Linden boys’ basketball seeks 4th straight North 2, Group 4 crown

One of the most challenging boys’ basketball sections in all of New Jersey year in and year out is North 2, Group 4.

Since 2000, one school has managed to stand a bit taller than the rest.

That team is Linden.

The Tigers will be playing in their 10th North 2, Group 4 championship game in the past 17 seasons on March 7 when they host Newark East Side.

Three-time defending champion Linden is playing in its fourth straight final and fifth in the past six years.

Linden is seeking to win the section for the fourth year in a row for the first time.

Sparked by the play of four-year guard Desmond Wade, Linden first reached the final four straight years from 2005-2008, winning twice in that span.

Under head coach Phil Colicchio, Linden has reached the final 10 of his first 19 seasons, with Colicchio’s first season at the helm of the Tigers being 1997-98.

Linden first won the section under Colicchio in 2000 and also went on to win Group 4 that year for the program’s first-ever group state championship.

The only time Linden has lost in the sectional final under Colicchio was to Bridgewater-Raritan at Piscataway in 2005 and to Piscataway at Elizabeth in 2008.

Linden, the top seed, reached this year’s final after downing J.P. Stevens, Union and East Orange – all by double digits – at home in the first three rounds.

Back in the section is third-seeded Newark East Side, which last won the section in 2002 when guided by future pro Randy Foye. Newark East Side won the crown in 1998 – before and after Union won titles in 1997 and 1999 and then again in 2001 and 2002 after Linden won the title in 2000.

The March 5 semifinals were decisive, with Linden ousting 12th-seeded East Orange Campus 67-35 and Newark West Side winning at second-seeded Westfield 73-43.

 

2016 NORTH 2, GROUP 4

SEEDS: 1-Linden 2-Westfield. 3-Newark East Side. 4-Ridge.

5-Woodbridge. 6-North Hunterdon. 7-Millburn. 8-Union.

9-Dickinson. 10-Franklin. 11-Plainfield. 12-East Orange Campus.

13-Bayonne. 14-Watchung Hills. 15-B-Raritan. 16-J.P. Stevens.

 

FIRST ROUND:

Tuesday, March 1

Linden 67, J.P. Stevens 41

Union 50, Dickinson 49

East Orange 71, Woodbridge 53

Ridge 68, Bayonne 63

Newark East Side 49, Watchung Hills 37

North Hunterdon 63, Plainfield 62

Franklin 48, Millburn 47

Westfield 57, Bridgewater-Raritan 53

 

QUARTERFINALS:

Thursday, March 3

Linden 64, Union 32

East Orange 65, Ridge 58

Newark East Side 71, North Hunterdon 38

Westfield 67, Franklin 46

 

SEMIFINALS:

Saturday, March 5

Linden 67, East Orange 35

Newark East Side 73, Westfield 43

 

FINAL:

Monday, March 7

3-Newark East Side at 1-Linden, 7 p.m.

 

NORTH 2, GROUP 4

CHAMPIONS

THE LAST 40 YEARS:

2015 – Linden
2014 – Linden
2013 – Linden
2012 – Elizabeth
2011 – Linden
2010 – Plainfield
2009 – Plainfield
2008 – Piscataway
2007 – Linden
2006 – Linden
2005 – Bridgewater-Raritan
2004 – Plainfield
2003 – Elizabeth
2002 – Newark East Side
2001 – Newark East Side
2000 – Linden
1999 – Union
1998 – Newark East Side
1997 – Union
1996 – Linden
1995 – Elizabeth
1994 – Montclair
1993 – Irvington
1992 – Irvington
1991 – Elizabeth
1990 – Elizabeth
1989 – Elizabeth
1988 – Elizabeth
1987 – Elizabeth
1986 – Montclair
1985 – Elizabeth
1984 – East Orange
1983 – Plainfield
1982 – Montclair
1981 – Shabazz
1980 – Barringer
1979 – Union
1978 – Linden

1977 – Bloomfield

1976 – Plainfield

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