Meet the JSZ 2019 Mr. Hoop Zone Finalists!
Jersey Sports Zone is proud to announce the five finalists for the 2019 Mr. Hoop Zone Award, our boys basketball Player of the Year voted on by various coaches and media from across the Garden State. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 20 during JSZ’s second annual All-Zone Basketball Banquet at the Renaissance Hotel in Woodbridge. Watch our profiles of these five outstanding players and learn more about JSZ’s top basketball honor. Be sure to check out our Miss Hoop Zone finalists as well! Last Year’s Winner: Bryan Antoine – Ranney This Villanova University bound four year starter has been the hype surrounding one of the most up and coming programs in New Jersey. Bryan Antoine dazzles fans with his electrifying dunks and quick scoring, but it’s his play in games that matters most. Antoine capped of a season in which he received McDonald’s All-American honors, became the Shore Conferece’s All-Time leading scorer with 2,481 points and led Ranney to a State Title with the program’s first ever Tournament of Champions crown. Kahlil Whitney – Roselle Catholic When Kahlil Whitney takes the floor, the price of admission feels like a steal. One of the state’s three McDonald’s All-Americans this year, Whitney is a versatile player that is willing to do whatever to help his team win. After making the move from Chicago to NJ to play for Roselle Catholic, Kahlil put the country on notice with his heart stopping slams and signature spin move to the basket, even earring an offer from the University of Kentucky. He will continue his basketball career as a Wildcat after leading RC to back to back Union County and State Sectional Titles. Scottie Lewis – Ranney One half of “The Greatest Show in Monmouth County” Scottie Lewis was the other key component in Tournament of Champions winners Ranney’s historical run. Lewis much like his counterpart Bryan Antoine has spoiled the Garden State the last four seasons with a barrage of dunks that will forever be embedded in the minds of high school basketball fans. The McDonald’s All-American will continue his college career as a Gator at the University of Florida. Josh Pierre-Louis – Roselle Catholic Not often two sets of teammates share the podium for our highest basketball honor, but this year it was undeniable that Josh Pierre Louis was a game changer in New Jersey. Roselle Catholic’s point guard who garnered national attention this season helped lead the Lions to another County and Sectional Title with his 69 steals and 14.2 PPG. After recently de-committing from the University of Las Vegas, Pierre-Louis has reopened up his college recruitment and has offers from Georgia, Temple, Rutgers, Seton Hall and many more! Paul Mulcahy – Gill St. Bernard’s Two words say it all about this next nominee, “Headband Highlights”. 6’6 Paul Mulcahy is one of the most interesting players on our list for the simple reason you don’t see consistency like this every day. Mulcahy led Gill St. Bernard’s to the Non-Public North Final in a season in which he averaged a Triple Double! The Bayonne native plans to keep exciting New Jersey in his college career when he laces it up for Rutgers University next year.
60 Hoops Players Nominated for Final JSZ Basketball Game Balls of 2019
Game Ball Presentations
Luke Albrecht Wins Central Jersey Game Ball For Middletown South!
Luke Albrecht won the final Boys Central Jersey Game Ball for his performance during the game against Marlboro. He scored 17 points, leading the Eagles to a 63-49 victory. Congratulations Luke!
Hawthorne’s T.J. Palmer Wins North Jersey Game Ball!
T.J. Palmer took home the final Boys North Jersey Game Ball for his performance during the game against Elmwood Park last week. He scored his 1,000th point and 33 total game points that night, leading his team to a 66-62 win. Check out his full ceremony right now:
Shawnee’s Connor Deveney wins NJM South Jersey Game Ball!
Athletics run in Connor Deveney’s family. His brother was a football and basketball standout for Shawnee last year helping the Renegades win a hoops sectional title and even earned a scholarship to play tight end for Rutgers University. Connor is keeping that tradition alive as he has been the driving force on a team that had many spots to fill from a departing Senior heavy class. Deveny is currently averaging 18 points a game this year, in his game against Kingsway he dropped 34. The people have spoken and after countless hours of voting he is this week’s NJM Insurance South Jersey Game Ball Winner! JSZ’s Nery Rodriguez stopped by practice for his ceremony: Take Our Poll Sponsor! Thank you to NJM Insurance for sponsoring all of our South Jersey Game Ball presentations! Have a question for Nery? Email him: email@example.com
Stephanie LaGreca Wins Girls North Jersey Game Ball For Wayne Valley!
Wayne Valley’s Stephanie LaGreca took home JSZ’s final Girls North Jersey Game Ball for her double-double during the game against Paterson Kennedy. She scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds, leading her team to a 49-46 victory. Check out Stephanie’s full ceremony right now:
Olivia Robel Wins Girls Central Jersey Game Ball For Middlesex!
Olivia Robel won the last Girls Central Jersey Game Ball of the year for her double-double and 5 steals during the game against Piscataway last week. Her double-double consisted of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Watch her full ceremony right now:
Saddle River Day’s Michelle Sidor Wins JSZ North Jersey Game Ball
Michelle Sidor has been dominating the competition so far throughout her senior season. The Saddle River Day Rebel became only the fourth girl in state history to score her 3,000th point and because of that, voters in North Jersey selected Sidor to win this past week’s JSZ North Jersey game ball. JSZ’s Jay Cook caught up with the Michigan-commit Sunday after SRDS won their fourth-consecutive Bergen County Tournament title. Watch her presentation here: Take Our Poll Jersey Sports Zone was on hand on Feb. 5 when Sidor scored her 3,000th point on her home court. JSZ’s coverage of that historic moment can be found here:
NJ’s speaker and Woodbridge Mayor team up in broadcast booth
For the past 20 years, Craig Coughlin and John McCormac have been broadcasting high school and youth sports in Woodbridge. But the familiar duo wearing headsets on the sidelines at Woodbridge, Colonia and JFK High are known more for their high profile day jobs. Coughlin is the speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and McCormac is the former New Jersey state treasurer and the current mayor of Woodbridge. When the headsets go on, the business of politics and government take a back seat to breaking down the keys to victory and spotlighting the kids battling on the court. “For both of us, this is just an awful lot of fun and something we love to do,” Coughlin said. “We’ve done football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, wrestling, swimming – the only thing we haven’t done is tennis.” “How often do you get to call a game when a 1000 point scorer is in the game,” McCormac said. “The fact that the team did it at home and did it in a state tournament game just puts the icing on the cake of a terrific night.” JSZ spent time with Coughlin and McCormac during their broadcast of Colonia’s 56-36 boys basketball state playoff win over Cranford. Watch our feature “From the State House to the Broadcast Booth”
Miles Wood watches JSZ Top Goals, then lights the lamp for Devils!
The New Jersey Devils honored the Top 5 Goals from New Jersey high school hockey in January captured by JSZ cameras during the NHL team’s 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night at the Prudential Center in Newark. Once again, the Devils rolled out the red carpet and gave the VIP treatment to five great high school hockey standouts. From a pregame film session with Miles Wood, to five awesome goals on the scoreboard at the second intermission, it was another special night provided by the Devils. Watch our recap of another special evening: New Jersey Devils winger Miles Wood met with our players prior to faceoff and watched the Top 5 goals from January captured by JSZ cameras. There’s no question that the players were inpsired to see an NHL player talk about their goal and Wood’s pre-game video session paid off as well. Wood scored his sixth goal of the season in the Devils 4-1 win over Buffalo. Here’s Miles Wood breaking down the Top 5 goals from January: Congratulations to our Top 5 goals from January #5: Tommy Kleinman, Bergen Catholic #4: Dom Troisi, Saint John Vianney #3: Ty Pezzolla, Saint Peter’s Prep #2: Dyland Idland, Morris Knolls #1: Andrew Kutzman, Freehold Boro On March 21, the Devils will honor the Top 5 goals from February during their home game against the Boston Bruins. On March 25, the Devils and JSZ host our 2nd annual All-Zone hockey banquet during their game against the Buffalo Sabres.
SportsCenter Top 10 Features Highlight-Reel Goal from Delbarton’s Balzarotti
By Jay Cook Delbarton’s Michael Balzarotti was admittedly modest about his jaw-dropping goal Wednesday night, but the decision-makers in Bristol, Conn. knew they were watching something special later that evening. Balzarotti’s highlight-reel dangle and goal in a Gordon Cup semifinal game — captured by JSZ cameras — was featured as the No. 3 play in America on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Feb. 13. “I have the high school package on the DIRECTV and I was watching this — look at your boy Michael Balzarotti of Delbarton School,” ESPN anchor and noted hockey aficionado John Buccigross remarked during the Top 10 breakdown Wednesday evening. “That is some nice dancing,” Buccigross added. Michael Balzarotti, #9 in your programs, #3 on the @espn @SportsCenter Top 10! @Delbarton wins 3-0 over CBA to advance to Gordon Cup Finals. #delbartonsports #playoftheyear pic.twitter.com/xyMmYdWM9D— Delbarton Sports (@DelbartonSports) February 14, 2019 Early in the third period of a Feb. 13 Gordon Cup semifinal game against Christian Brothers Academy at Aspen Ice, Balzarotti wrangled in a clear from teammate Max Williams, gathered the puck before dangling past a CBA defender. He then finished with a Sidney Crosby-eqsue backhand, all while playing shorthanded on a CBA power play. Balzarotti’s goal gave the Green Wave an emphatic 2-0 lead — they’d go on to capture a 3-0 win and move into the Gordon Cup finals. Michael Balzarotti…are you for real? 🤯🤯 This wild dangle and backhand helped @DelbartonHockey into the Gordon Cup finals after a 3-0 shutout against CBA. @DelbartonSports stay tuned for the full highlights tonight! pic.twitter.com/iskC89koDc— Jersey Sports Zone (@JSZ_Sports) February 13, 2019 “Yeah, so it was a great clear by Max Williams on the PK; I saw him going for the ice so I figured I’d kind of blow the zone and see what happened,” Balzarotti described to JSZ after the game. “After that, the puck came to me and I found myself in a one-on-one with the puck a little behind me. I tried to put it in an area and get to it. Luckily, it paid off and I had a nice backhand into the net. It was good to pad the lead there.” That viral goal comes in the midst of a career-season for Balzarotti. His 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) have him as third leading scorer in New Jersey’s uber-competitive Gordon Conference, a collection of private schools across the state littered with talent. Delbarton now sits at 16-5-4 on the season and will look to capture their third-straight Gordon Cup title Friday night. “I think it’s going to be incredibly hard to beat us when we’re locked in this,” Balzarotti added. Watch JSZ’s full highlights from the 3-0 win over CBA: Balzarotti’s goal now becomes the second score shot by JSZ cameras to make it to the SportsCenter Top 10. JSZ Chief Operating Officer Rich Chrampanis captured a wild goal between Freehold Township’s Julian Kislin and Max Halvorsen in the 2014-2015 season which took the internet by storm and quickly became the No. 1 play on SportsCenter. As always, stay tuned for plenty more high school hockey coverage from Jersey Sports Zone through the rest of the winter season.
NJ basketball continues to rally for Ranney coach and his son’s cancer battle
As Ranney begins their quest to finish the season as New Jersey’s top-ranked boys’ basketball team, the Panthers have a perspective that their battles on the court pale in comparison to the battles of real life. Head coach Tahj Holden’s 2-year old son, Max, has been fighting pediatric neuroblastoma for over a year. With overwhelming medical bills mounting, the New Jersey basketball community continues to rally and raise money for the Holden family as Max continues his fight against cancer. The Jersey Shore Challenge featuring Ranney and Roselle Catholic gave a portion of the proceeds from the sold-out game to Max Strong, a fund that helps with the Holden family’s medical expenses. On Saturday, Tahj’s high school alma mater stepped up with a fundraiser. All the proceeds from the RBR/RFH and Ranney/Asbury Park doubleheader benefitted Max Strong. Watch JSZ’s feature on how Max Holden has inspired the Ranney basketball team and how everyone continues to support the Holden family. To learn more about Max Strong and how you can contribute, please visit this link: MAX STRONG GoFundMe Page
Bryan Antoine becomes Shore’s all-time leading scorer
The Ranney senior guard and Villanova bound McDonald’s All-American scored 30 points in a 103-43 Panthers win over Mater Dei Prep on Senior Night. JSZ captures the big moment and talks with Antoine and Scottie Lewis about a record that stood for 46 years Bryan Antoine sets Shore Conference all-time scoring mark What started as a senior night celebration for Ranney’s groundbreaking class morphed into the coronation of Bryan Antoine as the Shore Conference’s all-time leading scorer. Antoine needed 20 points against Mater Dei Prep to set the record that was set by Croydon Hall’s Norm Caldwell in 1975. Croydon Hall is now defunct and the record of 2,302 stood until the third quarter of the Panthers 103-43 victory. Antoine took a long feed from Scottie Lewis and slammed down the new Shore Conference mark. Antoine finished the game with 30 points. Watch our feature on this historic moment in Tinton Falls: Here’s the raw video of the three-pointer, followed by the dunk that set the Shore Conference scoring mark Bryan Antoine has been a highlight machine over the past four years on Jersey Sports Zone. In case you missed it, take a look at Antoine’s junior highlight reel!
Secaucus’s Amanda Ulrich Scores 2,000th Career Point!
Senior St. Leo University Commit, Amanda Ulrich, scored her 2,000th career point on Tuesday night during the game against Lyndhurst. Ulrich is the seventh female basketball player in Hudson County history, and first from Secaucus High School, to hit 2,000th points. Ulrich went into the game on Tuesday with 1,995 points. She sunk a 3-pointer early on in the game, as well as a free throw. However, her second 3-pointer of the night is what got her to not only 2,000, but 2,002. Ulrich scored 18 points for the night, and now has 2,013 career points. But, the season is not over quite yet. JSZ’s Madison Bess has the full story from Secaucus:
Hillside’s Brian Ugwu Commits to Rutgers
Hillside’s senior linebacker and running back, Brian Ugwu, officially made his decision and put the pen to paper on Wednesday afternoon. The 6-3, 228-pounder will attend Rutgers University next fall. Ugwu has had an accomplished high school career, leading his team to their first sectional title in 32 years. The multifaceted player received many offers from other Division I football programs such as University of Pittsburgh and Temple University. But, Ugwu decided to stay local and loyal to the team who has shown him love since the start of his recruitment process. JSZ’s Madison Bess was in Hillside for Ugwu’s special day:
Woodrow Wilson’s Stanley King Staying Home, Commits to Rutgers
Stanley King is ready to represent his home state at the next level. The 6-5, 175-pound wideout hailing from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden put pen to paper Wednesday morning and officially signed his National Letter of Intent with Rutgers University. King has left a legacy as one of the best playmakers in South Jersey history. He was named an Under Armour All-American this season and posted 148 receptions, 2,516 yards and 28 touchdowns over his high school career. Watch JSZ’s highlight reel from King’s senior season: No. 8 was the main offensive weapon on a Woodrow Wilson squad that scored 34 points per game, accrued a 9-4 record and won the South Jersey Group 3 sectional title in a 22-14 win over Burlington Township. King was one of 12 wide receivers selected to JSZ’s All-Zone statewide team, joining the likes of Charles Njoku (UCLA), Jaaron Hayek (Villanova), John Metchie (Alabama), Ayir Asante (Holy Cross) and fellow Rutgers commit John Guaimano. This play making WR is staying home! Welcome to the Brotherhood, @StanleyK_‼️ pic.twitter.com/m2yfH8MxDq— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) February 6, 2019 King selected Rutgers over Western Michigan, where his high school quarterback and JSZ Zoneman Finalist Nick Kargman is committed to. King was initially verbally committed to Louisville but decommitted just before his senior year started.
Bergen Catholic’s Tyler Devera Commits to Maryland
Tyler Devera emerged as New Jersey’s top tight end during his senior season and the Bergen Catholic product has officially made his college commitment. The 6-4, 225-pound Wayne native revealed he will continue his football career at Maryland. Devera made the official announcement via his Twitter account during Super Bowl LIII. C O M M I T T E D❗️…. LOCKS LESSONS🐢🐢#FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/Sh5Eoo8jpe— ₮Đ (@TylerDevera) February 3, 2019 Devera was the top receiving option in on an explosive Bergen Catholic offense that made it to the Non-Public Group 4 title game. Devera had a team-high 45 receptions for 613 yards and five touchdowns. Watch JSZ’s highlight reel of Tyler Devera’s senior season here: Tyler Devera was one of four tight ends named to JSZ’s 2018 All-Zone team, alongside Red Bank Catholic’s Kevin Bauman (Notre Dame), West Deptford’s Jason Collier (Pitt) and Hun’s Dylan Deveney (Georgia Tech). Devera whittled his Top 5 list down to Maryland, Colorado, Louisville, UMass and Rutgers, where he decommitted from prior to the 2018 season.
Wayne Hills’ Charles Njoku Commits to UCLA
The top remaining uncommitted wideout in New Jersey has made his college choice. Charles Njoku, the 6-4, 200 pound wide receiver from Wayne Hills High School, announced Friday night he will be attending UCLA. Appreciated the journey but my story isn’t finished yet. COMMITED…all glory to god pic.twitter.com/ATOl5Wqzx8— C.C ΝJΘΚU (@Charles_Njoku3) January 26, 2019 Njoku was arguably New Jersey’s most dominant wide receiver during the 2018 season. He hauled in 52 catches, 1,106 yards and a staggering 16 touchdown receptions. Watch JSZ’s highlight reel from Njoku’s senior season here: Njoku was the top weapon on a high-octane Wayne Hills team that went 11-2, scored 34.9 points per game, won the North 1 Group 4 sectional final and also captured the inaugural North Group 4 Bowl at MetLife Stadium. If his last name sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Older brother David Njoku played tight end at the University of Miami and was selected 29th overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2017 NFL Draft. His other brother, Evidence Njoku, is a redshirt freshman wide receiver currently enrolled at the University of Miami.
SJR’s Smith Vilbert Commits to Penn State
One of New Jersey’s top remaining uncommitted Class of 2019 prospects has a new home. Smith Vilbert, a senior defensive end for St. Joe’s (Mont.), announced Friday he will be signing his national letter of intent to play Division I football at Penn State University. Vilbert made the announcement via his personal Twitter account. Blessed to say that I am committed to Penn State University 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾#weare pic.twitter.com/gkQtelKWQO— Smithvilbert (@Smithvilbert2) January 18, 2019 Vilbert was a proverbial wrecking ball for the Green Knights during his senior season. In 2018, the 6-7, 251-pounder collected 43 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, had 11 quarterback hurries and notched nine sacks, second only behind Notre Dame commit Howard Cross III. Watch JSZ’s highlight reel of Vilbert’s senior season: Vilbert anchored a defensive line that wrecked havoc on passers all season long in one of the country’s toughest high school conferences. St. Joe’s (Mont.) finished at 10-2 this past year and won the Non-Public Group 4 state sectional title. The Green Knights shut-out reigning champions Bergen Catholic, 13-0. After coming onto the scene in his senior season, Vilbert racked up 19 major D-I offers, including programs like Oregon, Baylor, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Syracuse and Maryland. Vilbert joins All-American offensive lineman Caedan Wallce (Hun School, Princeton) and quarterback Taquan Roberson (DePaul Catholic, Wayne) as fellow Class of 2019 Penn State signees.
Bergen Catholic’s Robert Howard Commits to Penn State
Robert Howard is the real deal. The Bergen Catholic junior is on the heels of a 2017-2018 year where he collected some major hardware. And he how has one more accomplishment to tout. He announced yesterday on Twitter his decision to commit to the top-ranked collegiate wrestling program, Penn State, for legendary head coach Cael Sanderson. N I T T A N Y L I O N 🦁 #WeAre pic.twitter.com/1ZFlepqlc6 — Robert Howard (@Robbie__Howard) December 5, 2018 Howard is the No. 1 nationally-ranked wrestler at 126 pounds and the No. 3 ranked prospect in the Class of 2020, according to FloWrestling.com. Howard went 26-0 during his sophomore campaign, won his first state championship at 120 pounds and grabbed the gold medal at the Youth Olympics this summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Jersey Sports Zone was on hand last season as Howard helped Bergen Catholic topple Blair Academy to win The Who’s No. 1 Duals title and for his state title win in Atlantic City. Here are highlights of Howard from the 2017-2018 season: Sponsor Shoutout! Like seeing highlights of the nationally-ranked Bergen Catholic wrestling program? Thank Equinox Fitness. They’re the reason Jersey Sports Zone travels around the state to watch the Crusaders hit the mat.
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