Elizabeth boys basketball team wins the G4 final

Phil Colicchio has now guided the Elizabeth Minutemen boys basketball team to two Group 4 state championships. He is now 8-1 in the Group 4 final, including 6-1 at Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH, NJ — The 2023-2024 basketball season here in Union County, just as it did two years ago, concluded with one of its schools hoisting a trophy.

For the second time in three years the Elizabeth High School-Frank J. Cicarell Minutemen boys are Group 4 state champions.
Elizabeth finished 23-5.

Before its Group 4 title, captured in 2022, Elizabeth last won Group 4 in 1991. This time, it took only two years before Elizabeth conquered the Group 4 field again.

Elizabeth Minutemen boys basketball

Group 4 State Championships – 7 times

2024: Elizabeth against Lenape
2022: Elizabeth against Marlboro
1991: Elizabeth against Camden
1990: Elizabeth against Trenton
1989: Elizabeth against Trenton
1988: Elizabeth against Camden
1985: Elizabeth against Camden

Elizabeth won its seventh Group 4 state championship overall when it defeated Lenape High School, 57-41, in the Saturday, March 9 final at Rutgers. Head coach Phil Colicchio, a 1984 Elizabeth graduate, has now led the Minutemen to their 2022 and 2024 crowns. Colicchio took over as head coach at Elizabeth in 2018-2019, after leading Linden High School to all six of its Group 4 state championships.

Colicchio is now 8-1 in the Group 4 final; 6-1 at Linden and 2-0 at Elizabeth. This was the first time Colicchio did not have to prepare his state championship team for a Tournament of Champions after winning a state title.

Ben Candelino, who Colicchio played for his senior season at Elizabeth, guided the Minutemen to their first five state titles in Group 4 in 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

After Elizabeth suffered a bit of a hiccup in the third quarter against South Jersey, Group 4 champion Lenape, when it fell behind by three points after building an eight-point halftime advantage, Colicchio was not concerned. He told the media covering the game that, “we don’t panic.”

Colicchio emphasized that his strategy was to keep playing and go back after Lenape, after falling behind rather than call a timeout to settle his troops.

That resulted in Jordan Torres tying the game with a three-pointer and London Carson scoring to give Elizabeth the lead for good. The Minutemen closed the third quarter on a 15-2 run and then outscored Lenape, 16-10, in the final eight minutes.

Cameron McRae led Elizabeth and all scorers with 15 points, while London led all players with 10 rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Christopher Clark also reached double-digits in scoring for the Minutemen with 11 points and added five rebounds. Torres had six points and three boards. Torres and Carson had four steals
Elizabeth’s only losses this year were its first two out-of-state, splitting with Union Catholic High School and Plainfield High School in Union County Conference-Watchung Division play, and then to Roselle Catholic High School in the UCT semifinals.

Union Catholic finished first in the Watchung Division standings at 8-2. Elizabeth was 7-2 and did not play at Westfield High School.
Union Catholic won the UCT for the first time, defeating two-time defending champion Roselle Catholic in the final. After winning a state title last year for the first time since the 1980s, Union Catholic got back to its sectional final again this year, but was defeated to finish 22-7.

2023-2024 Elizabeth Minutemen boys basketball: Group 4 state champs

A good cast is worth repeating

The players:

0-Siraj Abdellah, junior guard
1-Jayden Johnson, freshman guard
2-Cameron McRae, junior guard
3-Jordan Torres, junior guard-forward
4-London Carson, senior guard-forward
10-Jeremiah Adams, junior guard
11-Kareem Anthony Jr., sophomore guard
12-Ronaldinho Lamarre, senior guard
13-Noah Gaskins, junior guard
14-Michael Ologun, senior guard
15-Yahya Ibrahim, junior forward
20-Treshon Mars, senior forward
21-Luis Cuero, junior forward
22-Christopher Clark, senior forward
24-Lucas Martinez, senior forward
33-Jeriahma Lomax, junior forward

Head coach: Phil Colicchio

File Photo