MONRO – The sting of losing in the Mercer County Championship has left a dangerously sour taste in the mouths of the Trenton basketball team.
So far this has been bad news for the rest of Group IV Central Jersey.
Trenton, seeded seventh, took to the road on Wednesday night and upset Monroe under second seed 65-59, trailing Antoine Bridget and 16 behind Davante Hutson to reach the semi-finals of the section.
“After we played at Trenton Catholic, it hurt us a lot, so after that game we played with each other,” Bridget said of Trenton’s loss at CURE Insurance Arena last Thursday. “We played against each other in practice, we went hard. So in the next teams we will play with, we will fight even harder. “
Trenton (18-9), as it turned out on Wednesday, is better than your regular number 7, and outperforms most of the Monroe competition (22-5) he faced this season at the Greater Middlesex conference.
After a slow start, “Tornado” closed the last three minutes of the first half with a series of 15-2 and took the lead with a score of 32-24 at the break. They then came out of the locker room and played man-to-man defense throughout the second half to lead 53-33 with 6:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“I think they thought we would come out like the other teams they played with, but we’re not other teams,” Hutson said. “We are really proud of our protection and everyone else.”
The only downside for Trenton was that he made just 6 of 19 free throws that helped Monroe get back into the game later.
But the tornadoes were too determined and physical to restrain them. Hutson fought through a foul under the basket to sink the bench, leaving 1:43 to make the score 60-53. He also made free throws from the clutch in 54.3 seconds on the clock to increase the lead to eight.
“We also needed to get used to the crowd,” Bridget said. “It was loud in this gym, so we didn’t even hear it. We hear us talking, my teammates didn’t hear me. So when we shot on the foul line, it really pissed off my teammates, myself, because we weren’t used to it. ”
It gave a good experience for the junior squad that reached the semifinals on Friday at the third-seeded Jackson Memorial, which knocked out the quarterfinals of Northern Burlington, which went with the sixth number.
Trenton also wants to clear up his tendency for fugitives to start games. This went on against the Monroe team, which scored three 3-pointers in the first quarter and led for most of the 13 minutes before Trenton started an energetic session at the end of the second quarter.
The Falcons are represented by senior trio John Okocha, Josh Okocha and Eli Okocha, who together scored 49 points.
“We all needed to put our team together and talk to each other:‘ This is our last game, the last game of the whole season for the seniors, ’” Bridget said. “We had to make sure we had everything on the floor, especially the triplets.”
Trenton spent Tuesday watching a film about Monroe’s paymakers, so the “Tornadoes” were not caught unawares, but still had to feel in the difficult environment of a unique opponent.
Hutson said he scored in defense of Josh Okocha, who scored eight of his 16 points on the foul line.
“We tried to get out and get them to play at our pace of the game because we know they can’t run with us,” Hutson said. “They don’t play the way we play, they don’t work the way we work.”
Chris Wilson, Trenton’s chief spokesman for the interior, helped down with some key blocks and added 13 points to the win.
Meanwhile, Bridget continued her breakthrough year as a quarterback with four huge three-pointers. The junior played more freely after the return of extra guard Calvin Moore (five points) after an injury last month.
“When I break away from the ball a lot and he dribbles, it gives me a break. If I continue dribbling, it tires me out, so I’m glad he’s back, “said Bridget.” If he has the ball, he can easily find it because I could play on the flank. If he’s behind the wheel – because very loves to ride – he sees me on the wing all the time. So as a swordsman, he knows how to discover other people. “
With such a big trend in Trent-tested fights, this group hopes to replicate what the 2017-18 team did, and win the entire net as the seventh seed.
The program is in the semifinals for the third time in the last four tournaments under coach Daryl Young.
“It doesn’t matter (who we play),” Hutson said. “As long as we play our game, I feel like we’re fine.”
Bridget 8-1-21, Hutson 7-2-16, Wilson 5-1-13, Williams 3-1-8, Fields 1-0-2, Moore 2-1-5. In total – 26-6-65.
John Okocha 6-2-17, Josh Okocha 4-8-16, Eli Okocha 6-2-16, Zurovetsky 2-0-4, Pair 2-0-6. In total – 20-12-59.
Trenton (18-9) 12 20 17 16 – 65
Munro (22-5) 13 11 7 28 – 59
3-point goals: Bridget 4, Wilson 2, Williams (T), John Okocha 3, Eli Okocha 2, Pair 2 (M).