Linden, Roselle Catholic boys’ basketball out to grab sectional championships; Tigers host Ridge, Lions face Patrick School again

Public school state championship games are Sunday at Rutgers

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Linden, at left, and the Patrick School, at right, will both play in sectional championship games Tuesday night.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Linden, at left, and the Patrick School, at right, will both play in sectional championship games Tuesday night.

Win and advance.

Celebrate briefly and then move on and prepare for your next challenging opponent.
That’s the case for Union County boys’ basketball teams Linden, Roselle Catholic and the Patrick School of Elizabeth as all three seek to stay alive Tuesday night.
Linden advanced to the North 2, Group 4 final for the second straight season and for the third time in four years and as the top seed will host second-seeded Ridge at 7 p.m.
Linden won the section most recently in 2011 and again in 2013.
In Saturday’s sectional semifinal win at home over Plainfield, Otis Livingston paced the Tigers with 22 points. The guard also dished out five assists and came up with five steals.
Juwan Jones added 17 points for Linden, while Plainfield was paced by a 16-point effort from Jachi Simmons.
Linden ended up going 4-0 against Plainfield this year, also sweeping the Cardinals en route to the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division title and then defeating them again in the semifinals of the Union County Tournament.
The Tigers enter Tuesday’s game with a 23-4 record that includes two out-of-state defeats. Linden’s other losses came to Roselle Catholic – which was its only in league play – and to the Patrick School in the UCT final after the Tigers swept the Celtics in the Watchung Division.
A win Tuesday night by Linden will put it in Thursday night’s Group 4 semifinals, most likely against Paterson Eastside, which is going for the North 1, Group 4 title Tuesday night.
The public school championship games are scheduled to be played at the Rutgers Athletic Center Sunday in Piscataway. Linden lost to Atlantic City in last year’s final in overtime.
Linden lost to Paterson Eastside, as the favorite, in the 2011 Group 4 semifinal played at the Dunn Sport Center in Elizabeth.
If those two teams hook up again in Thursday’s Group 4 semifinal – which could also be played at Dunn – Eastside will be considered the favorite – only slightly.
Eastside began the week ranked second in the state and Linden fifth.
Roselle Catholic and the Patrick School are to meet for the fourth time Tuesday night, with the game being played at 6 p.m. at Jackson Liberty in Jackson. The teams split Watchung Division games, with RC winning by 30 in the season-opener for both before Patrick School won the second league game and then their UCT semifinal matchup at Kean.
Summit made the most of its move of being dropped down to the UCC’s Valley Division last year, first finishing 18-6 a year ago – after a 7-16 record the year before as a member of the Mountain Division – and then an impressive 20-5 this season.
Summit’s season predictably came to an end Monday night in Newark when the Hilltoppers were humbled by the No. 1 team in the state – top-seeded East Side – by a score of 54-25 in the North 2, Group 3 final.
Summit defeated Warren Hills, Barringer and Colonia – all at home – to reach the sectional final.
In Friday’s 41-35 win over Middlesex County school Colonia, Robbie Walsh (17), Kyle Crotty (11) and Mac Wiesner (10) scored in double digits for the Hilltoppers in front of a packed house.
Last year in its only state tournament game, Summit fell at home to Colonia 47-41 in North 2, Group 3 action.
Summit accomplished a lot this season, capturing the Valley Division championship with a 13-1 league record and winning 20 games for the first time since going 22-6 in the 2004-2005 season when the Hilltoppers reached the Group 2 state championship game for the second straight season.