HOME OF BOUND BROOK CRUSADERS BASKETBALL
Ramir Dixon-Conover, Bloomfield Tech
Michael Fraunheim, Point Pleasant Beach
1-Gill St. Bernard’s
Monday December 28, 2015
5pm-- Game 1: Watchung Hills (away uniforms) vs. Spotswood (home uniforms)
7pm-- Game 2: Piscataway Vo-Tech (away uniforms) vs. Bound Brook (home uniforms)
Tuesday December 29, 2015
5pm—Consolation-- Loser of 1st Game (away) vs. Loser of 2nd (home uniforms)
7pm—Championship Game Winner of Game 1( Away Uniforms) vs. Winner of Game 2 (home uniforms)
The steady growth of Bound Brook's younger players this season has made the end of February a pleasant stretch of time, and March--this one and presumably those beyond 2015--a month filled with optimism.
But on this particular March day--one more befitting a January date for its blustery manner--it would be starting seniors Kevin Pacheco and Danny Leinbach who would dictate satisfaction and promise. And with the Crusaders seeking their first state tournament win in two years, that somehow seemed perfectly appropriate that the elder statesmen would take charge.
Each scored 19 points and Pacheco also came up with seven steals and five assists as they guided sixth-seeded Bound Brook to 73-50 win over 11th-seeded South Amboy Tuesday evening in the first round of the NJSIAA/ShopRite Central Jersey, Group 1 tournament in Bound Brook.
Their strong play, which guided the team from start to finish, helped overshadow an outstanding performance by South Amboy sophomore Ryan O' Leary, who scored 26 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
Bound Brook (15-10) moves on to the quarterfinals Thursday against the winner of the game Wednesday between 14th-seeded Henry Hudson and third-seeded Point Pleasant Beach.
"I'm very happy for those guys," Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo said of Pacheco and Leinbach. "They've been great players for us, great kids, great students, great ambassadors of the program. They're a little deceiving; you see these two small guys (Pacheco is 5-7, Leinbach 5-8) and you figure, 'They probably aren't very good,' and it doesn't take very long for you to realize they're both solid basketball players."
Pacheco gave early indication of that with his first steal on one of South Amboy's initial possessions, and Leinbach served notice with a 3-pointer 39 seconds into play to give his squad a 3-2 lead. He knocked down another 3-pointer with 5:43 to go for a 6-2 lead and would bury two more in the second quarter to help Bound Brook move in front, 33-23, and his fifth to trigger a 12-3 run that began the third quarter for a 45-26 advantage.
"Both of us are good shooters, but when I'm not shooting well, like today, I can get the ball to Danny and I know he'll always have the hot hand," Pacheco said. "He did today."
Leinbach would be the first to admit that the hot hand he flashed early on from the perimeter had more to do with the smart, patient ball movement that accorded him wide-open jumpers, as well as the team's stingy defense that disrupted South Amboy's ball handlers and shooters and provided Bound Brook with bonus possession time.
"We moved the ball real well and did a good job of getting looks for everybody," Leinbach said. "And my release felt good, so I kept shooting. When I hit some shots, that opened up things inside for us. When they tried to stop us inside, I had opportunities again."
So did Pacheco and Najee Williams, who each finished with two 3-pointers, and Anthony Perez and Kyle Frauenheim, who buried one apiece from behind the arc. Perez, a junior, finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and Frauenheim, only a freshman, had five points.
Frauenheim, sophomore E.J. Vargas and juniors Darius Brown and Williams lead that large group of non-seniors whose continued progress has made this season such an enriching journey thus far. Perez is also only a junior, but he is a varsity veteran and also Bound Brook's top scorer at 17.6 ppg.
"We feel good going into the tournament based on the teams we've played this season," Melesurgo said. "We've played a very tough schedule and we're getting better as the season goes on. We wanted to open up strong, and I think we did."
Bound Brook was bumped up this season to the Valley Division of the Skyland Conference, where it competes against mostly larger schools, such as Group 3 Somerville, Voorhees and Warren Hills and Group 2 North Plainfield.
"It was a big jump for us, but a good jump," Melesurgo said. "We lost a lot of close games early and played much better the second time around. We've done a good job of playing together.
That was certainly true in the way Bound Brook sought out the open shooters and also turned in a concerted effort on defense. Pacheco was the obvious leader there with his seven steals, but six other Crusaders recorded at least one each, including Brown with five and senior Nick Cuba with two.
"The younger guys have all been coming along in the big games," Pacheco said. "In the beginning of the season, they folded a little, but now toward the end, they're getting it right. That's exactly what we need."
Williams, like Perez, expected to be a heavy contributor last year as a sophomore, but sustained an ACL tear that kept him out for almost the entire 2013-14 season. He then broke an elbow during this preseason and was out until Tuesday. He made his varsity debut to rousing applause with 2:20 to go in the first quarter, and gradually eased himself into a useful role. He finished with eight points and three rebounds.
"Not the ideal circumstances to have a kid come back after so much time away, but it was important ," Melesurgo said. "I thought he did a good job of understanding his role in the game. He would have been a starter last year. It was good to see him back."
Not for South Amboy, which suddenly had to deal with one more athletic body with defensive zeal and a decent jump shot. Senior Tim Kales scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds for South Amboy, but the Guvs were not able to produce anywhere near the kind of balance Bound Brook possesses.
"We had a good game plan and we followed it well," Leinbach said. "We pressured them, got some early steals and we hit shots. Hopefully we'll be able to do that again in the next round."
South Amboy (12-14) 8--15--15--12--50
Bound Brook (14-10) 14--19--21--19--73
O'Leary 10-0-6-26, Kales 3-1-2-11, Reagan 2-0-0-4, Ford 0-0-2-2, Garcia 2-0-1-5, Rone 0-0-0-0, Lewis 1-0-0-2, Singh 0-0-0-0.
Perez 3-1-7-16, Pacheco 6-2-1-19, Leinbach 1-5-2-19, Frauenheim 1-1-0-5, Vargas 0-0-2-2, Brown 1-0-2-4, Williams 1-2-0-8, Cuba 0-0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Seyffart 0-0-0-0, Amaker 0-0-0-0.
Crusaders Upset 13-1 Somerville
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New Division For Crusaders
- Crusader Classic Field Set
- Perez 3rd Team All-State
-Summer Schedule Announced Soon
-Senior College Decisions Coming Soon
JD Rodriguez- Georgian Court
Hamilton Cappellan- Georgian Court
Jack Welti- Kean University
Jaquan Pearyer- Middlesex Cty
Shane Stevens- St. Katherine's
Fred Deensie- St. Katherine's
Wole Osontuyi- Valley Forge Prep
BB Basketball Restoration
The Last 11 years:
Snapped State Worst 34 Game Losing Streak
2007 Skyland Champs
2008 Skyland Champs
2011 Skyland Champs
2012 Skyland Champs
2013 Skyland Champs
2014 Skyland Champs
10 Consecutive Winning Seasons
2013 So County Final 4 Appearance
11 Consecutive State Tourney Appearances
2010 Star Ledger Ranked #7 in Somerset Cty
Top 10 Rankings in NJ (Group 1)('08-6th, '09-9th, '11-2nd)
Most Wins Since 1990 ('08, '10, '12, '13)
All-time Leader Scorer (Hawkins, 1320)
10 College Basketball Players
4 1,000 Point Scorers
2010 Crusader Classic Champs!
2012 Crusader Classic Champs!
School Record 18 Straight Wins (2011)
School Record 21 Straight wins (2013)
Ranked in State top 20 1st Time Ever
1st Time School History State #1 Seed (2011)
Undefeated in League play 12-0 (10-11)
Undefeated in League Play 12-0 (11-12)
Undefeated in League Play 12-0 (12-13)
School Record 24 Wins (2011)
School Record 26 Wins (2013)
2 ALL-STATE SELECTIONS (2011)
Advanced to Semi-Finals (first time since 1979)
Advanced to CJ Group 1 2013 Finals (first time since 1979)
Beat #17 in state Bridgewater-Raritan (2012)