BORDENTOWN – Pound for pound, it would be hard for you to find a better high school basketball player in downtown New Jersey than Christian Naylor.
The junior has a slender height of 5 feet 9, but no team will be fooled when they see him in action.
In the fourth quarter, Naylor lost 23 points, including four threes and three free throws from the clutch to help North Burlington on Monday, 56-46, keep rival Bordentown to win on the road, which moves the Greyhounds (12-9). within one victory over the BCSL Patriotic Division title.
“He was a great addition,” head coach Gene Darling said. “He was our top scorer this year, keeping everyone honest in our game from the outside in. He’s just quick and sometimes works on resentment to get an open look. He has that amazing ability to create his own punch, which is kind of the difference between him and maybe some of the other players that we have. ”
After spending the first two years at Trenton Catholic, Naylor returned to the area where he attended school from the first grade.
The change of scenery has done wonders. In addition to an average of 15.8 points per game, he facilitates attack and is a deadly defense on the perimeter – as evidenced by two interceptions in the first quarter when North Burlington broke away with a score of 17-6.
“I love it. It’s my school,” Naylor said. “I have friends here. It’s cool to play with people I know. I’ve played a lot more freely and I like being able to play with my friends and move the ball.”
Asked if he expects to play such a big role in his first season with the Greyhounds, Naylor shrugged modestly.
“I just expected to do everything I needed to win and be a team player, involve my team and score if I needed to,” he said.
What Northern Burlington ultimately had to do on Monday was regroup at the break after his attack cooled in the second quarter, and Bordentown (3-17) rallied to tie the score on the 23rd with a barrage of transition baskets.
Darling expected Bordentown to fight back because Scotty is eager to win in high season. It was therefore important for his greyhounds to stay balanced and show his experience in the late game.
“I said during the break that I felt we were winning in most categories but putting the ball in the hoop. But that’s what the game is all about, ”Darling said. “I thought we had a lot of easy opportunities. Just sit down and watch the ball go, hit the square, simplify it a bit. But I thought we had a lot of good opportunities that just didn’t fall out of our way. So we just said, “Stay with the plan, don’t procrastinate and just look to make these simple and get to the foul line.”
Seniors Drew Weyers and Mark Broach finished together with 24 points and nine free throws. On the other hand, Northern Burlington’s internal defense kept Bordentown on just four free throw attempts in the game.
However, at the beginning of the third quarter, “Scotty” came out ahead with a score of 26-23, and then during this period, the team changed four more times ahead. Miles Hansford (15 points) went from corner 3 and brought Bordentown ahead 37-35 early in the fourth quarter.
Naylor’s triple in the first minute of the final period brought North Burlington forward forever, because after that, the “Greeks” limited the cattle to only nine points.
“(It was) mostly about not being selfish,” Naylor said of the team’s mood in the second half. “Find the best shot, move the ball. We got up, so we drove too fast. “
North Burlington have won seven of their last 11 games. The Greyhounds only need to win one of the last two games in the division (Holy Cross and Pennsauken) to win the title.
It is also expected that they will be seeded No. 6 in Group IV of Central Jersey and for the first time since 2018 will host a state tournament match.
Both were programmatic goals before the season. Darling knew the team had high potential with a combination of experience and fresh talent, but everyone remained cautiously optimistic about the current COVID-19 protocols.
One game “Greyhounds” was played without a starter for reasons of caution. The practice included strict protocols with masks and hand sanitizers, and players underwent a preliminary examination.
“It’s crazy,” said Darling, who is the longest-serving public school coach in the area (14 seasons). “Every night you just hope you don’t get an email or a phone call from someone that they’re sick. You have to really prepare everyone. You just don’t know who will have to act if the guy goes home sick. If you get that phone call, you’ll never know. “
The Charters know that all their goals remain before them, and the program is still in a good place these days.
“I’m very happy,” Naylor said. “We are trying to win the championship in the division and we will just keep playing.”
NORTH BERLINGTON (56)
Naylor 8-3-23, Gonzalez 2-3-7, Weyers 4-4-13, Broach 3-5-11, Musoke 1-0-2.
In total – 18-15-56.
DaCost 4-0-9, Hansford 7-0-15, Matthews 3-0-7, Martin 3-0-7, Harnum 3-1-8.
In total – 20-1-46.
No. Burlington (12-9) 17 6 12 21 – 56
Bordentown (3-17) 6 17 14 9 – 46
3-point goals: Naylor 4, Weyers (NB), DaCost, Hansford, Matthews, Martin, Harnum (B).