Roselle Catholic boys’ basketball, sparked by inside game of Frink and Reid, come back to top TPS; Lions will be top seed for 82nd annual UCT

ROSELLE – A player who did not participate in the first game two weeks ago – senior guard Markquis Nowell – did his best to try to steal the game away for the visiting Celtics.
His downtown, bombs-away shooting east and west put his team back in the lead late in the third quarter and again into the fourth.
However, when it came down to the final nitty-gritty, it was Roselle Catholic’s senior combination of 6-9 Alanzo Frink and 6-11 Nazreon Reid that simply would not be denied.
In a game where the host Lions struggled mightily (11-for-25) at the free throw line – including both Frink and Reid – it was a missed foul shot by Reid and then put back by Frink that ultimately propelled them to a very hard-fought victory.
Immediately afterwards a steal by Reid followed by his seventh thunderous dunk gave RC a three-point lead with 16.7 seconds to go.
A Nowell layup and free throw by RC’s Ithiel Horton followed, giving TPS the ball back one last time, down two with 4.9 seconds.
Nowell drove the length of the court and then dished to senior Vladir Manuel, who was stripped by Reid going up at the buzzer.
Roselle Catholic, down by as much as five in the fourth quarter after leading practically the entire way leading up to that point – and then still down by four with just more than two minutes left – came back and then escaped with a thrilling 69-67 Union County Conference-Watchung Division over The Patrick School.
Frink led all scorers with a season-high 23-point performance. Nowell and Reid each finished with 18. Manuel scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half.
Roselle Catholic won its second straight to improve to 16-3 overall. The Lions lead the Watchung Division at 6-0 and will clinch the title outright with a home win over Linden Tuesday night.
Roselle Catholic will now also be the top seed for the 82nd annual Union County Tournament, which will be seeded Wednesday morning at RC. The Lions are still seeking their first UCT championship.
Roselle Catholic is also the top seed for the North Jersey, Non-Public B section come state tournament time.
The Patrick School fell to 9-8 overall and 3-2 in the Watchung Division. Believe it or not the Celtics are the 11th seed in North Jersey Non-Public B.
There’s a good chance these schools will meet again in county and state tournament play.
At the moment RC is half of the way there – if they are to meet four times – to going 4-0 against the Celtics this year.
“I hope not,” said – a bit tongue in cheek – Roselle Catholic head coach Dave Boff. “I hope we never, ever have to play them again and I’m sure Chris (The Patrick School head coach Chevannes) feels the same way.”
Roselle Catholic proved much stronger on the boards in the first half and built a seven-point lead at 22-15. However, the Lions were plagued by occasionally turnovers, although it didn’t seem like they would be enough to bring RC down.
The Patrick School hung around and then, after again being down by seven at 36-29, slowly crept back in the game as the third quarter progressed.
Then a quick basket followed by Nowell’s first of four 3-pointers actually gave the Celtics the lead for the second time at 44-42 very late in the third. Their only other lead was 1-0.
A dunk by Reid tied the game at 44-44 going into the fourth.
A very quick and frenzied pace to open the final eight minutes saw The Patrick School make four 3s – three of them by Nowell – to give the Celtics a 55-51 advantage. TPS added a free throw for their biggest lead of five at 56-51 with four minutes to go.
“Nowell’s an outstanding player and we knew he could change the game,” Boff said. “For a player to be out four weeks and come into a game like this and do what he did is a credit to him.”
An inside basket by Frink tied the game for the third time at 59-59 with 2:48 left.
The Celtics answered with one of two free throws and then a 3-pointer following an offensive rebound off a missed foul shot to go up 63-59.
RC cut the deficit to 63-61 after making two of its next four foul shots. A jumper by Frink from the right side tied the game at 63-63 with 1:10 remaining.
The Patrick School then hit a fadeaway jumper from the left side for a 65-63 edge before Reid made one of two free throws to make it 65-64 with just over 30 seconds to go.
Reid’s next – make the first foul shot and miss the second – began the sequence that put RC back on top and for good the rest of the way.
“If we make our free throws it’s a different game at the half,” said Boff, with the Lions ahead 29-23 at intermission. “I was proud of our guys and how they had to deal with it.
“Alanzo was great on the offensive glass for us and made a big play in a spot where we needed it. He played his best basketball toward the end of last season and has carried it over.”
Roselle Catholic defeated The Patrick School 75-63 at Kean on Jan. 20 in the first Watchung Division matchup. The Lions had a double-digit lead in that game and then the Celtics made it a one-possession game for a brief moment before the Lions roared back to win by 12. Reid led all scorers with 30.
“The Patrick School is such a great program, they work hard and execute. Any time you can get a win against them says something.”
RC was 0-4 vs. TPS last year.
“They beat us four times last year, so we knew what we were going up against,” Frink said. “On some of our missed free throws we didn’t box out. We’ve been in a situation like that and when we do miss we then try to get the long rebound.”
Frink made four of eight from the charity stripe.
“We try to play through it and not let it determine the game,” Frink said. “We always play until the end.”
“Alanzo won the game for us,” Reid said. “It was all redemption. I never lost to a team four times until last year. We came back with a tremendously exciting performance.”
A thoroughly monster dunk by Reid with 1:50 left in the third quarter put the Lions up 41-36. Despite his prowess inside at times, the Celtics kept coming back.
“We knew we were in for a hard-fought game,” Reid said. “Even when we were down we felt like we were still going to win.”
At the moment RC is half of the way there – if they are to meet four times – to going 4-0 against the Celtics this year.
NOTES: Roselle Catholic led from early in the first quarter – after down 1-0 – until very late in the third when the Lions saw their 42-41 lead vanquish when Nowell hit his first 3-pointer.
The game’s first tie was 44-44 and the other ties were 49-49, 59-59 and 63-63.
The Celtics also took the lead again at 47-46, 52-49, 60-59 and 65-63.
The Lions also took the lead again at 46-44 and for the final time at 66-65.
Reid led all scorers at intermission with eight points, while Frink had seven and Daryl Banks, off the bench, led the Celtics with seven.

The Patrick School (9-8, 3-2)                    15             08            21            23 – 67      
Roselle Catholic (16-3, 6-0)                      16             13             15           25 – 69
35-Brandon De La Cruz, 0-0-0-0
14-Valdir Manuel, senior, 7-0-2-16
25-Alejandro Vasquez, 0-1-1-4
1-Markquis Nowell, senior, 3-4-0-18
15-Majur Majak, 1-1-0-5
00-Daryl Banks, junior, 2-1-0-7
21-Giorgi Bezhanishvili, 2-1-0-7
2-Al-Amir Dawes, junior, 2-1-3-10
Totals: 17-9-6-67.
Starters: De La Cruz, Manuel,
Vasquez, Bezhanishvili, Dawes.

11-Josh Pierre-Louis, junior, 0-0-0-0
12-Ithiel Horton, 3-1-3-12
2-Khalil Whitney, junior, 3-0-0-6
4-Jason Battle, junior, 3-0-1-7
3-Colby Rogers, 1-0-1-3
20-Alanzo Frink, senior, 8-1-4-23
5-Nazreon Reid, senior, 8-0-2-18
Totals: 26-2-11-69.
Starters: Battle, Frink,
Reid, Horton, Whitney.


Isaiah Briscoe (2012-2015) 2,176

Jameel Warney (2009-2012) 1,968

Corey Green (1996-1998) 1,100

Jamaal Hilliard (1999-2002) 1,056

Chris Gross (2010-2012) 1,001

Nazreon Reid (2015-2018) 1,000 and counting