The 4:30pm game looks to be an interesting one. St. Anthonys is eager to re-establish its dominance and once again be considered NJs premier program. This will not be an easy task against a scrappy Newark Eastside team that has 3 very good guards. While most teams have begun to game-plan around stopping Corey Chandler(Rutgers), senior guard Al Holloway has quietly emerged as a capable guard who can make big shots. Allen Bush is a defensive stopper who could disrupt things for St. Anthonys by applying intense ball pressure and forcing turnovers. Coach Hurleys teams are always disciplined and well coached so it will be important for Newark Eastside to be disruptive defensively and take good shots since St. Anthonys will most likely come out and extend their pressure defense and invite Newark Eastside to turn the ball over and take ill-advised shots. Miles Beatty and Anthony Rosario are 2 guards who can fill it up so look for them to shoulder the majority of the scoring load for the Friars. The team that can stay patient, execute and score off transition and turnovers will win this one.
In the main event #4 St. Patrick of Elizabeth takes on # 7 Nuemann-Goretti from PA. This game promises to have that heavyweight title fight feel. Nuemann-Goretti comes loaded with a quartet of Division 1 prospects led by St. Joes bound Derrick Rivera; Syracuse bound Rick Jackson and Antonio Jardine along with highly touted Earl Pettis. St. Patricks comes in with its own cast of highly touted players including Corey Fisher, Ruben Guillandeaux, Jeff Robinson, Yves Mbala, Yannick Nono and returning starter Jamar Youngblood. This game promises to be a war with both teams looking to maintain their lofty national rankings. Despite the fact that the guards receive much of the hype and praise, this game will be decided inside. Whichever team can dominate both backboards and consistently drive the ball to rim for high percentage shots and multiple trips to the free throw line should come out ahead in this one. Despite the abundance of raw talent in this game, it will be important for both teams to resist the urge to freelance and wisely play to their strengths. Neumanns strong guard combination of Rivera, Pettis and Jardine gives them a huge advantage against most teams with their ability to create off the dribble and force opponents into turnovers. St. Patricks will attempt to combat this with tremendous depth and the strong inside presence of Yannick, Yves, and Jeff Robinson. Look for a full house and lots of college coaches on hand to check out the action.
Hopefully Rutgers can use this opportunity to fill their roster with a few of the many up and coming college prospects competing this weekend in the Tip Off Classic.