UCT boys’ and girls’ basketball will continue this week with semifinals for boys’ Feb. 20 at Kean and semis for girls’ Feb. 21 at Johnson High; Championship games are Feb. 24 at Kean

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Linden standout senior guard Tavon Jones, with more than 1,500 career points, leads the Tigers into the UCT semfinals vs. top-seeded Roselle Catholic.

UNION – Of these three boys’ basketball programs – Cranford, Johnson and Roselle Catholic – which has not won the Union County Tournament yet?

Cranford? No. The Cougars captured their lone title the year the Beatles arrived in America – 1964.

Johnson? Wrong. Known then as Johnson Regional, the Crusaders claimed their only championship the month before Ronald Reagan was shot – in 1981.

Believe it or not, Roselle Catholic is still seeking its first UCT crown.

What may be even more surprising is the fact that the Lions have only appeared in the final four times – and the second time was not until 2012.

Does Roselle Catholic need to win the UCT to validate the recent success the program has sustained? No. The Lions won three consecutive state championship games over St. Anthony from 2013-2015 and in 2013 and 2015 went on to win Tournament of Champions titles.

However, it might sound a bit uneven that RC has won two TOC titles and still has not won its own county tournament.

Would RC rather win another state championship and get to a fourth TOC event and win it for the third time over winning a county championship? Everyone involved in the program would most likely immediately say yes to that.

However again, there’s no reason RC can’t win a county championship and then a state championship in the same season.

Tuesday’s UCT boys’ basketball semifinals at Kean University’s Harwood Arena include third-seeded St. Mary’s, Elizabeth vs. second-seeded The Patrick School at 6 p.m. and fourth-seeded Linden vs. top-seeded Roselle Catholic at 7:30 p.m.

 

UCT BOYS’ SEMFINALS AT KEAN

Tuesday, Feb. 20

3-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth vs. 2-The Patrick School, 6 p.m.

4-Linden vs. 1-Roselle Catholic, 7:30 p.m.

 

UCC-WATCHUNG DIVISION:

Jan. 23: Roselle Catholic 65, Linden 45 – at Linden

Feb. 6: Roselle Catholic 70, Linden 55 – at Roselle Catholic

 

UCC-CROSSOVER:

Jan. 30: The Patrick School 60, St. Mary’s 43 – at The Patrick School

 

Records as of Monday, Feb. 19:

1-Roselle Catholic (20-4), 2-The Patrick School (13-9),

3-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (17-6), 4-Linden (19-5).

 

Five years ago on a Saturday night in Clark with Union senior transfer Tyler Roberson in its lineup, the top-seeded Lions – after dominating Union twice during the season – lost to the Farmers in a UCT quarterfinal. After one of the biggest upsets in UCT history, Roselle Catholic never lost again that season, winning a state championship and its first TOC crown.

Two years ago, sparked by a brilliant performance from senior Matt Bullock, the Lions came close again, but fell to The Patrick School 58-54 in double overtime in the final at Kean.

Roselle Catholic, with an 0-4 record in the final, is not only expected to get back to the final this year, but in the eyes of many (not all, but many) this is its UCT to lose.

Roselle Catholic, with big seniors Nazreon Reid and Alanzo Frink in the lead, begins the third week in February at 20-4, ranked No. 1 in the state and undefeated against all in-state competition.

The Lions also went 8-0 to win the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division championship outright, sweeping The Patrick School, Linden, Elizabeth and Plainfield.

The wins against Linden, both by double digits, were defining enough.

Now top-seeded Roselle Catholic will have to find a way to get past fourth-seeded Linden in the UCT semifinals.

Linden has won three of its 11 UCT titles under present head coach Phil Colicchio, with the Tigers reaching the final four of the last five years. As a matter of fact, one of Colicchio’s assistants this year – Steve Petruzzelli – was the head coach of the Johnson team that won 37 years ago.

Linden begins the week 19-5 and on a five-game winning streak since falling at Roselle Catholic 70-55 on Feb. 6. RC first won at Linden 65-45 back on Jan. 23.

Linden is led by 1,000 point senior standouts Tavon Jones and Mikey Watkins. Jones, who is past 1,500 points, has been as consistent a player as the state has seen so far this year.

Will it come down to how Linden can negate Roselle Catholic’s size advantage? Colicchio has already had two tries. You don’t want to give him many more if you are Roselle Catholic, which will have all the pressure of winning this game and getting to the final for the third time in four years.

Linden’s last UCT title came over Roselle Catholic 60-56 in the 2015 final at Kean.

 

THE PATRICK SCHOOL GIRLS’ SEEK

TO REPEAT FOR THE FIRST TIME

 

The Patrick School girls’ basketball team captured its first UCT championship three years ago, defeating Westfield in the final. The defending champion Celtics were the top seed two years ago and seeking to repeat.

However, TPS was defeated by Roselle Catholic in the semifinals, while Cranford went on to win the championship for the second time and first time in 10 years.

The Celtics are back as the top seed this year. They defeated Cranford in two relatively close Watchung Division games. They will need to beat the Cougars again to reach the final for the third time in four years.

 

UCT GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS

Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Johnson High School

3-Westfield vs. 2-Roselle Catholic, 6:15 p.m.

5-Cranford vs. 1-The Patrick School, 7:45 p.m.

 

UCC-WATCHUNG DIVISION:

Dec. 16: Roselle Catholic 44, Westfield 38 – at Westfield

Jan. 16: Westfield 42, Roselle Catholic 35 – at Roselle Catholic

 

UCC-WATCHUNG DIVISION:

Jan. 9: The Patrick School 66, Cranford 54 – at Cranford

Feb. 10: The Patrick School 66, Cranford 57 – at Cranford

 

Records as of Monday, Feb. 19:

1-The Patrick School (19-5), 2-Roselle Catholic (18-4),

3-Westfield (18-6), 5-Cranford (13-11).

 

The girls’ UCT semis are scheduled to be played at Johnson High School in Clark on Wednesday.

It will be third-seeded Westfield vs. second-seeded Roselle Catholic at 6:15 p.m. and fifth-seeded Cranford vs. top-seeded and defending champion The Patrick School at 7:45 p.m.

The girls’ and boys’ championship games are set to be played at Kean on Saturday, with the girls’ first at 5 p.m., followed by the boys’ next at 7 p.m.

When Roselle Catholic and Westfield opened against each other on Dec. 16, visiting RC went into the locker room at halftime trailing by double digits. The Lions came back out in the second half and played much better defensively.

Roselle Catholic also found enough offense to produce an impressive 44-38 come-from-behind Watchung Division triumph. The Lions were led by junior center Taniya Hanner, who scored 17 points, and by senior guard Tyara McQueen, who added 11. Westfield, which received 11 points each from Molly Ryan and Faith Dobosiewicz, managed to score only 10 points total in the second half. The Blue Devils were held to five in each of the third and fourth quarters.

When the teams met again in Westfield on Jan. 16, the Blue Devils led at the half again before Roselle Catholic took the lead once more in the second half.

However, this time the host Lions could not hold the lead once they obtained it. Westfield scored the game’s final eight points en route to a 42-35 come-from-behind Watchung Division triumph of its own.

The loss cost RC a share of the Watchung Division title with TPS. The Celtics ended up winning the division outright at 9-1, while RC finished second at 8-2 and Westfield third at 7-3.

This time Westfield was led by 13 points from Ryan, 12 from Samantha Stravach and 10 from Grace Elliott. RC was lifted by 12 points from Jenissa Encarnacion and 10 from Victoria Jacobs, while Hanner was held to six.

The Patrick School begins the week 19-5 and with just two in-state losses, both of them taking place at Roselle Catholic’s gym. The Celtics were defeated by Roselle Catholic 59-52 on Jan. 5 in UCC-Watchung Division play. They were then downed by University of Newark 68-56 at RC on Feb. 3 as part of that day’s Tom Richel Memorial Hoopfest event.

In both of their wins against Cranford the Celtics had a big quarter in the first half that spurred them on to victory. In their 66-54 win on Jan. 9 the Celtics erupted for 24 points in the first quarter. TPS also outscored Cranford 19-12 in the third quarter to extend an eight-point halftime lead. Lashae Dwyer had 16 points, Madison Ruddy 14 and center Brennah Cody 10, while Cranford was led by 19 points from 1,000-point scorer Camryn Wichelns, eight from Charlotte VanWhy and seven from Lauren Santarelli.

In its 66-57 win over Cranford on Feb. 10, TPS – after losing the first quarter 14-11 – outscored the Cougars 25-8 in the second quarter to take a commanding 36-22 lead at the break. Dwyer led all scorers with 25 points, while Shadajah Thomas added 12 and Cody seven. Wichelns netted 20, Caroline Kelly 10 and VanWhy nine.

It was big baskets by Wichelns and Caroline McCaffery that propelled Cranford past fourth-seeded Oak Knoll 47-42 in double overtime in their Friday night quarterfinal at Rahway.

Wichelns, who finished with a team-high and game-high 15 points, made a 3-point basket to send the game into overtime. After both teams scored just three points in single overtime, it was a 3-point basket by McCaffery that was huge for Cranford in double overtime, with the Cougars winning that four-minute session by the total of 11-6. McCaffery finished with 14 points. Emily Archer paced Oak Knoll with 13 points, while Paige Morton had 10 and Greta Criqui and Sarah Wittmer nine each.

NOTES: The years the Roselle Catholic boys’ lost in the UCT final include 1963, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Elizabeth has won the most boys’ titles with 21, while Union Catholic has won the most girls’ titles with eight.

The Patrick School has been in 23 of the past 25 finals from 1993-2017 and has won 18 of them. The Celtics have won 20 titles total.

 

82nd ANNUAL

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

UNION COUNTY

TOURNAMENT

 

SEEDS:

1-Roselle Catholic

2-The Patrick School

3-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth

4-Linden

5-Union

6-Rahway

7-Union Catholic

8-New Providence

9-Scotch Plains

10-Summit

11-Plainfield

12-Westfield

13-Elizabeth

14-Johnson

15-Gov. Livingston

16-Roselle

17-Hillside

18-Oratory Prep

19-Dayton

20-Koinonia

21-Cranford

 

PRELIMINARY ROUND:

Koinonia 59, Cranford 55

 

FIRST ROUND:

Rahway 44, Dayton 30

Union Catholic 61, Oratory 42

Scotch Plains 59, Roselle 56

Summit 55, Gov. Livingston 44

Johnson 62, Plainfield 52

Elizabeth 58, Westfield 55

Union 90, Koinonia 34

New Providence 89, Hillside 72

 

SECOND ROUND:

Scotch Plains 56, New Providence 41

Union Catholic 64, Summit 56

Rahway 74, Johnson 56

Union 46, Elizabeth 43

 

QUARTERFINALS:

Saturday, Feb. 17

At Rahway

The Patrick School 68, Union Catholic 54

Roselle Catholic 77, Scotch Plains 36

At Johnson

St. Mary’s 79, Rahway 63

Linden 68, Union 46

 

SEMIFINALS:

Tuesday, Feb. 20

At Kean University

3-St. Mary’s vs. 2-The Patrick School, 6 p.m.

4-Linden vs. 1-Roselle Catholic, 7:30 p.m.

 

FINAL:

Saturday, Feb. 24

At Kean University

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

 

 

43rd ANNUAL

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

UNION COUNTY

TOURNAMENT

 

SEEDS:

1-The Patrick School

2-Roselle Catholic

3-Westfield

4-Oak Knoll

5-Cranford

6-Kent Place

7-Union Catholic

8-Dayton

9-Summit

10-Scotch Plains

11-Plainfield

12-New Providence

13-Johnson

14-Union

15-Gov. Livingston

16-Linden

17-Elizabeth

18-Rahway

19-Benedictine

20-Roselle Park

21-Hillside

 

PRELIMINARY ROUND:

Linden 57, Elizabeth 39

Gov. Livingston 38, Rahway 33

Johnson 56, Roselle Park 25

New Providence 45, Hillside 27

Union 35, Benedictine 33

 

FIRST ROUND:

Dayton 62, Summit 42

Scotch Plains 38, Union Catholic 34

Kent Place 51, Plainfield 42

Cranford 36, New Providence 30

Oak Knoll 58, Johnson 24

Westfield 64, Union 31

Roselle Catholic 60, Gov. Livingston 46

The Patrick School 60, Linden 46

 

QUARTERFINALS:

Friday, Feb. 16

At Johnson

Westfield 48, Kent Place 40

Roselle Catholic 62, Scotch Plains 28

At Rahway

Cranford 47, Oak Knoll 42 (2OT)

The Patrick School 60, Dayton 36

 

SEMIFINALS:

Wednesday, Feb. 21

At Johnson High School, Clark

3-Westfield vs. 2-Roselle Catholic, 6:15 p.m.

5-Cranford vs. 1-The Patrick School, 7:45 p.m.

 

FINAL:

Saturday, Feb. 24

At Kean University

Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.

 

 

UCT BOYS’ CHAMPS:

2017: Patrick School 58, Linden 44 – Chris Chevannes – Kean

2016: Patrick School 58, Roselle Catholic 54 (2OT) – Mike Rice – Kean

2015: Linden 60, Roselle Catholic 56 – Phil Colicchio – at Kean

2014: Patrick School 62, Linden 54 – Chris Chevannes – at Kean

2013: Patrick School 44, Linden 42 – Chris Chevannes – at Kean

2012: Plainfield 72, Roselle Catholic 66 – Jeff Lubreski – at Kean

2011: St. Patrick 70, Linden 58 – Kevin Boyle – at Kean

2010: St. Patrick 82, Plainfield 45 – Kevin Boyle – at Kean

2009: St. Patrick 89, Elizabeth 72 – Kevin Boyle – last one at Dunn

2008: St. Patrick 67, Linden 56 – Kevin Boyle

2007: Linden 63, St. Patrick 51 – Phil Colicchio

2006: St. Patrick 65, Plainfield 52 – Kevin Boyle

2005: St. Patrick 77, Linden 68 – Kevin Boyle

2004: Elizabeth 58, St. Patrick 51 – Donald Stewart

2003: St. Patrick 68, Linden 62 – Kevin Boyle

2002: Elizabeth 75, St. Patrick 61 – Pat Brunner

2001: Linden 76, St. Patrick 59 – Phil Colicchio

2000: St. Patrick 69, Linden 55 – Kevin Boyle

1999: St. Patrick 52, Union 43 – Kevin Boyle

1998: St. Patrick 76, Union 45 – Kevin Boyle

1997: St. Patrick 61, Elizabeth 48 – Kevin Boyle

1996: St. Patrick 65, Elizabeth 47 – Kevin Boyle

1995: Elizabeth 50, St. Patrick 49 – Ben Candelino

1994: St. Patrick 63, Hillside 47 – Kevin Boyle

1993: St. Patrick 45, Elizabeth 41 – Kevin Boyle

1992: Elizabeth 69, Linden 57 – Ben Candelino

1991: Elizabeth 76, Linden 49 – Ben Candelino

1990: Elizabeth 96, Roselle 67 – Ben Candelino

1989: Elizabeth 65, Roselle 57 – Ben Candelino

1988: Linden 50, Elizabeth 45 – Wilbur Aikens

1987: Elizabeth 62, Linden 61 – Ben Candelino

1986: Elizabeth 50, Union Catholic 43 – Ben Candelino

1985: Elizabeth 70, Rahway 56 – Ben Candelino

1984: Elizabeth 57, Plainfield 42 – Ben Candelino

1983: Linden 66, Roselle 60 – Wilbur Aikens

1982: Linden 86, Union Catholic 67 – Wilbur Aikens

1981: Johnson Regional 73, Hillside 61 – Steve Petruzzelli

1980: Union 65, Plainfield 63 – Tom Fox

1979: Plainfield 70, Linden 68 – Rico Parenti

1978: Elizabeth 62, Plainfield 60 – Ron Kelly

1977: Roselle 75, Rahway 54 – Dick Young

1976: Roselle 61, Union 54 – Dick Young

1975: Plainfield 69, Rahway 64 – Rico Parenti

1974: Union 61, Cranford 48 – Tom Fox

1973: Linden 69, Roselle 53 – Wayman Everly

1972: Jefferson 50, Linden 43 – Ron Kelly

1971: Roselle 73, Linden 71 – Dick Young

1970: Jefferson 68, St. Mary’s 61 – Ron Kelly

1969: Jefferson 55, St. Mary’s 47 – Ron Kelly

1968: Linden 63, Jefferson 62 – Joe Gaines

1967: St. Patrick 58, Plainfield 50 – Ed “Buzzy” Fox

1966: Linden 61, St. Patrick 56 – Joe Gaines

1965: Westfield 61, Cranford 52 – Bob Sanislow

1964: Cranford 68, Linden 61 – Bill Martin

1963: Westfield 65, Roselle Catholic 45 – John Lay

1962: St. Mary’s 40, Linden 30 – Al LoBalbo

1961: Roselle 45, St. Mary’s 43 – Ralph Arminio

1960: St. Mary’s 53, Jefferson 43 – Al LoBalbo

1959: Westfield 54, Cranford 46 – John Lay

1958: Roselle 66, Cranford 64 – Ralph Arminio

1957: Rahway 64, Jefferson 51 – Bob Berger

1956: Plainfield 58, Sacred Heart 51 – Bill Brann

1955: Jefferson 52, St. Mary’s 44 – Bill Tranavitch

1954: Jefferson 57, Springfield 44 – Bill Tranavitch

1953: Linden 59, Union 38 – G. St. Andrassy

1952: St. Mary’s 48, Linden 30 – Al LoBalbo

1951: St. Mary’s 37, Jefferson 36 – Al LoBalbo

1950: Jefferson 69, Hillside 57 – Bill Tranavitch

1949: Jefferson 42, Hillside 41 – Bob Cox

1948: Jefferson 33, Springfield 32 – Bob Cox

1947: Springfield 31, Linden 29 – Walter Hohn

1946: Springfield 37, Linden 34 – Walter Hohn

1945: Jefferson 39, Roselle Park 23 – Abner West

1944: St. Patrick 40, Roselle Park 36 – Ken Milsop

1943: Rahway 34, Jefferson 33 – Earl Walter

1942: Rahway 46, Jefferson 30 – Earl Walter

1941: Rahway 32, Hillside 24 – Earl Walter

1940: Springfield 35, Cranford 33 – Bill Brown

1939: Linden 30, Plainfield 20 – Les Goodwin

1938: Springfield 25, Rahway 24 – Bill Brown

1937: Rahway 27, Hillside 17 – Earl Walter

CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Jefferson-Elizabeth 21

St. Patrick-The Patrick School 20

Linden 11

Rahway 5

Roselle 5

Springfield 4

St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 4

Plainfield 4

Westfield 3

Union 2

Cranford 1

Johnson Regional 1

 

 

UCT GIRLS’ CHAMPS:

2017 – Patrick School

2016 – Cranford

2015 – Patrick School – first time

2014 – Roselle Catholic

2013 – Gov. Livingston

2012 – Gov. Livingston – first time

2011 – Roselle Catholic

2010 – Roselle Catholic

2009 – Roselle Catholic

2008 – Westfield – first time

2007 – Scotch Plains

2006 – Cranford – first time

2005 – Scotch Plains

2004 – Scotch Plains – first time

2003 – Roselle Catholic – first time

2002 – Roselle – first time

2001 – Union Catholic

2000 – Union – first time

1999 – Summit – first time

1998 – Union Catholic

1997 – Elizabeth

1996 – Elizabeth

1995 – Elizabeth – first time

1994 – Linden

1993 – Linden

1992 – Union Catholic

1991 – Linden – first time

1990 – New Providence – first time

1989 – Union Catholic

1988 – Union Catholic

1987 – Union Catholic

1986 – Union Catholic

1985 – Hillside – first time

1984 – Plainfield

1983 – Plainfield

1982 – Plainfield

1981 – Plainfield

1980 – Plainfield

1979 – Plainfield – first time

1978 – Mother Seton – first time

1977 – Union Catholic – first time

1976 – Benedictine – first time

CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Union Catholic 8

Plainfield 6

Roselle Catholic 5

Linden 3

Elizabeth 3

Scotch Plains 3

Gov. Livingston 2

Cranford 2

Patrick School 2

Benedictine 1

Mother Seton 1

Hillside 1

New Providence 1

Summit 1

Union 1

Roselle 1

Westfield 1

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