Last 4 boys’ and girls’ basketball Union County Tournaments have had the top 4 seeds all advance to semifinals; Boys’ are at Kean Feb. 21 and girls’ at Rahway Feb. 22

We have a little déjà vu going on here in Union County.
For the fourth straight year the top four seeds for the boys’ and girls’ basketball Union County Tournaments advanced to the semifinals.
Also for the fourth consecutive season the Roselle Catholic girls’ are in the 4-vs.-1 semifinal.
The last year the top four seeds for the boys’ and girls’ did not advance to the semifinals was 2013 when both Roselle Catholic squads – each as the top seed – were ousted by the eighth seeds in quarterfinal round play.
With no real upsets to speak of in county tournament play since Union’s colossal 64-63 verdict over Roselle Catholic in the boys’ 2013 tourney, it’s been heavyweights vs. heavyweights going at it when getting to this late stage of the events.
The boys’ semifinals Tuesday night at Kean include third-seeded Roselle Catholic vs. second-seeded and defending champion Patrick School followed by fourth-seeded St. Mary’s of Elizabeth vs. top-seeded Linden.
Patrick School swept Roselle Catholic in Union County Conference-Watchung Division play, while Linden defeated St. Mary’s in a conference-crossover.
Patrick School and Linden are co-champs in the five-team Watchung Division with final 7-1 records that included wins against each other. St. Mary’s won the four-team Mountain Division with a perfect 6-0 mark.
The girls’ semifinals Wednesday night at Rahway include third-seeded Westfield vs. second-seeded New Providence followed by fourth-seeded Roselle Catholic vs. top-seeded Patrick School.
New Providence swept Westfield while Patrick School swept Roselle Catholic in UCC-Watchung Division play.
Patrick School, which captured the UCT for the first time in its first appearance in the final two years ago, won the six-team Watchung Division this season with a perfect 10-0 mark.
The Roselle Catholic boys’ are still seeking their first UCT crown, although present head coach Dave Boff guided the Lions to three straight Non-Public B state championships from 2013-2015 and Tournament of Champions crowns in 2013 and 2015.
The New Providence girls’ are still seeking to reach their first UCT final under present head coach Cap Pazdera, although Pazdera has guided the Pioneers to their only three state championships in program history: Group 1 crowns captured in 2010, 2011 and 2015. New Providence has one UCT championship to its credit, coming in 1990.

UCT GIRLS’ BASKETBALL SEMIFINALS WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22 AT RAHWAY:
3-Westfield vs. 2-New Providence: Westfield’s two lowest-scoring games this season were its division losses to New Providence where the Blue Devils first scored only 32 points and then only 20 at home.
Westfield defeated top-seeded Roselle Catholic (21-1 at the time and its only loss out-of-state) in the semifinals two years ago after losing both times to the Lions in Watchung Division play.
New Providence has lost in the semifinals the past three seasons and all three of those times to the eventual champion: 2014 to Roselle Catholic, 2015 to Patrick School and 2016 to Cranford.
In Westfield’s 47-24 win over 11th-seeded Kent Place in Friday night’s quarterfinals at Rahway, Westfield standout senior Danielle Rinaldi led all scorers with 22 points.
Also scoring 22 points in a quarterfinal round win at Rahway was New Providence’s UPenn-bound senior Katie Kinum in her team’s convincing 49-20 triumph over 10th-seeded Gov. Livingston.
New Providence defeated Westfield 45-32 at home on Jan. 10 and then 34-20 in Westfield on Jan. 28.
4-Roselle Catholic vs. 1-Patrick School: The Celtics, who have not lost to a Union County opponent (1 out-of-state and 1 out-of-county loss so far), first defeated Roselle Catholic 53-34 at RC on Jan. 5 and then 63-48 at home on Jan. 26.
In a decisive 62-25 win by Patrick School over Rahway in last Friday night’s quarterfinals at Johnson, Qadashah Hoppie poured in a game-high 21 points, while teammate Ali-yah Powell contributed 16 for the top-seeded Celtics.
Roselle Catholic’s 45-33 win over 12th-seeded Union Catholic in last Friday night’s quarterfinals at Johnson – ending UC’s county-best 10-game winning streak – saw senior guard Jennifer McClave and junior Victoria Jacobs score 10 points apiece to lead the victorious Lions.
RC sophomore center Taniya Hanner produced nine points and 10 rebounds, while Jacobs also had five rebounds, four steals, two assists and one blocked shot.
McClave grabbed seven boards, dished out two assists and came up with one steal.
Following an even first quarter on the scoreboard, Hanner scored seven points in the second period and McClave six to help spark RC to a 10-point lead at intermission.
The closest Union Catholic got the game to in the second half was five points in the third quarter.
Last year RC beat the top seed – defending champion Patrick School – as the four seed. Two years ago, RC lost as the top seed to fourth-seeded Westfield.
The Lions won as the top seed three years ago when they defeated fourth-seeded New Providence.
Here’s a closer look at RC playing in the 4-vs.-1 semifinal in each of the past four tournaments:
2017:
4-Roselle Catholic vs. 1-Patrick School
Patrick School swept the two Watchung Division matchups.
2016:
4-Roselle Catholic over 1-Patrick School
Teams split the two Watchung Division matchups.
2015:
4-Westfield over 1-Roselle Catholic
Roselle Catholic swept the two Watchung Division matchups.
2014:
1-Roselle Catholic over 4-New Providence
New Providence won the regular season conference-crossover matchup.

GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS
Wednesday, Feb. 22
At Rahway
3-Westfield vs. 2-New Providence, 6 p.m.
4-Roselle Catholic vs. 1-Patrick School, 7:30 p.m.

Regular season:
Jan. 10: New Providence 45, Westfield 32 – at New Providence
Jan. 28: New Providence 34, Westfield 20 – at Westfield
Jan. 5: Patrick School 53, Roselle Catholic 34 – at RC
Jan. 26: Patrick School 63, Roselle Catholic 48 – at PS

Records through games played Feb. 19:
Westfield (16-4) – has won 4 in a row and 10 of 12
New Providence (19-4) – has won 2 in a row and 9 of 10
Roselle Catholic (18-5) – has won 8 in a row and 9 of 10
Patrick School (22-2) – has won 3 in a row and 9 of 10

UCT BOYS’ BASKETBALL SEMIFINALS TUESDAY, FEB. 21 AT KEAN:
3-Roselle Catholic vs. 2-Patrick School: Roselle Catholic has lost the last two UCT finals and three of the last five, while Patrick School has won three of the last four tournaments.
These teams clashed in the final last year, with Patrick School coming out on top 58-54 in double overtime.
Patrick School’s division wins over Roselle Catholic this season were decisive. The only Celtic loss to an in-state team so far took place at Linden.
When Roselle Catholic and Patrick School last met at RC on Feb. 2, Patrick School senior center Nick Richards produced 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 64-58 triumph. Temple-bound RC guard Nate Pierre-Louis paced the Lions with 15 points.
When the teams first met this year, Patrick School defeated Roselle Catholic 83-68 at Kean back on Jan. 20.
4-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth vs. 1-Linden: The teams met once in a conference-crossover clash at Linden back on Jan. 26, with the host Tigers coming out on top 60-40.
Linden, arguably, produced its best defensive effort of the season, especially in the second half. In front by only one point at 24-23 during intermission, the Tigers limited St. Mary’s to just eight points in the third quarter and nine in the fourth.
Linden was paced offensively by senior Khalief Crawford and junior Tavon Jones, who both poured in 21 points. St. Mary’s did not have a player reach double-digits in scoring, with Papie Roberts leading the way with nine points.
St. Mary’s did quite well to uphold its No. 4 seeding by ousting fifth-seeded Union Catholic in the quarterfinals. St. Mary’s ended up going 3-0 vs. Union Catholic this season.

BOYS’ SEMIFINALS
Tuesday, Feb. 21
At Kean University
3-Roselle Catholic vs. 2-Patrick School, 6 p.m.
4-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth vs. 1-Linden, 7:30 p.m.

Regular season:
Jan. 20: Patrick School 83, Roselle Catholic 68 – at Kean
Feb. 2: Patrick School 64, Roselle Catholic 58 – at RC
Jan. 26: Linden 60, St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 40 – at Linden

Records through games played Feb. 15:
Roselle Catholic (14-9) – has won 3 in a row
Patrick School (20-4) – has won 3 in a row and 11 of 12
St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (18-5) – has won 5 in a row and 6 of 7
Linden (19-3) – has won 3 in a row and 15 of 16

* * *

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
3-Roselle Catholic vs. 2-Patrick School
4-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth vs. 1-Linden

FINALS
Saturday, Feb. 25
At Kean University
JV: 4 p.m.
Varsity: 6 p.m.

* * *

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
3-Westfield vs. 2-New Providence, 6 p.m.
4-Roselle Catholic vs. 1-Patrick School, 7:30 p.m.

FINALS
Friday, Feb. 24
At Kean University
JV: 6 p.m.
Varsity: 7:30 p.m.

* * *

SEMIFINAL PAIRINGS FOR LAST 4
BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ TOURNAMENTS:
The top 4 seeds advanced in both all 4 years.

2017
Boys’: 3-Roselle Catholic vs. 2-Patrick School
4-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth vs. 1-Linden
Girls’: 3-Westfield vs. 2-New Providence
4-Roselle Catholic vs. 1-Patrick School

2016: Champs: B-Patrick School. G-Cranford.
Boys’: 2-Roselle Catholic over 3-Linden
1-Patrick School over 4-Union Catholic
Girls’: 3-Cranford over 2-New Providence
4-Roselle Catholic over 1-Patrick School

2015: Champs: B-Linden. G-Patrick School.
Boys’: 3-Linden over 2-Patrick School
1-Roselle Catholic over 4-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth
Girls’: 2-Patrick School over 3-New Providence
4-Westfield over 1-Roselle Catholic

2014: Champs: B-Patrick School. G-RC.
Boys’: 2-Patrick School over 3-Roselle Catholic
1-Linden over 4-Plainfield
Girls’: 3-Union over 2-Westfield
1-Roselle Catholic over 4-New Providence

LAST YEAR THE TOP 4 SEEDS DID NOT
ADVANCE TO THE SEMIFINALS:
2013: Champs: B-Patrick School. G-Gov. Livingston.
Boys’: 8-Union defeated 1-Roselle Catholic
Girls’: 8-Oak Knoll defeated 1-Roselle Catholic
13-Plainfield defeated 4-New Providence

COMMENTS