ROBINSVILLE – There is nothing more memorable in high school athletics in terms of achievement than creating a legacy on a team.
For the Robbinsville boys, the players are becoming pioneers as unprecedented success unfolds before their eyes.
Ravens, seeded second, in a defensive battle Saturday night in front of a crowded home crowd, 40-39, kept third seeded Brick Memorial to advance to the Group III Central Jersey Championship.
“In such big games there will be some excitement that I thought we had early. I thought in the third and early fourth quarters we got a little better in our game, but then the excitement came back, “said head coach Connor Hayes.” It’s just basketball in the playoffs. These kids are under a lot of pressure. They’re just trying to do everything is possible and I’m just glad we came out on top. “
Robinsville (20-7) is reaching the finals for the first time in the school’s history. The Ravens, who have won just one game in the state tournament so far, will now set off on Tuesday to meet Manasquan, who sat in first place (24-5), knocking out Ewing to number five in the second semi-final on Saturday. in the afternoon.
Senior Robbinsville is guaranteed to complete at least four wins in the states and the only two seasons with 20 wins ever made in Robbinsville.
Getting to 20 on Saturday was, of course, a daunting task. Brick (20-7) led 14-13 at the break and made life difficult for Robinsville, who attacked the pitch, killing paint and often doubling Brian Herbert’s senior wing.
“I just thought we were too selfish in the first half,” Hayes said. “We took pictures that we don’t usually do. We took about six 12-foot, and that’s not at all what we preach. I think a couple of guys watched when they got the ball to make things happen for them, not just stay up to date and play good team basketball. ”
Herbert, who was named CVC’s best player of the year by CVC coaches on Thursday, overcame the first half without points, scoring 12 points, including a huge three-pointer that made the score 32-29 with 5:11 left after Brick opened the match. third quarter with a series of 8-0 to equalize.
Herbert set the tone early in the third quarter with several sharp cuts and two interruptions through transport. Hayes said it also gave the team confidence at the break: knowing they had lost by just one point and Brick wouldn’t be able to keep Herbert throughout the game.
Herbert just wanted to stay patient during the crime. Junior Pat Cap dropped 10 points from the bench, sophomore Tyler Handy scored seven points, and sophomore Evan Banel also had 3 points in the first half.
“I just let the other guys unfold, and we have a lot of great guys who can take over,” Herbert said. “I don’t have to do everything. They are stepping up, and they did well today. ”
Kappa’s buckets were especially critical because his two threes were Robinsville’s only violation in the first quarter and kept the Ravens afloat if the game could get out of control early.
“It all started,” Herbert said. “He created a vortex for the whole team and it went on.”
Final: Robinsville 40, Brick Memorial 39.
Brian Herbert with 12 points, Pat Cap with 10.
The Ravens (20-7) are heading to their first-ever sectional final. The title game of CJ Group 3 is Tuesday in Manasquan. pic.twitter.com/Q1vC4KJVc7
– Greg Johnson (@gregp_j) March 6, 2022
Brick, who scored 12 points from Luke Braaten, rallied and scored 38-40 in the last minute. With 5.1 seconds left, Brick made 1 of 2 free throws and then Robinsville cemented his landmark victory by fighting for the free ball in the next pass at the entrance at the end of time.
Protem Nadyg, Robbinsville’s senior, 6-foot-5, did a good 6-foot-7 defensive work on Brateen until Brateen made his mark at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs were a little out of the game when they scored a three-pointer in the last 30 seconds and ended up with a zero throw from behind the arc against Robinsville’s stingy defense. But Hayes blamed Brick coach Mike Pelka for planning a difficult chess match on the court.
“He just gets the most out of his guys, his guys are very disciplined. I think they are very similar to us, ”Hayes said. “We are mirror images: we want to take care of the ball, we want to play in a good defense, we try to dominate the paint. So it was like playing in a mirror image of ourselves. ”
Tested in battle Crows were prepared for this point. They challenged themselves and learned lessons throughout the season with games outside of conferences against Marlboro, Trenton Catholic, St. Thomas Aquinas, Linden and Colony.
Now come the fruits of their labor. After upset in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament, Robinsville regrouped and remained focused on the grand prize: the state tournament.
“I watched today: 22 of the 26 teams we played with were in the state playoffs, and I think five of them are now in the finals of their section – and eventually there will be seven because TCA and St. Thomas Aquinas “These are the other two,” Hayes said. when we played outside the conference, it helps in situations like that. ”
With another victory, the Ravens will be able to hang a banner unlike any other that adorned the walls at 155 Robbinsville Edinburg Road.
But no matter what, this team and these seniors will forever be remembered for changing the way people think about basketball in Robinsville.
“It’s fun, it’s great,” Herbert said. “I can spend time with all these great guys who are always working hard and pushing each other to get better.”
Brick MATERIAL (39)
Starret 5-0-10, Brateen 4-5-13, Michigan 2-4-8, Alston 3-2-8. In total – 14-12-39.
Cap 4-0-10, Banel 1-0-3, Nadig 1-2-4, Herbert 4-3-12, Handy 3-0-7, Billings 2-0-4. In total – 15-5-40.
Brick Memorial (20-7) 6 8 7 18 – 39
Robinsville (20-7) 6 7 16 11 – 40
3-point goals: Cap 2, Banel, Herbert, Handy (right).