not giving up.
“I was very proud of the way they played in the fourth quarter. They could have easily quit, but they really fought, battled back and played hard,” said Lane.
This is the second straight year East Brunswick has been eliminated in the GMC semifinals, losing to Bishop Ahr last year. The Bears will try to get themselves ready for the Central Group IV tournament after a tough loss.
“We’ll take tomorrow off, reconvene and maybe a game in between this and the states and see how it goes. Hopefully we can put this behind us and play well in the state tournament,” said Lane.
Athletic Director Yannazzo still had hope late in the game, but the Bears were just a little too far down. Making it to the semi-final game again this year is a good accomplishment. Stay strong for states!
Girls on a run! Down 15 with 3:30 left. Let's Go Bears!!!!
— Chris Yannazzo (@EB_Athletics) February 23, 2015
— Jason Towlen (@JTowlen) February 24, 2015
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
The East Brunswick Bears girls basketball team stayed perfect with a 5-0 record by defeating South Brunswick 57-36 in front of a home crowd in East Brunswick, NJ. The Bears got off to a fast start and jumped out to a 7-0 lead. South Brunswick worked back to as close as 10-7 before East Brunswick put on the gas and spurted out to a 21-11 lead. The Bears were ahead 30-17 at the half and rolled on to a 57-36 victory. Leading the scorers for East Brunswick was Julie Simoes with 13 points followed by Sydney Greenspan with 10. Also scoring for the Bears were Allie Warren and Dayna Sclafani each with 8 points and Nicole Johnson and Kaitlyn Roughhan got 5 and 3 points respectively. Brianna Davis was the leading scorer for South Brunswick with 13 points followed by Natalia Louhisdon with 10. The defense for the Bears was very strong and resulted in a number of turnovers. The Bears look like they will go far this year.
There are also lots of pictures on NJ.com of this game here.
They also made a video of the game.
PRINCETON JUNCTION – Strong defense was the key to success for both the East Brunswick and South Brunswick girls basketball teams and helped both stay perfect on the season.
East Brunswick defeated West Windsor-Plainsboro North 43-26 and South Brunswick beat West Windsor-Plainsboro South 54-35 in the second round of the West Windsor-Plainsboro South Tournament at West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School on Tuesday.
East Brunswick was tough throughout the game, not allowing more than eight points in a quarter. The tight help defense suffocated West Windsor-Plainsboro North often. Senior guard Dayna Scalfani believes that defense needs to be their calling card.
“We had to make sure our goal was to be the best defensive team and that’s one of our goals for the season,” said Scalfani. “I think we went out there and really pushed. They were feeling uncomfortable and what you want them to be.”
Scalfani led the Bears with 13 points with nine of those coming in the fourth quarter. The Knights pulled within 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Scalfani hit a three-pointer and then a quick layup in transition to strengthen the lead.
“I didn’t want to finish with four points,” said a laughing Scalfani. “When they were only down 10, I knew we could have a better lead.”
East Brunswick coach Keith Lane praised Scalfani’s efforts as well as junior Allie Warren’s who scored 10 points and added seven rebounds, responding to more minutes down the stretch.
“Experience paid off. She’s a very talented, experienced and smart player. She really made some big shots for us in the fourth quarter,” said Lane.
Lane added, “We had some foul trouble so Allie had to play longer minutes than she normally would and she’s a warrior. She works extremely hard on both ends of the floor and she did a phenomenal job defensively. She came up with some big rebounds down the stretch.”
East Brunswick is now 4-0 on the season and there is a lot of basketball to be played, but Lane believes that there is more to come. With freshmen Shanelle Colmon and Nicole Johnson gelling early, the Bear’s strong start could continue.
“We’re going to continue to grow and build. We have some freshmen that are doing a nice job stepping in and hopefully we will continue to get better. We always want to continue to get better,” said Lane.
Dayna Sclafani scored 10 points to lead East Brunswick past Edison, 51-45, in East Brunswick.
Sydney Greenspan scored eight points and Shanelle Colmon and Nicole Johnson each chipped in with six points for East Brunswick.
East Brunscwick led 17-4 after one quarter, but saw its lead whittled away throughout the game.
Natalie Udoye scored a game-high 16 points and Ashley Hunt added 15 for Edison.
EastBrunswickInfo Note: So excited that basketball has started. Hope to make it to many games this season to include action photos. If anyone has any pictures from this game they want to share, I would be happy to post them here.
In most cases, high school athletes consider their parents to be the ones most responsible for supporting them throughout their careers. Not only have Dayna Sclafani’s father and mother, Tom and Debbie, been at the foundation of her success as a starting point guard for the East Brunswick High School girls basketball team, but they have been the very cornerstone of what will be a bright future following graduation.Tom Sclafani has been involved in directing youth basketball for years. Last year, he teamed up with Team Miller Lightning, an AAU team headed by former Villanova University star Lance Miller. When Sclafani’s daughter became interested in the sport as a youngster, he naturally took her under his wing and helped teach her the finer points of basketball. He even spent 2012-13 as the East Brunswick coach, but that lasted only a year before Keith Lane took over this past season.As for the support Dayna Sclafani received from her mother, it was more of the emotional variety. Debbie Sclafani was diagnosed with a tumor in her shoulder last summer and had to undergo chemotherapy.