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Ellis, Williams and Williams lead Hamilton West ahead of Bridgett and Trenton in CVC thriller

By on January 15, 2022 0

As we enter week four of the NJSIAA men’s basketball season, there are still many questions to answer about which teams are in the elite tier of the Colonial Valley Conference.

Of course, Robbinsville leads the way as the only team to a loss (after its first loss of the season from Wednesday). But after the Ravens, who is next?

Friday night was going to go a long way to figuring that out, at least for now.

There were two key games on the CVC’s record with all four teams trying to claim that second place in the conference: Nottingham were at Notre Dame and Hamilton West made the short trip to Chambers Street to take on Trenton. All four teams entered the day with two losses, and three of the four, including the Tornadoes and Hornets, had six wins.

After 32 minutes of play at Tornado Alley, it might be the Hornets who can claim second place in the CVC, as they took a 57-56 win in the final minute.

Arterio Williams fended off a miss from Jeremy Ellis in the final 30 seconds to decide the game in favor of Hamilton West (7-2), as the visitors overcame a huge scoring night from Trenton’s Antwan Bridgett (5-3 ), who had 26 points for the hosts. Maurice Williams led the Hornets with 17.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Arterio Williams said. “It was a big win for us tonight. We wanted to come here and put ourselves on the map. We just have to postpone that until next week against Ewing.

Both teams struggled to score for long stretches of the first half as the game was a scrappy, defensive battle. It was the hosts who opened up an 18-7 lead after one quarter, however, and appeared to be in fine form. It was 22-11 before the Hornets finally woke up and started knocking down some shots. All of a sudden, the 11-point deficit was reduced by an 11-2 run, and the visitors entered intermission trailing by two, 27-25.

This run was propelled by the athleticism of Ellis, who had two ridiculous displays at either end of the field: a monster dunk to help fuel the rally, and a block that pinned the ball against the defensive backboard that brought the visiting bench and the fans. at their feet.

Hamilton West then took the lead on the first possession of the second half on a three-point shot, and from that point on it was a single possession contest for the rest of the third, and the two teams entered in the final eight minutes. tied 37-37.

The first 90 seconds were all in Hamilton, as the visitors scored six consecutive points to take a 43-37 lead, before Trenton scored and called a timeout in an attempt to stem the tide of four. But the Hornets kept putting the ball inside (which they didn’t in the first half), and the strategy worked.

“It’s something we’ve been telling them all week, honestly,” Hamilton West head coach Brandon Johnson said. “Those two, Arterio and Jeremy, are the keys to our victory. They have something other teams don’t have: they have size, they have strength and they can leap out of this world.

So if we can dominate both sides of the paint, I feel like we can win games.

It was only fitting that the final basket of the contest would come from Arterio Williams on a throw-in in the paint: the Hornets dominated the glass after falling behind early, and it ended up leading them to a massive win.

So now the Hornets embark on a 10-day series of games that will help decide if they are still in the CVC Valley race, as well as the Mercer County and Central Jersey tournament, Group 3 debates, on a five-game winning streak. : Ewing is next Tuesday, with matches against Hightstown, Notre Dame and WW-P South all scheduled before the end of January.

“It was a huge game for us, not just for CVC,” Johnson said. “It was a big power point game in the cup. December was a difficult month for us. We had players coming in and out of the lineup. I was only there for one game the whole month of December, and I was not in training. So we were a bit behind.

“But our players kept fighting. Our assistant coaches had supported us. I feel like we’re going to peak at the right time, if we can keep a cool head and keep improving every day. Every game we play from here until the end of our season will be a bigger game. We won’t be satisfied until we hold back the material at the end of the season, both the MCT and the section title. It’s not going to be easy, but every game we create the atmosphere of the playoffs. It will get bigger and bigger.

“We can enjoy it for 10 hours and then we have to get ready for Ewing on Tuesday.”

***

In the other key game on Friday night, Nottingham held Notre Dame to just 30 points, in a 45-30 win. JP Dickerson had 16 for the Northstars to lead the way.

So Nottingham and Hamilton West are now 7-2 going into the weekend (Nottingham hold the H2H win), with Robbinsville 7-1, Notre Dame 6-3 and Trenton 5-3. These are the only five CVC teams (out of 14) to spend the weekend above 0.500.

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