UCT championship basketball weekend at Kean is here; Girls’ final pits 3-Westfield vs. 1-Patrick School Feb. 24, followed by boys’ final pitting 2-Patrick School vs. 1-Linden Feb. 25

UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT
BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
AT KEAN UNIVERSITY’S HARWOOD ARENA IN UNION
Girls’ final: Friday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.
3-Westfield (17-4) vs. 1-Patrick School (23-2)
Boys’ final: Saturday, Feb. 25, 6 p.m.
2-Patrick School (21-4) vs. 1-Linden (20-3)

Can the Westfield girls defeat a second straight opponent which it previously lost to twice? The only one of the 23 victories Patrick School has that did not come by double digits was its second one against Westfield the beginning of this month.
Can the Linden boys defeat Patrick School for the first time in a UCT final since 2007 and can the Tigers top the Celtics on the same court that they lost to them on earlier this season?
Welcome to the 2017 Union County Tournament basketball championship games.
Both finals – with Patrick School going for a sweep for the first time – should provide plenty of drama.
On Friday night, Feb. 24 at 7:30 at Kean University’s Harwood Arena in Union it will be third-seeded Westfield (17-4) vs. top-seeded Patrick School (23-2) in the girls’ championship game.
On Saturday night, Feb. 25 at 6 at Kean it will be second-seeded and defending champion Patrick School (21-4) vs. top-seeded Linden (20-3) in the boys’ title contest.

PATRICK SCHOOL GIRLS’ DOMINANT; WESTFIELD CAME CLOSE FEB. 2
The Patrick School girls are 23-2, with no losses to anyone in Union County and just one in-state loss, that to Rutgers Prep.
The Celtics have 22 wins by double digits.
Their only victory not by at least 10 points was their second win against Westfield, a 43-41 home triumph on Feb. 2. Patrick School won at Westfield 59-41 on Jan. 12.
In the first meeting, Patrick School extended a 27-19 halftime lead by outscoring host Westfield 16-5 in the third quarter to essentially put the game away. Zaria Dorsey led Patrick School with 20 points and Molly Ryan Westfield with 16.
Westfield led the second game 25-18 at the half, but Patrick School had another good third quarter, winning the period 15-8 to tie the game and then found a way to beat the Blue Devils again in the fourth quarter. Patrick School’s Qadashah Hoppie and Ryan paced all scorers with 15-point performances.
Regardless of the score at intermission Friday night, it seems imperative that Westfield might have to play its best basketball in the third quarter to have the best chance to knock off Patrick School.
Westfield (17-4) has won five in a row, with its last loss coming at Patrick School. Patrick School has won four in a row since the Rutgers Prep setback.
Patrick School captured the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division championship with a perfect 10-0 division record that included the two wins over Westfield.
These teams met in the UCT final for the first time two years ago with Patrick School coming away with a narrow 45-43 victory for its first UCT championship. That was the first time Patrick School reached the final.
Westfield defeated Elizabeth in the 2008 championship game for its only UCT crown.

Union County Conference-Watchung Division play:
Jan. 12: Patrick School 59, Westfield 41 – at Westfield
Feb. 2: Patrick School 43, Westfield 41 – at Patrick School

42ND ANNUAL GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT

SEEDS: 1-Patrick School, 2-New Providence. 3-Westfield.
4-Roselle Catholic. 5-Cranford. 6-Oak Knoll. 7-Union. 8-Johnson.
9-Rahway. 10-Gov. Livingston. 11-Kent Place. 12-Union Catholic.
13-Summit. 14-Dayton. 15-Linden. 16-Scotch Plains.
17-Brearley. 18-Plainfield. 19-Elizabeth. 20-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth.
21-Hillside. 22-Benedictine.

PRELIMINARY ROUND
Friday, Feb. 10
Scotch Plains 53, Brearley 35
Linden 52, Plainfield 42
Summit 69, St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 39
Dayton 67, Elizabeth 24
Saturday, Feb. 11
Union Catholic 49, Hillside 13
Monday, Feb. 13
Kent Place 56, Benedictine 21

FIRST ROUND
Tuesday, Feb. 14
Rahway 82, Johnson 75
Patrick School 59, Scotch Plains 20
Union Catholic 55, Cranford 54
Roselle Catholic 67, Summit 33
New Providence 60, Linden 27
Kent Place 38, Oak Knoll 33
Westfield 40, Dayton 32
Wednesday, Feb. 15
Gov. Livingston 33, Union 31

QUARTERFINALS
Friday, Feb. 16
At Johnson
Roselle Catholic 45, Union Catholic 33
Patrick School 62, Rahway 25
At Rahway
Westfield 47, Kent Place 24
New Providence 49, Gov. Livingston 20

SEMIFINALS
Wednesday, Feb. 22
At Rahway
Westfield 38, New Providence 33
Patrick School 67, Roselle Catholic 53

FINALS
Friday, Feb. 24
At Kean University
Junior Varsity:
Westfield vs. Cranford, 6 p.m.
Varsity:
3-Westfield vs. 1-Patrick School, 7:30 p.m.

FRANK J. CICARELL UCT
GIRLS’ BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS:
2016 – Cranford
2015 – Patrick School – first time
2014 – Roselle Catholic
2013 – Gov. Livingston
2012 – Gov. Livingston – first time
2011 – Roselle Catholic
2010 – Roselle Catholic
2009 – Roselle Catholic
2008 – Westfield – first time
2007 – Scotch Plains
2006 – Cranford – first time
2005 – Scotch Plains
2004 – Scotch Plains – first time
2003 – Roselle Catholic – first time
2002 – Roselle – first time
2001 – Union Catholic
2000 – Union – first time
1999 – Summit – first time
1998 – Union Catholic
1997 – Elizabeth
1996 – Elizabeth
1995 – Elizabeth – first time
1994 – Linden
1993 – Linden
1992 – Union Catholic
1991 – Linden – first time
1990 – New Providence – first time
1989 – Union Catholic
1988 – Union Catholic
1987 – Union Catholic
1986 – Union Catholic
1985 – Hillside – first time
1984 – Plainfield
1983 – Plainfield
1982 – Plainfield
1981 – Plainfield
1980 – Plainfield
1979 – Plainfield – first time
1978 – Mother Seton – first time
1977 – Union Catholic – first time
1976 – Benedictine – first time
CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Union Catholic 8
Plainfield 6
Roselle Catholic 5
Linden 3
Elizabeth 3
Scotch Plains 3
Gov. Livingston 2
Cranford 2
Benedictine 1
Mother Seton 1
Hillside 1
New Providence 1
Summit 1
Union 1
Roselle 1
Westfield 1
Patrick School 1

WILL THIS BE THE 3RD OF 4 MEETINGS BETWEEN LINDEN AND PATRICK SCHOOL?
Patrick School (21-4, 4 straight) won the first meeting by 13 points at Kean by the score of 75-62 back on Jan. 3. That’s the most points Linden (20-3, also 4 straight) has given up this year.
In contrast, the Tigers have given up a combined 65 points in their first two UCT victories over eighth-seeded Union (58-27 at Rahway) and vs. fourth-seeded St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (49-38 at Kean).
Linden won the second meeting 71-67 at home on Jan. 17, with that being the only in-state and in-county loss by the Celtics.
Linden and Patrick School shared the Union County Conference’s five-team Watchung Division title with identical 7-1 division marks that included wins against each other.
In the first meeting at Kean, Patrick School won the fourth quarter 22-15 after leading by six going into the fourth quarter. The Celtics were up 37-30 at intermission and were led by 31 points from Jordan Walker and 19 by Jamir Harris. Nick Richards produced eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked schots. Junior Tavon Jones paced Linden offensively with 21 points, while senior Khalief Crawford added 15.
Linden led the second game by five at the half and also by five heading into the fourth quarter. The Tigers had four players score in double figures, with a spread offense and their usual, hard-working man-to-man defense the keys to producing the division triumph.
Crawford led the way with 18 points, Jones had 16, Marcellus Livingston 14 and Mikey Watkins 13.
Patrick School had three players score in double figures, including Marcus McClary 20, Walker 19 and Richards 10.
Should both squads be fortunate enough to win their state tournament games and go on to capture state championships, a fourth meeting in the Tournament of Champions – most likely the March 20 final in Trenton – is a strong possibility.
The ultimate goal for both Linden and Patrick School is to win the TOC, which would be the first time for Linden and the first time since 2009 for Patrick School.
Saturday night’s game will be the last for both teams where a loss will not end their season.

Union County Conference-Watchung Division play:
Jan. 3: Patrick School 75, Linden 62 – at Kean University
Jan. 17: Linden 71, Patrick School 67 – at Linden

PHIL’S BEST WIN WAS 10 YEARS AGO AT DUNN CENTER VS. ST. PAT’S
I believe that Linden head coach Phil Colicchio’s best win – better than any Group 4 final victory at Rutgers – was leading his Tigers to a more-than-convincing 63-51 victory over St. Patrick in the 2007 UCT final at the Dunn Sport Center in Elizabeth.
Beating top-seeded Bloomfield Tech 48-42 on a Saturday afternoon at Rutgers in the 2006 TOC semifinals is close.
Linden led a one-loss St. Patrick squad from start to finish. All of us covering the game waited for St. Patrick to make a move, make a run, even take a brief lead. It never happened. Linden’s defense that day simply wouldn’t allow it.
It was truly a team effort that led Linden to that victory over a St. Patrick team led by college-bound seniors Corey Fisher (Villanova) and Jeff Robinson (Memphis and later Seton Hall). Producing superstar performances in that game for the Tigers were junior Desmond Wade and senior Darrell Lampley, among others.
St. Patrick head coach Kevin Boyle – in order to give Linden the proper respect it deserved for the Tigers beating his Celtics – immediately following the game squelched the rumor that his team was tired after coming off playing a nationally televised out-of-state game.
That Linden team also featured frontcourt senior starter Muhammad Wilkerson, who 10 years later is a feared pass rusher in the NFL.
St. Patrick would conclude at 30-2, win the TOC and finish No. 2 in the county in the final USA Today national poll.
Linden finished 30-3 that year, losing only at Irvington and then at home to St. Anthony (Linden was winning heading into the fourth quarter) in the regular season and then to Bloomfield Tech 59-56 at Rutgers in the TOC semifinal which R.J. Hall made the halfcourt shot at the buzzer for the victory.
Most likely Linden’s win over St. Patrick in the UCT final prevented the Celtics from finishing No. 1 in the country at season’s end.
That was the only year of the five that St. Patrick won the TOC, but did not win the UCT as well.
That was also the second time Linden won the UCT under Colicchio. The first time was in 2001, with the Tigers – who trailed going into the final eight minutes – defeating St. Patrick by double digits after producing a dominant, high-scoring fourth quarter.
St. Patrick was the five-time defending UCT champion at the time.
Linden’s third UCT championship under Colicchio was its 60-56 win in the final over Roselle Catholic two years ago. That was also one of Phil’s best.

81ST ANNUAL BOYS’ BASKETBALL
UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT

SEEDS: 1-Linden. 2-Patrick School. 3-Roselle Catholic.
4-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth. 5-Union Catholic. 6-Scotch Plains.
7-Westfield. 8-Union. 9-Johnson. 10-Rahway. 11-Plainfield.
12-Elizabeth. 13-Summit. 14-Roselle. 15-Hillside. 16-Cranford.
17-Gov. Livingston. 18-New Providence. 19-Oratory Prep. 20-Dayton.
21-Koinonia Academy.

PRELIMINARY ROUND
Friday, Feb. 10
Dayton 68, Koinonia 50

FIRST ROUND
Friday, Feb. 10
Union 65, Gov. Livingston 31
Westfield 68, New Providence 63
Saturday, Feb. 11
Plainfield 38, Roselle 35
Elizabeth 51, Summit 43
Rahway 64, Hillside 51
Cranford 57, Johnson 55
Scotch Plains 53, Oratory Prep 45
Monday, Feb. 13
Union Catholic 63, Dayton 47

SECOND ROUND
Wednesday, Feb. 15
Union Catholic 62, Elizabeth 50
Scotch Plains 47, Plainfield 41
Rahway 73, Westfield 48
Union 76, Cranford 55

QUARTERFINALS
Saturday, Feb. 18
At Rahway
Linden 58, Union 27
St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 43, Union Catholic 37
At Johnson
Patrick School 76, Rahway 37
Roselle Catholic 78, Scotch Plains 34

SEMIFINALS
Tuesday, Feb. 21
At Kean University
Patrick School 55, Roselle Catholic 46
Linden 49, St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 38

FINALS
Saturday, Feb. 25
At Kean University
Junior Varsity:
Patrick School vs. Union, 4 p.m.
Varsity:
2-Patrick School vs. 1-Linden, 6 p.m.

FRANK J. CICARELL UCT BOYS’ BASKETBALL
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCORES, WINNING COACHES:
2016: Patrick School 58, Roselle Catholic 54 (2OT) – Mike Rice – Kean
2015: Linden 60, Roselle Catholic 56 – Phil Colicchio – at Kean
2014: Patrick School 62, Linden 54 – Chris Chevannes – at Kean
2013: Patrick School 44, Linden 42 – Chris Chevannes – at Kean
2012: Plainfield 72, Roselle Catholic 66 – Jeff Lubreski – at Kean
2011: St. Patrick 70, Linden 58 – Kevin Boyle – at Kean
2010: St. Patrick 82, Plainfield 45 – Kevin Boyle – at Kean
2009: St. Patrick 89, Elizabeth 72 – Kevin Boyle – last one at Dunn
2008: St. Patrick 67, Linden 56 – Kevin Boyle
2007: Linden 63, St. Patrick 51 – Phil Colicchio
2006: St. Patrick 65, Plainfield 52 – Kevin Boyle
2005: St. Patrick 77, Linden 68 – Kevin Boyle
2004: Elizabeth 58, St. Patrick 51 – Donald Stewart
2003: St. Patrick 68, Linden 62 – Kevin Boyle
2002: Elizabeth 75, St. Patrick 61 – Pat Brunner
2001: Linden 76, St. Patrick 59 – Phil Colicchio
2000: St. Patrick 69, Linden 55 – Kevin Boyle
1999: St. Patrick 52, Union 43 – Kevin Boyle
1998: St. Patrick 76, Union 45 – Kevin Boyle
1997: St. Patrick 61, Elizabeth 48 – Kevin Boyle
1996: St. Patrick 65, Elizabeth 47 – Kevin Boyle
1995: Elizabeth 50, St. Patrick 49 – Ben Candelino
1994: St. Patrick 63, Hillside 47 – Kevin Boyle
1993: St. Patrick 45, Elizabeth 41 – Kevin Boyle
1992: Elizabeth 69, Linden 57 – Ben Candelino
1991: Elizabeth 76, Linden 49 – Ben Candelino
1990: Elizabeth 96, Roselle 67 – Ben Candelino
1989: Elizabeth 65, Roselle 57 – Ben Candelino
1988: Linden 50, Elizabeth 45 – Wilbur Aikens
1987: Elizabeth 62, Linden 61 – Ben Candelino
1986: Elizabeth 50, Union Catholic 43 – Ben Candelino
1985: Elizabeth 70, Rahway 56 – Ben Candelino
1984: Elizabeth 57, Plainfield 42 – Ben Candelino
1983: Linden 66, Roselle 60 – Wilbur Aikens
1982: Linden 86, Union Catholic 67 – Wilbur Aikens
1981: Johnson Regional 73, Hillside 61 – Steve Petruzzelli
1980: Union 65, Plainfield 63 – Tom Fox
1979: Plainfield 70, Linden 68 – Rico Parenti
1978: Elizabeth 62, Plainfield 60 – Ron Kelly
1977: Roselle 75, Rahway 54 – Dick Young
1976: Roselle 61, Union 54 – Dick Young
1975: Plainfield 69, Rahway 64 – Rico Parenti
1974: Union 61, Cranford 48 – Tom Fox
1973: Linden 69, Roselle 53 – Wayman Everly
1972: Jefferson 50, Linden 43 – Ron Kelly
1971: Roselle 73, Linden 71 – Dick Young
1970: Jefferson 68, St. Mary’s 61 – Ron Kelly
1969: Jefferson 55, St. Mary’s 47 – Ron Kelly
1968: Linden 63, Jefferson 62 – Joe Gaines
1967: St. Patrick 58, Plainfield 50 – Ed “Buzzy” Fox
1966: Linden 61, St. Patrick 56 – Joe Gaines
1965: Westfield 61, Cranford 52 – Bob Sanislow
1964: Cranford 68, Linden 61 – Bill Martin
1963: Westfield 65, Roselle Catholic 45 – John Lay
1962: St. Mary’s 40, Linden 30 – Al LoBalbo
1961: Roselle 45, St. Mary’s 43 – Ralph Arminio
1960: St. Mary’s 53, Jefferson 43 – Al LoBalbo
1959: Westfield 54, Cranford 46 – John Lay
1958: Roselle 66, Cranford 64 – Ralph Arminio
1957: Rahway 64, Jefferson 51 – Bob Berger
1956: Plainfield 58, Sacred Heart 51 – Bill Brann
1955: Jefferson 52, St. Mary’s 44 – Bill Tranavitch
1954: Jefferson 57, Springfield 44 – Bill Tranavitch
1953: Linden 59, Union 38 – G. St. Andrassy
1952: St. Mary’s 48, Linden 30 – Al LoBalbo
1951: St. Mary’s 37, Jefferson 36 – Al LoBalbo
1950: Jefferson 69, Hillside 57 – Bill Tranavitch
1949: Jefferson 42, Hillside 41 – Bob Cox
1948: Jefferson 33, Springfield 32 – Bob Cox
1947: Springfield 31, Linden 29 – Walter Hohn
1946: Springfield 37, Linden 34 – Walter Hohn
1945: Jefferson 39, Roselle Park 23 – Abner West
1944: St. Patrick 40, Roselle Park 36 – Ken Milsop
1943: Rahway 34, Jefferson 33 – Earl Walter
1942: Rahway 46, Jefferson 30 – Earl Walter
1941: Rahway 32, Hillside 24 – Earl Walter
1940: Springfield 35, Cranford 33 – Bill Brown
1939: Linden 30, Plainfield 20 – Les Goodwin
1938: Springfield 25, Rahway 24 – Bill Brown
1937: Rahway 27, Hillside 17 – Earl Walter
CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Jefferson-Elizabeth 21
St. Patrick-Patrick School 19
Linden 11
Rahway 5
Roselle 5
Springfield 4
St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 4
Plainfield 4
Westfield 3
Union 2
Cranford 1
Johnson Regional 1

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