There is no doubt the St. Joseph High School of Metuchen’s boys’ basketball team is favored to win the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Red Division title.
The Falcons are winners of three out of the last four division titles and have captured the conference tournament five of the last six seasons. They are loaded again and could wind up capturing the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions crown.
However, that doesn’t mean division foes like East Brunswick High School are simply going to gift-wrap the championship trophy and present it to the Falcons without so much as meeting them on the court.
“You can’t go into any gym in the Red Division and expect an easy win because it is loaded with quality teams,” Bears head coach Mark Motusesky said.
East Brunswick (17-8 last year) is a legitimately talented team that will win its share of games, possibly more than last season, and will be a tough out once the state tournament commences.
The Bears return three senior starters who averaged in double figures: shooting guard Matt Ross (17 points per game), point guard Mike Vick (10 points per game), and pivot man Addis Ralph (12 points per game). Senior power forward Justin Sewnarine (four points per game) saw action last year and will join the starting lineup along with another senior shooting guard, Mike Brizuela.
Newcomers hoping to become part of the rotation include senior shooting guard Atiqu Shaikh; juniors Dante Ralph (center), Gil Wyman (power forward) and Ezra Levitt (shooting guard); and sophomores Jesse Perel (power forward), Joe Sampson (shooting guard) and Ryan Crocco (power forward).
“We expect to compete for a sectional (Central Jersey Group IV) state title and be one of the better teams in the GMC if our newcomers give us quality minutes along the way,” Motusesky said. “Matt, Mike [Vick] and Addis will be our leaders, and it will be up to them to help us achieve our goals.”
Motusesky acknowledged St. Joe’s is not only the favorite to win the division but is arguably the top team in the state. However, he expects his team to provide competition along with South Brunswick High School and Old Bridge High School.
The Bears open the season Dec. 18 hosting North Brunswick Township High School and visit Perth Amboy High School Dec. 22. The Bears will also be part of the Windsors vs. Brunswicks Tournament and will visit West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North Dec. 28 and play at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South two days later.