Girls’ basketball UCT top 4 seeds should go to Roselle Catholic, Governor Livingston, Cranford and New Providence

Field to be constructed Wednesday morning at RC

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Roselle Catholic head coach Joe Skrec, middle in white, looks at assistant coach Charlie Wischusen during a timeout in his team's Watchung Division game at Cranford.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Roselle Catholic head coach Joe Skrec, middle in white, looks at assistant coach Charlie Wischusen during a timeout in his team’s Watchung Division game at Cranford.

All the results are in.

Now it’s time to construct the 38th annual Frank J. Cicarell girls’ basketball Union County Tournament.

The field gets seeded Wednesday morning at Roselle Catholic, one day after 22 of the 23 teams in the Union County Conference played their final games before the seeding.

On the committee are Watchung Division coaches Paul Gorski of Linden and Justin Meyer of Union, Mountain Division coaches Dave Rennie of Dayton and Joe Marino of Westfield and Valley Division coaches Sjocquelyn Winstead of Hillside and Danielle Brown of Rahway.

The preliminary round is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9 and the first round for Monday, Feb. 11.

The quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 14 at – tentatively -Roselle Catholic and Rahway.

The semifinals are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 18 at a site to be announced.

The final is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24 at Kean University’s Harwood Arena in Union. The last two finals have taken place at Kean.

Sites should be confirmed at the seeding meeting.

My top 4 seeds are: 1-Roselle Catholic, 2-defending champion Governor Livingston, 3-Cranford and 4-New Providence. I give my reasons below.

Roselle Catholic won the UCT for the first time in 2003 and then again in 2009, 2010, 2011, becoming the first 3-peat champion since Elizabeth won its only three crowns in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

GL won its first title last year, while Cranford – in 2006 – and New Providence – in 1990 – also have one championship to their credit.

New Providence, Westfield and GL are the hottest teams in the county right now, with – respectively – winning streaks of 10, seven and six games.

Hillside, which is also among the 10 teams that have won the UCT just once, had a nine-game winning streak snapped at Johnson Tuesday in its first conference-crossover game of the season. That was the first county loss for the Comets, who captured their only county championship in 1985.

Westfield won its only county crown in 2008.

The top seed won the tournament the last three years, including Roselle Catholic in 2010 and 2011 and GL in 2012.

The last top seed not to win the tournament was Scotch Plains in 2009, with the Raiders falling to fourth-seeded and eventual champion Roselle Catholic in the semifinals at RC.

 

JR’S FINAL TOP 16 UCT SEEDS

GOING INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING’S

SEEDING MEETING AT ROSELLE CATHOLIC

Through games played Tuesday, Feb. 5:

1-Roselle Catholic (16-3) – Watchung Division 3-peat champion,

out-of-county loss to Paramus Catholic by 2 points

2-Gov. Livingston (16-4) – swept RC, handing Lions their only county losses;

is on 6-game winning streak

3-Cranford (14-6) – swept GL, but swept by RC,

out-of-county losses to North Hunterdon, South Brunswick

4-New Providence (18-2) – Mountain Division champion,

lost at GL by 2 points and at RC by 7,

is on a 10-game winning streak

5-Union (13-8) – split with GL and Cranford and almost with RC

6-Linden (12-9) – swept Union, split with Cranford

7-Oak Knoll (17-3) – finished second in Mountain Division

8-Westfield (14-7) – split with Oak Knoll, Dayton and Linden,

finished third in Mountain Division,

is on a 7-game winning streak

9-Dayton (13-7) – finished fourth in Mountain Division

10-Scotch Plains (8-11) – beat GL at home by 15, but lost last 3

11-Summit (6-12) – split with Linden, has won 2 straight

12-Johnson (8-10) – beat Hillside in conference-crossover

13-Hillside (12-4) – repeat Valley Division champion

14-Union Catholic (5-12)

15-Kent Place (9-5) – swept Brearley

16-Brearley (9-8)

NOTES: In my Top 16 I have three examples of teams ranked ahead of teams that they were swept by:

No. 1 RC is ahead of No. 2 GL, but GL swept RC

No. 2 GL is ahead of No. 3 Cranford, but Cranford swept GL

No. 5 Union is ahead of No. 6 Linden, but Linden swept Union

 

OAK KNOLL SENIOR MORAN NOW HER SCHOOL’S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER

Oak Knoll standout senior Kerri Moran scored 13 points in Tuesday’s 59-15 conference-crossover victory at in-town Summit parochial school rival Kent Place.

That put her career point total at 1,360, breaking the school record of 1,357 set by 2003 graduate Katie Cummings, who is the team’s assistant coach.

Moran reached and passed 1,000 career points last year as a junior and before this year signed to play in college at Ivy League school Cornell.

“Kerri is playing excellent,” Oak Knoll second-year head coach John Bertollo said. “It was a big sigh of relief for her, knowing that she already scored her 1,000th point and then she committed to Cornell. Any pressure coming into the season wasn’t there.”

Moran is averaging 16.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 steals for a 17-3 Oak Knoll squad that finished second in the Mountain Division and has already surpassed last season’s win total.

The Royals, who finished 15-12 in 2011-2012, will next seek to improve upon last year’s Union County Tournament showing. As the seventh seed a year ago, Oak Knoll ousted 10th-seeded Johnson 50-29 in a first round game at Roselle Catholic and was then eliminated by second-seeded and eventual finalist Cranford 42-31 in a quarterfinal at RC.

“Having Kerri’s leadership, we’re ready to go,” Bertollo said.

Bertollo also praised the scoring ability of senior Kelly McAloon and junior Catherine Bonner.

“Kelly just scored 18 points and Catherine has a season-high 24-point game,” Bertollo said. “If we get hot at the right time, anything can happen. I think we have as good a shot as anybody this year.

“I like how it’s open. There’s no standout team. Every game has been close. There isn’t a standout team like last year with GL.

“This year RC has beat people, but has lost to other people. The same thing can be said for Cranford and GL.

“It’s wide open this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if New Providence went on to win it. I would put them up against anybody.”

Moran, a Bernardsville resident, will be honored for breaking the school’s all-time scoring record on Thursday during Senior Day at Oak Knoll. The Royals will be hosting Cranford at 4 p.m.

OAK KNOLL 1,000 POINT SCORERS:

Kerri Moran, Class of 2013 – all-time leading scorer

Catie Mota, Class of 2011

Courtney Hubschmann, Class of 2005

Katie Cummings, Class of 2003

Kate Veronneau, Class of 1996

Helen McMenamin, Class of 1980

 

ROSELLE CATHOLIC DIDN’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED

IN CAPTURING 3RD STRAIGHT WATCHUNG DIVISION TITLE

Here might be the best argument why Union County girls’ basketball is so competitive. Roselle Catholic, which is 16-3, defeated Plainfield, which is 3-18, by a total of five points in their two Watchung Division battles.

Roselle Catholic first defeated Plainfield 50-47 at home on Jan. 11.

On Tuesday at Plainfield it was a two-point basket at the buzzer by senior Niavanni Grant that propelled the visiting Lions to a 42-40 triumph.

As a result, Roselle Catholic captured its third straight Watchung Division championship and fifth consecutive division title.

Roselle Catholic won the final Mountain Valley Conference-Mountain Division crown in 2009 and then in 2010 captured the first Union County Conference-Mountain Division title. Summit won the UCC’s first Watchung Division championship in 2010.

Roselle Catholic moved up to the Watchung Division for the 2010-2011 season and has now won the Watchung Division crown its first three years in the division.

The UCC’s other division champions this year are New Providence, which captured the Mountain crown, and Hillside, which repeated as Valley winners.

ROSELLE CATHOLIC DIVISION TITLES THE LAST FIVE YEARS:

2012-2013 – UCC-Watchung champions

2011-2012 – UCC-Watchung champions

2010-2011 – UCC-Watchung champions

2009-2010 – UCC-Mountain champions

2008-2009 – MVC-Mountain champions

Grant put in an offensive rebound on the left side to snap a 40-40 deadlock and give RC the win.

Plainfield senior Drew Winter nailed a 3-pointer from about 23 feet away with a hand in her face to forge the game’s final tie with 6.5 seconds left.

After a timeout, RC moved the ball from under its basket to the other end. The Lions then missed a short shot and Grant put it in for the victory.

Plainfield junior Breana Spencer entered the game with 998 career points and made a layup in the opening minute of the second quarter to get to 1,000.

Winter, who finished with a team-high 17 points, reached and passed 1,000 career points earlier this year. Spencer poured in 15 points and now has 1,013 for her career.

Grant finished with six points, four rebounds and one assist.

Roselle Catholic senior forward Renee Oliver produced another double-double, netting 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Roselle Catholic sophomore guard Tyffani McQueen scored a season-high nine points.

The Lions led 18-4 when Spencer reached 1,000 points. Plainfield, to its credit, came back and almost knocked off Roselle Catholic.

UNION COUNTY PLAYERS THAT REACHED 1,000 CAREER POINTS

SO FAR THIS SEASON:

Taylor Sebolao of Scotch Plains on Jan. 10 in a 60-50 home loss to Linden.

Jess McCoy of Cranford on Jan. 11 in a 59-39 win at Scotch Plains.

Drew Winter of Plainfield on Jan. 18 in a 64-61 home loss to Linden.

Jada Lewis of Linden on Jan. 31 in a 43-42 home win over Scotch Plains.

Breana Spencer of Plainfield on Feb. 5 in a 42-40 home loss to Roselle Catholic.

Sebolao, McCoy, Winter and Lewis are seniors and Spencer a junior.

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