RANDOLPH – Did Linden accomplish what it wanted to Sunday?
According to senior point guard Joey Krempa, who scored eight of his 10 points in the second half, the Tigers did.
“This was a quality win,” said Krempa moments after Linden topped Pope John 77-50 in Sunday’s second annual Hoops To Help boys’ basketball games at The County College of Morris.
Krempa was one of five Linden players to score in double digits.
“We wanted to work on our defense and putting teams away,” Krempa said. “We never stopped playing, even when we were up big.”
The event, featuring some of the top teams from New Jersey, helps raise funds for charities such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (Jar of Hope) and the Children’s Tumor Foundation. They are the benefactors from the proceeds of the event.
Linden also participated in last year’s first event, defeating Chatham 47-31 to improve to 12-2 en route to a fifth Group 4 state championship and second in three years.
On Sunday against Pope John, the Tigers won their second straight to improve to 6-2 following Tuesday night’s 75-62 Union County Conference-Watchung Division setback at Kean University to the No. 1-ranked team in New Jersey, Patrick School of Elizabeth.
Pope John had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-6.
Linden set the tone early against Pope John, scoring inside quickly to take the lead for good at 4-0 on baskets by senior Khalief Crawford, who finished with 14 points, and by senior Derrick Lewis.
The closest Pope John got all game was at 4-3 after sophomore Jack Cavanaugh sank the first of his two 3-pointers.
Linden then went on its first double-digit run, building a 14-3 advantage that included a jumper by junior Michael Watkins – who finished with a team-high 17 points – and a steal and a layup and then a 3-pointer from junior Tavon Jones, who scored all 16 of his points before the fourth quarter.
After a 3-point basket from the right side by Ruben Montilius pulled Pope John to within 10 at 27-17 late in the second quarter, Linden closed the first half with a seven-point run, with Jones scoring five of them.
Linden was in control at intermission with a 34-17 lead, featuring scoring from seven different players.
“We knew they were going to be in a 1-3-1 and try to extend us,” Krempa said. “We spread the court and also got the ball in the middle and did that effectively. We really executed well.”
Linden remained ahead by double digits the entire second half, winning the third quarter 21-19. The biggest Tiger lead was 28 when senior Marcellus Livingston scored in the lane to put Linden up 72-44 in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
Livingston scored Linden’s final seven points, ending the game’s scoring with his second 3-pointer. The smooth sharpshooter finished with 12 points, scoring nine of them in the second half.
Watkins scored 11 of his 17 points in the final 16 minutes.
Leading all scorers was Pope John junior Aaron Clark, who finished with 23, including 18 in the second half. He made two 3-pointers and produced a game-high nine free throws.
Linden made only three of nine free throw attempts in the third quarter.
Pope John junior Samba Diallo, Clarke and then Jones produced conventional 3-point plays in the third quarter.
2ND ANNUAL HOOPS TO HELP AT CCM
POPE JOHN (2-6) 07 10 19 14 – 50
LINDEN (6-2) 16 18 21 22 – 77
POPE JOHN LIONS (50):
1-Macio Robinson, junior, 1-1-0-5
30-Peace Bakinahe, junior, 0-0-0-0
2-Samba Diallo, junior, 3-0-1-7
31-Gavin Flowers, freshman, 0-0-0-0
10-Richie Bottie, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
13-Jack Cavanaugh, sophomore, 0-2-0-6
23-Fransisco Paulino-Mota, freshman, 3-0-0-6
5-Aaron Clarke, junior, 4-2-9-23
15-Reuben Montilius, senior, 0-1-0-3
3-Jordan Hackett, senior, 0-0-0-0
44-Andy Ward, senior, 0-0-0-0
35-Brian Luisi, senior, 0-0-0-0
25-Mike Piwko, freshman, 0-0-0-0
33-Chris Quarenta, 0-0-0-0
24-Dashone Duffus, 0-0-0-0
Head coach: Vincent Johnson.
Starters: Diallo, Cavanaugh,
Clarke, Hackett, Ward.
LINDEN TIGERS (77):
1-Khalief Crawford, senior, 4-2-0-14
2-Joey Krempa, senior, 4-0-2-10
3-Marcellus Livingston, senior, 3-2-0-12
12-Abraham Kromah, senior, 0-1-0-3
15-Kyree Rogers, senior, 0-0-0-0
10-Derrick Lewis, senior, 1-0-1-3
20-DeAndre Clark, senior, 0-0-0-0
33-Robert Gaudenzi, senior, 1-0-0-2
23-Dane Doyle, senior, 0-0-0-0
5-Reginald Winston, senior, 0-0-0-0
13-Tavon Jones, junior, 5-1-3-16
4-Michael Watkins, junior, 4-2-3-17
25-Luis Rodriguez, junior, 0-0-0-0
14-Jordan Ragland, junior, 0-0-0-0
24-Malcolm King, junior, 0-0-0-0
22-Mar’kel McDuffie, junior, 0-0-0-0
Head coach: Phil Colicchio.
Starters: Crawford, Krempa,
Lewis, Jones, Watkins.
SECOND ANNUAL HOOPS TO HELP AT CCM
Millburn 64, Randolph 34
CBA 50, Hackettstown 43
Linden 77, Pope John 50
St. Anthony 52, Blair 48 – such intensity for a Jan. 8 game.