By: Dustyn Green
The High School Basketball teams that lie within Mercer County are ready to bring the madness to the postseason hardwood. Teams with strong runs will continue those runs, and struggling teams will finally have their shot at a title. WBCB 1490 is ready to bring you the action from the MCT both on air and online. Before the action tips off you need to understand each pairing and what to expect on the floor.
#1 Hightstown vs #16 Ewing
Hightstown has had a fantastic campaign up to this point, they know how to add a whole new level of pace and defense to the mix. Thus far Ewing has tried to stay with similar paces and has not been successful a majority of the time. These two teams faced each other on February 7th, and Hightstown was able to clinch the 62-48 victory due in part to 18 points by Ryan Hogan. Connor Mamone was also useful in that game putting 12 in the points column. Ewing can attempt to take those two components out of the conversation, but that is unlikely because of the nature of Hightstown. Jaylen Britton could be the one who makes things interesting, he posted 18 points for Ewing the last time these two teams met. However, I think Nick Desmond and his rebounding are going to be deadly, we should see at least a 15 point victory and a high bar being set by Hightstown.
#8 Princeton Day vs #9 Lawrence
Unlike the first contest that was discussed, this one is going to be a thriller! The last time these two teams squared off, the 52-47 victory swung in favor of Princeton Day. Davon Reed was able to chip in 26 points in this one, and B.J. Dudeck chipped in another 13 points for their team. Princeton Day comes in with a 8-9 record, Lawrence has a 9-11 record. In the last meeting Jordan Glover had 23 points, his teammate Russell Austin had four steals in the contest. That is a lethal combination, and it is the postseason now which makes Lawrence even hungrier. I expect Lawrence to reverse the last result and emerge as the winner.
#5 Allentown vs #12 Pennington
Allentown is a team that nobody should want to play at this point in the schedule. This is a team that is home to Dante and RJ Weise. The two brothers have been scoring machines all year long and in their game with Bordentown they combined for 36 points! Plus other guys contribute to the score and share the ball well. This team is deadly and should waltz forward without any issues.
#4 Trenton Catholic vs #13 West Windsor-Plainsboro South
This one is another decisive victory due to scoring and defense. Windsor will have a plan for an upset but they just are not ready for Jamir Wattkins. Watkins has 396 points in 19 games played this season! He also has 11 blocks on the year. To top it off his team plays as a whole unit. Trenton Catholic will be a lot for Windsor-Plainsboro South to handle despite their 1,248 total team points. Krishi Dittani has 355 of those points, the next closest is Tegveer Gill with 244 points. All Trenton Catholic needs to do is go to work on defense and they move on easily.
#3 Nottingham vs #14 Steinert
Decisive might as well be the theme of the bracket because Nottingham will defeat Steinert without a doubt here. Nottingham has a record of 18-5, this compares to 6-16 for Steinert. Just like most teams, Steinert will get tricked into stopping Brandon Raba, and they will forget about guys like Nazir Collins and Javon Jenkins. You cannot concentrate solely on Raba because the other four guys will eat you alive! It will be interesting to see how far Nottingham will go.
#6 Notre Dame vs #11 Hamilton West
These two squads have seen each other already this season, it was the Irish who got the 56-39 victory. The leading scorer in the first round was Nick Feretic as he had 15 tallies, I expect that to double as it is much later in the campaign. For Hamilton West, Jack Boufford led with 10 points in the book. Those points should certainly be in the book again but they will not put a dent in the score. Notre Dame should have this one in the bag pretty easily.
#7 Princeton vs #10 Trenton
This is another case of repeat games, the 63-41 score earlier this year was in favor of Princeton. Jeferi Bar-Cohen and Tim Evidente were able to get 14 points each. This should be a testament to the teamwork that Princeton believes in. Shaun Balckom was the lone top scorer for Trenton as he had 13 points! There just is not enough momentum for Trenton, unfortunately for them the road to glory is nearing the end.
#2 Robbinsville vs #15 West Windsor-Plainsboro North
Our final first round game is also part of the repeat loop. Robbinsville was the initial victor winning 59-45. Unlike our other games there is not much to this one other than get inside and go. Robbinsville did a great job of creating points, they created just enough to make the burden large enough to get by. I expect it to be much of the same in this one!
WBCB Sports is excited to continue our commitment to High School sports throughout the playoffs. Stay tuned for updates as we progress through the MCT and beyond!