Franklin Girls Basketball Stays Undefeated, Beats Long Island Lutheran at the Buzzer
It was an exciting night on the hardwood for the Franklin Warriors girls basketball team. Entering the day on Friday, the Warriors have yet to lose a game this season. Franklin’s Junior Guard, Kennady Schenck kept her team undefeated after hitting a three-point shot at the buzzer, lifting the Warriors to a 44-42 win over the Crusaders. Franklin’s 6’3 senior forward/guard and McDonald’s All-American, Diamond Miller led the Warriors with 15 points. The hero of the night, junior guard, Kennady Schenck finished the night with 11 points.
Career Milestones, Eye-Popping Statlines Up for Mid-February JSZ Game Balls
Game Ball Presentations
RBR’s Weidman wins JSZ Central Game Ball for big game against rival
Red Bank Regional scored a huge rivalry win against Rumson-Fair Haven last Saturday and Matt Weidman’s 23 point performance was a big reason for the Bucs first win over their rival in four years. Thanks to all the great fans of RBR who voted Matt to win this week’s JSZ Central Boys Game Ball. We paid a visit to Bucs practice for the presentation: Take Our Poll Thanks to everyone for voting. We will have 10 more great nominees from Central Jersey boys basketball up for nomination this Sunday for our final basketball Game Balls of 2019! Watch the highlights of RBR’s 50-47 upset of Rumson-Fair Haven that earned Matt his Game Ball: Thanks to Ryser’s Lanscape Supply in Little Silver for sponsoring Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of Red Bank Regional
Point Beach’s Carleigh Burns Wins JSZ Central Game Ball!
Point Pleasant Beach’s Carleigh Burns took home the Girls Central Jersey Game Ball for her performance during the game against Keyport last week. She scored 22 points, leading her team to a 67-52 victory. Burns averages 16 points per game, and has 752 career points! Congratulations, Carleigh!
Career Milestones, Eye-Popping Statlines Up for Mid-February JSZ Game Balls
It’s time to honor great performances from New Jersey high school basketball players with our JSZ Game Balls. We have polls for North, Central and South Jersey in both boys and girls categories. The polls are open now through Tuesday at 3:00 pm. We look forward to handing out 6 JSZ Game Balls every week and we’ll stop by mid-week practices or games to make a presentation. NJM Insurance South Jersey Game Ball Nominees Take Our Poll Take Our Poll Jersey Sports Zone is able to honor South Jersey athletes every week thanks to the support of NJM Insurance! JSZ North Jersey Game Ball Nominees Take Our Poll Take Our Poll JSZ Central Jersey Game Ball Nominees Take Our Poll Take Our Poll Coaches and fans – if you have a player that is worthy of nominating contact email@example.com by Saturday evening. Thanks to everyone who made a nomination this week!
Rachel Kuhl Wins JSZ Central Jersey Game Ball
Old Bridge High School’s Rachel Kuhl won the Central Jersey Girls Game Ball for her performance during the game against J.P. Stevens. Kuhl scored 34 points, leading her team to a 62-53 win. She averages 21.7 points per game, and has 1,207 career points as a junior. Check out her full ceremony online right now:
St. Mary (Ruth.) Takes Home Both North Jersey Game Balls
St. Mary’s Janea Kelty and Nick Boyd took home this week’s North Jersey Game Balls for their performances last week during their games against Becton High School. Kelty scored 31 points, leading her team to a 60-36 victory. They are 13-5 for the season, and will head to Weehawken tonight for an away game. Check out her full ceremony online right now: Boyd scored 41 points against Becton, leading his team to an 83-75 win. The boys team will take on Weehawken at home. They head into this game with a 9-9 overall record. Check out his full ceremony online right now:
Nottingham’s Brandon Raba Wins NJM South Jersey Game Ball!
Coming off a Group 3 State Title hasn’t been easy for Nottingham but Brandon Raba has stepped up to the challenge of being the North Star’s go-to playmaker. In their game against Bordentown, Raba dropped 33 points. The fans 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 where father and North Stars Head Coach, Chris Raba presented him with his award: Take Our Poll Sponsor! Thank you to NJM Insurance for sponsoring all of our South Jersey Game Ball presentations! Thank you to Princeton Orthopaedic Associates for sponsoring our Nottingham coverage! Have a question for Nery? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
Call Her Ms. 3,000: Michelle Sidor Reaches Landmark Milestone
Michelle Sidor has made 750 field goals, 395 three-pointers and 290 free throws in her three-and-a-half year career so far at Saddle River Day. Each of those buckets, plus the incalculable hours spent in the gym, culminated Tuesday night when Sidor became the fourth-ever girl in New Jersey history to score 3,000 career points. The dream became a reality after Sidor’s red-hot high school career start. She scored her 1,000th point as a sophomore, broke the 2,000 point barrier as a junior and eclipsed the all-time Bergen County scoring record just a few weeks back. Sidor joins St. Peter’s Kristen Somogyi (3,899), Wildwood’s Monica Johnson (3,173) and Belleville’s Jen Apicella (3,105) as the fourth girl in the 3,000 Point Club. And there’s plenty more on the horizon for the Michigan basketball commit. Sidor very well could end up the 2nd all-time scorer in state history — for both boys and girls — if Saddle River Day makes the postseason push its fans expect. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story from Saddle River:
A special senior night at SJV for the Karpell’s
Saint John Vianney girls basketball coach Dawn Karpell and senior guard Sarah Karpell haven’t been caught up in the mother-daughter dynamic of their basketball relationship. The Lancers have been too focused competing among New Jersey’s best teams over the past four years. But when SJV scored a convincing 82-27 win against Neptune on Senior Night, coach and player took a moment to acknowledge that it’s been a special time for mother and daughter over the past four years. Coach Karpell has guided numerous elite athletes to the world of college basketball and Sarah is adding to the Lancer legacy. Karpell has signed to play Division I basketball in the Atlantic 10 at Fordham, but first she’s looking to lead her team to one more championship season before closing out her high school career. With so much attention paid to big scoring during hoops season, Sarah has never scored more than 20 points in a game in her career, yet it’s the sum of her entire game that has earned her the respect of the state and earned her the opportunity to play at the next level. Watch JSZ’s feature on a special senior night in Holmdel: Sarah Karpell trained at Reach Your Potential Training in Tinton Falls since the 8th grade. Thanks to the support of RYPT, JSZ is able to shine the spotlight on the incredible athletes who train to get the extra edge!
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 Hill’s 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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