TRENTON – Make a penalty nine for the youth basketball program of the Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy.
In what could have become a competitive Mercer County Championship game between the two main rivals, the Iron T-shirts cemented their status as contenders for the state title by defeating Trenton Central, 72-57, on Thursday night, and capturing the school’s record ninth county title.
Jamil Morris lost 26 points, eclipsing 1,000 in his career, while tournament MVP Michael Jones added 20 points to the Trent-Catholics (19-4) in the bright fire of the CURE Insurance Arena.
“For me, it was very important because I know it’s my senior year, and it’s probably the last time I’ll be in this gym, so I just wanted to put on a show for the crowd,” Morris said. . “I like this stage, I won’t lie. I definitely like the atmosphere, I love the fans, I like everything in this gym. It was definitely a great first experience here. ”
Morris played his first two seasons at Burlington City and missed last year because the MCT was canceled during the pandemic. But he couldn’t work out a better way to achieve his mark.
With 12 seconds left until the third quarter, the 6-foot-2 guard dribbled to his left and pulled up for the jumper from inside the 3-point arc to get his 1000th point. This gave Trenton Catholic the biggest lead of the night with a score of 62-31 when the whole team rushed to the court to celebrate with Maurice.
“They really told me,‘ You got four more points, ’and I say,‘ Oh, already four? Shish, I’m about to achieve this, “Morris joked afterwards.
In stark contrast to the team’s first bout, when Trenton Catholic had to go through 18 shifts to win at Trenton on Feb. 3, the “Iron T-shirts” led the entire game and essentially controlled the last two and a half quarters.
Trenton, seeded sixth (16-9), had hoped to complete his impressive tournament series with the school’s first title since 2008, but initially faced a breach and lost significantly to a battle with turnover.
After leading 19-17 six minutes before the end of the second quarter, Trenton Catholic went 9-2 over the next two minutes. The Iron Mics led with a score of 10 at the break and opened the third quarter with a series of 23-2 thanks to a large number of interceptions.
“We knew we had them when we could say they couldn’t run away with us,” Morris said. “We just visualized them, making sure they didn’t get their open threes. As soon as we saw that they were tired, we just wanted to run, run, run. “
It became Trenton’s third title in a row and fourth in the last five tournaments with three different coaches: Fred Falci, Eric Elliott and now Mark Bass.
“Coming out of the bench, he said,‘ They don’t kill anymore, ’so we had to try to stop,” Jones recalled of Bass’s instructions in the third quarter. “They started doing it, but as soon as he yelled at us, we just fixed it and won.”
To avoid passing the ball to the Trenton team, which they also like, Jones said the Iron Mike is focused on playing at his own pace and is in no hurry for every possession.
Jones set the tone in the third quarter by intercepting a pass at the top of the key and driving all the way on a fastbreak to stop plus a foul. Two minutes later he scored a three-pointer to increase the lead to 18. The defeat continued.
“They were definitely annoyed because we went up at least 30,” Jones said, “so they thought the game was over, and we still thought“ if they don’t kill, ”and played like that, as if this is the first quarter. “
Playing Antvan Bridget made a terrible attempt for Trenton, scoring 29 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. Calvin Moore finished with three three-pointers and 14 points, but with the exception of these two, “Tornado” had little production.
Trenton will have to regroup for the state tournament as he is due to host the first round game against Manalapan at number 7 in Group IV of Central Jersey on Monday.
Meanwhile, Trenton Catholic is taking a 10-win streak in the non-public B South Tournament.
Next Friday in the quarterfinals, the Iron Mines are the first seed in parentheses. They have a legitimate chance to win their first title in the section after the national team at the 2010 state championships.
“I feel like we really have to blow up any team we play for until we get where we need to go,” Morris said.
Hutson 2-2-7, Moore 4-3-14, Bridget 9-6-29, Williams 1-0-2, Wilson 2-0-5. In total – 19-9-57.
Trent Catholic (72)
Oliver Bush 3-0-7, Jones 7-5-20, Morris 12-1-26, Maxi 1-1-3, Stewart Betty 2-2-6, Keys 2-2-7, Wright Miles 2 -0-4. In total – 29-11-72.
Trenton (16-9) 12 15 7 23 – 57
Trent Catholic (19-4) 15 22 25 10 – 72
3-point goals: Bridget 5, Moore 3, Hutson, Williams (T), Oliver Bush, Jones, Morris, Keys. (TC).