SOUTH AMBOY — Less than 18 hours after opening the season with a 33-point triumph over Carteret, Spotswood took the floor again Saturday in the first game of the 11th annual Friends of South Amboy Charity Tournament against the host school.
As tempting as it was to snooze the alarm, the Chargers showed up ready to play.
Spotswood scored the game’s first 11 points and never led by less than seven after that to cruise to an 80-47 victory over South Amboy.
Kaye Walker led the Chargers with 18 points and Rion Ametage added 15 as Spotswood put on a clinical display of pressure defense and a team-oriented, unselfish offense.
“I think it was more difficult than I expected,” Spotswood coach Steve Matte said. “I thought we gave a tremendous effort against Carteret yesterday. Make no excuses, I want my kids to get out and play as much as possible, no matter the time of day. We did what we had to do to win.”
Spotswood (2-0) assisted on five of its first nine baskets, three were on the defensive end and the other was a rebound off a steal.
“I’m a big offense guy,” Mayte explained. “Everybody gets touches. Nobody passes, one shot. If we need 10 gears to make the best shot, we will. We don’t have a 20-point scorer, but we have a lot of guys who can score in their teens.”
Ametrai scored five points and Walker added four in the opening streak. After the Governors made it 25-16 two minutes into the second quarter, Walker contributed six points in another 11-point run that extended the lead to 20 points.
South Amboy (0-2), which opened the season with a three-point loss to East Brunswick Tech the night before, is playing without Brandon Gasiewski, its leading returning scorer, who is out with a torn ACL.
Gavin Pelkey picked up the slack with a game-high 20 points for the Governors, while Jake Eberly added 15. But South Amboy struggled to contain Spotswood, either in the half court or in transition, and committed 23 turnovers against the Chargers’ onslaught.
“We felt a little bit of pressure,” Mate said, “but our strength is our back-to-back defense.”
The Chargers got a promising effort from freshman Albion Amitraj, who scored eight of his 10 points and grabbed six rebounds (five offensive) in the second quarter alone.
“I’m excited about this group,” Matte said. “We are young. We have a couple of seniors, but we’re mostly an underclassman team.”
Next on the dance card for Spotswood is Monday’s Blue Division clash against South River at home.
“That’s what the kids want,” Matte said. “We never talked about South River because if I did, it would be a difficult situation. Everything was focused here, now we are ready to play River.”
Needless to say, no wake-up calls will be needed for this showdown.
Leaderboards: Rating: (S) Walker 18; (SA) Pelki 20. Selections: (S) Walker 10; (SA) Eberle 7.
Sayreville 67, Cavaliers Christian 64: The Bombers trailed for most of the contest, but ended the game on an 8-2 run to secure the victory. Freshman Sam Jones scored five of the last eight points to lead Sayreville (1-1) with 18 points. Keith Shuler scored 17 points and Chidi Chukwura, the Bombers’ other freshman, added 15. Calvary Christian (0-2) took a 44-30 halftime advantage behind 19 of Tim Cranga’s game-high 29 points to extend its lead to 48 -30 early third quarter before Sayreville gradually clawed its way back into the contest. The Cavaliers’ Kyle Durkin put up an unusual stat with 16 rebounds without a shot.
Leaderboards: Rating: (CC) Crane 29; (S) Jones 18. Selections: (CC) Durkin 16; (S) Jones, Chukwura 7.
St. Joseph (Met.) 80, St. Joseph by the Sea (SI) 46: The Falcons (2-0) led 21-4 after opening the quarter, limited the visitors to one FG on 10 shots, and never relinquished control of the contest. Josh Ingram once again led the way with another terrific all-around performance with 19 points and eight boards for Metuchen High. All five Falcon starters scored at least nine points, with Jeremy Clayville and Anthony Williams each scoring 17 and Owen Griffin adding 10. Staten Island High’s Christian Greeley scored a game-high 34 points.
Leaderboards: Rating: (SJBS): Greeley 34; (SJM): Ingram 19; Selections: (SJBS) Graziano 7; (SJM) Ingram, Williams 8.
Thomas Aquinas 66, oratory 34: St. Thomas (2-0) jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but the Oratory made it 10-all and kept things interesting in the second half. The Rams got within five at 32-27 early in the third quarter before St. Thomas scored 15 unanswered points to put the game away for good. Jalen Pichardo scored five points during that streak and led the Trojans’ balanced attack with 15 points. Michael Jones (13), Terrelle Pitts (12) and Kamal Lee (10) joined him in double figures. It will be a quick turnaround for St. Thomas, who will take on Newark East Side Sunday night at Weequahic High School at 7:30 in the final game of a six-game exhibition series pitting Newark Public Schools against outside rivals.
Leaderboards: Rating: (STA) Pichard 15; (O) Jones 16; Selections: (STA) Pichard 7; (O) Jones 6.