Don Bosco punches ticket for Jamboree final by Jim McConville special to The Record
HACKENSACK – Coming into the semifinals of the Jamboree, Don Bosco was eyes wide open. After watching what Cresskill had done to Hackensack the week before, the Cougars had caught the attention of the Ironmen.
It might have been the worst thing that could have happened for Cressskill. Don Bosco came focused and ready to play. They had what was likely their best game of the season on both ends of the floor as they thoroughly throttled the Cougars.
The 79-40 win sends Bosco back to the championship game for the fourth time in the last five years and 18th overall. They will be seeking their 10th title, but will be hard-pressed to duplicate the performance against Cresskill.
“Our best game by far from a defense/offense standpoint,” DB coach Kevin Diverio said. “The defense really set us up. We did well to keep them outside and contest shots and we were really good in transition, which set up some east baskets.”
The Ironmen took full advantage of their size and strength and also their ability to run the floor in transition. Up 10-7 midway through the first quarter, DB (23-2) went on a 30-0 run as the Cougars went scoreless for 9:30.
Victor Konopka was the scorer in the opening period, scoring 9 of his 13 points in the quarter. Marcellus Earlington took over the second quarter, dropping 14 of his 19 points. Ronald Harper was the constant, scoring 19 evenly spread over the first three quarters before they all went to the bench before the start of the fourth.
It wasn’t just about scoring for Earlington (6 assists) and Harper (4 assists), as they the ball was moving quickly and they took turns finding the open man. Michael Concannon had 6 assists as The Ironmen had 12 assists on their 16 first half field goals.
“We were looking for the mismatch,” Earlington said. “We were looking to get it to the post and find the mismatch. We had the down man on a guard so we looked for that.”
“They started doubling down on the post,” Harper said, “so we just had to keep moving the ball quickly and find that mismatch like Marcellus said.”
The Ironmen shot 32 of 54 from the floor (59 percent), including 16 of 24 in the second half when they again had 12 assisted baskets. Cresskill suffered through a 9 of 38 shooting nightmare, and the fact that top scorer Luka Radovich played very few minutes due to illness (2 points), it was a struggle from the outset for the Cougars.
“I was proud that our guys fought the entire game,” Cresskill coach Dan Egorow said. “There’s a lot to take away from this. If we want to be that great team, we definitely have to improve.”
For Diverio, it is a case of trying to duplicate this effort next Friday against Bergen Catholic, a team they’ve split to down-to-the-wire games with. Another unselfish game could go a long way.
“These guys really love playing with each other,” he said. “It’s not about any one or two guys, they’ll spread the points around. They’ve got a real chemistry.”
For Cresskill (23-1), there is no time to dwell on the defeat. They turn right around on Monday night and face St. Mary in the NJIC tournament semifinals.
“It will be a true test of our character,” Egorow said. “How can we bounce back after a game like this?”