Bergen final is about historical bragging rights
Watch the Bergen County Jamboree final LIVE on MSGVarsity.com Thursday at 7 p.m.
On the surface, Thursday night’s Bergen Jamboree championship game at Ramapo College featuring Don Bosco Prep and Teaneck is about two teams fighting for the chance to stand atop the county and enter the state playoffs with a heightened confidence.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the much-anticipated showdown, a rematch of last winter’s thrilling final, is really about gaining historical bragging rights.
Teaneck, ranked No. 3 in MSG Varsity’s Garden State poll, can claim its 10th all-time tournament win and provide concrete evidence the Highwaymen own the richest tradition in the area.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded Ironmen aim to win their ninth overall crown, which would forge a three-way tie between the Ramsey school, its opponent and Hackensack.
Peeling back the layers makes this looming battle even more interesting.
Teaneck edged Don Bosco Prep, 72-67, in overtime last February at the Rothman Center on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University and captured its second championship in three years. The Ironmen, in turn, squandered the opportunity to win for the fourth time in six years and sixth time this decade.
During Sunday afternoon’s Bergen Jamboree semifinal, Don Bosco senior shooting guard Paddy Quinn opened many eyes by executing on the defensive side of the ball.
Quinn held Hackensack star sophomore Rashard Figures to just 13 points – well below his season average of 20 – and contributed to a balanced offensive effort as the Ironmen cruised past the Comets, 76-59, and punched their tickets to the big stage.
Figures, a 6-foot-5 scoring machine who has already generated a ton of Division I interest, was held in check by Quinn while Leonte Carroo paced the Ironmen with 22 points, while Paul Jorgensen added 11 and the team’s leading scorer, Jemal Mosley, chipped in 15.
What was Quinn’s secret?
“Playing against Jemal in practice all the time helped a lot,” Quinn said. “We really go after each other in practice, so it was very similar. Figures is a little taller, but other than that it was just like playing against Jemal. It brings the same mentality.”
Quinn and company will need to adopt a similar frame of mind when trying to contain Teaneck’s All-State swingman Chris Jones. In addition to Jones, shooting guard Joel Hernandez, center Neville Fincher and flashy point guard Shaakir Lindsey are legitimate threats with the ball in their hands. Don Bosco isn’t afraid of such weapons, though.
“Losing last year was heart-breaking, so it’s been in the back of our minds that we’d see them again,” Quinn said of falling in last season’s final. “We want them.”
Mosley offered similar sentiment by adding, “They got us last year in the championship, so we’re coming back for revenge.”
In the other semifinal tilt, the Highwaymen, who scored 102 points in their previous outing and came in averaging almost 75 points a game, were content to work steadily and efficiently and march on to the final looking poised and smart and not just prodigiously athletic.
Jones scored 19 points and Lindsey added 17 points and six assists to power the top seed and defending champions to a 60-36 win over fifth-seeded Tenafly.
Teaneck (25-0) sank a sizzling 13 of 18 from the floor in the opening half on the way to a 32-15 lead and shot 62 percent for the game. The pulse of a sterling defensive effort was senior guard Siddiq Patterson, who covered Tenafly star Chris Orozco most of the game and held the senior guard to eight points. Orozco averaged 21 points and needed 17 to become the 11th player in Bergen County to reach 2,000 career points.
"We knew it was a big deal and some people were saying he was going to get his 2,000 points against us," Patterson said. "So I said, well, I'm not gonna let that happen. I took it kind of personal, just like our coach (Jerome Smart) said I should do."
You’d better believe Smart, who is enjoying immense success in his second year with the squad, will challenge his boys with the same message in this game. And why not? This one’s for all the marbles in Bergen County.
Not just for this season, either.
Mike Kinney contributed to this report.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter