TRENTON – There are usually not many surprises in the Mercer County Basketball Tournament for boys when it comes to the fact that the taller families are doing the job, but moving forward in this year’s event, there is a clear dark horse in the field.

Trenton is not a team that anyone wants to face.

The Tornado, seeded sixth, demonstrated this in the first round on Wednesday when they defeated Hopewell Valley at home gym with 11th seed 54-43.

“We know we can get through to the end,” said junior guard Antoine Bridget, who scored 15 points to score in the game. “No one could stop us. That’s how we feel. At the beginning of the season the chemistry was not so much. Now we have a lot of chemistry, we brought all the guys back and we know how to play. “

Trenton (13-8) would probably have been better had it not been for injuries and problems with COVID-19 earlier in the season. “Tornado” won six of the eight February games. They even led in the fourth quarter two weeks ago against Trenton Catholic, who is the No. 1 seed in the MCT.

After six changes in the game on Wednesday at the beginning of the second quarter, Trenton increased the pressure in defense and steadily retreated by as many as 19 points.

Bridget stole a pass near the middle of the court and went to the bench to make the score 18-13 five minutes before the first half. The playmaker then opened the third quarter with a three-point, three-point game (schedule plus a free throw) and another three-point to increase Trenton’s lead to 35-25.

“We know what we really could have done, so in the second half we showed more intensity, started putting pressure on the ball and attracting guys,” Bridget said. “It starts with me and Devontay (Hutson), so we had to raise the energy, and they followed.”

Hutson scored 10 points and forward Chris Wilson added eight, but it was Brazil Fields who scored seven points in the first half to keep Trenton behind by more than two possessions in the start.

“I’m always ready to get stronger if Antwan’s shot doesn’t fall, Davante’s shot doesn’t fall,” Fields said. “Someone needs to step up, and I’m glad I was the one who did it in the first quarter.”

Trenton also defeated Hopewell (10-13) Jan. 7, 49-41, with a strong fourth quarter. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs lingered for a while, playing cohesively on the half-court, but Trenton exhausted his visitors by forcing them to turn around and swinging the zone defenses like a pendulum, with gears around the perimeter.

Ryan Kuuskver of Hopewell, over 6 feet tall, found himself in a tough match with 14 points. But Trenton pinned the perimeter and limited Hopewell to four-pointers.

In the offensive “Tornado” wanted to stop dribbling, play at a better pace and look for more open strikes.

“Mentally we were ready, but physically we could have done better,” Bridget said. “I feel like we just underestimated them because we beat them last time, so we played slowly in the first half and in the second half we started pushing the ball and playing more in defense.”

Trenton’s depth and versatility at this stage of the season is what makes Tornado so deadly.

The entire starting lineup is juniors, so Trenton built on both the present and the future. The team could also be dangerous as seeded No. 7 in the upcoming Group IV tournament in Central Jersey.

“We always want to win now, but of course we’re always talking about what we’ll be like next year and how much better we’ll be chemically,” Fields said. “Next year we will be good.”

Now Trenton is 5-1 in the first round of MCT games under seventh-year coach Daryl Young.

Next – the quarterfinal game on Friday in Heathstown, which ranks third. On January 25, the Rams (13-8) beat Trenton by 14 points, but the Tornadoes are ready to show that they are now a different team.

“It’s going to be a good game,” Fields said. “We have the best matches (this time). It will be a difficult game. I am glad that we will get them again and get our rematch. “


Kuuskver 7-0-14, Brian O’Reilly 4-0-10, Brendan O’Reilly 4-0-8, Alice 1-1-3, Sullivan 2-0-6, Vasich 1-0-2. In total – 19-1-43.

Trenton (54)

Bailey 1-0-2, Hutson 5-0-10, Fields 3-0-7, A. Bridget 5-2-15, Moore 3-1-7, Korea 1-0-2, Wilson 4-0-8 , W. Bridget 1-0-3. In total – 23-3-54.

Hopewell (10-12) 11 11 5 16 – 43

Trenton (13-8) 10 16 17 11 – 54

3-point goals: Brian O’Reilly 2, Sullivan 2 (D), A. Bridget 3, W. Bridget, Fields (T).

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