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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Adam Silas jumped over the Colony’s many defenders on the lab during the final of the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Silas scored 37 points in the game to help the Trojans defeat the Colony 69-53. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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The St. Thomas Aquinas High School boys ’basketball team celebrates winning the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. St. Thomas Aquinas defeated the Colony 69-53. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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The St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball team celebrates winning the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. St. Thomas Aquinas defeated South Brunswick 64-58. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Leah Crosby in a match against South Brunswick during the final of the Grand Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Crosby scored 21 points in the competition. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Jessica Cooper rises above Carla Seyfart of South Brunswick on a bench during the final of the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Cooper scored 20 points in the competition. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball coach Bob Turk celebrates winning the Greater Middlesex Conference with his team after defeating Colonia 69-53 on February 25 in Monroe. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Samar Abdullah leads the ball down the baseline against the Colony during the final of the Grand Middlesex Conference tournament on February 25 in Monroe. St. Thomas Aquinas won 69-53. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Kyle Perez leads the ball on the court against South Brunswick during the final of the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Perez scored 12 points in the competition. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF


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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Adam Silas jumped over the Colony’s many defenders on the lab during the final of the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Silas scored 37 points in the game to help the Trojans defeat the Colony 69-53. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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The St. Thomas Aquinas High School boys ’basketball team celebrates winning the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. St. Thomas Aquinas defeated the Colony 69-53. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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The St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball team celebrates winning the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. St. Thomas Aquinas defeated South Brunswick 64-58. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Leah Crosby in a match against South Brunswick during the final of the Grand Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Crosby scored 21 points in the competition. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Jessica Cooper rises above Carla Seyfart of South Brunswick on a bench during the final of the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Cooper scored 20 points in the competition. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball coach Bob Turk celebrates winning the Greater Middlesex Conference with his team after defeating Colonia 69-53 on February 25 in Monroe. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Samar Abdullah leads the ball down the baseline against the Colony during the final of the Grand Middlesex Conference tournament on February 25 in Monroe. St. Thomas Aquinas won 69-53. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School basketball player Kyle Perez leads the ball on the court against South Brunswick during the final of the Greater Middlesex Conference on February 25 in Monroe. Perez scored 12 points in the competition. STEVEN BASIN / STAFF


For the second time in three years, the basketball landscape for boys and girls of the Great Middlesex was headed by St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Edison.

On February 25, during the finals of the conference tournament at Monroe High School, the Trojan nation ruled.

As in 2020, St. Thomas Aquinas basketball teams, both boys and girls, emerged as conference champions, securing behind the school a basketball center location on both sides of the GMC and in the state.

“We want to turn this school into a basketball school,” said basketball player Adam Silas for the boys of St. Thomas Aquinas. “Pretty soon I see this school becoming the New Jersey basketball powerhouse.”

Silas led the Trojans to their second crown in a three-year conference with a 69-53 victory over Colonia High School of Woodbridge, scoring 37 points and 11 rebounds in his double-double championship, earning him the MVP final.

The Star Power game helped St. Thomas Aquinas get out of hole 11-2 to start the competition.

Silas defeated the Trojans 23-6, scoring 18 points in the first half, which eventually led to St. Thomas Aquinas leading the way over Colonia 31-24.

“We knew it was going to be a race game,” Silas said. “We knew that (Colony) would run away. They ran first, so we knew when we ran that it had to be a lot better, and we did it. ”

Silas and the Trojans continued to go into the second half, increasing the lead to 49-33, entering the fourth quarter.

St. Thomas Aquinas reached his third conference championship in the fourth quarter, changing the pace of the game.

After Silas’s three-point game, Jalen Picharda Jr. realized his three-point sequence, as a result of which the “Trojans” increased the score 57-43 in just over four minutes of play.

Picharda jumped up to capture the rebound in the offensive from a missed hit by teammate Jaden Kelly and went with his right hand to knock out the schedule when he was fouled. The junior completed a three-point game on the free throw line, increasing St. Thomas Aquinas by 14 and finishing his evening with 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Kelly also finished in double digits as part of the “Trojans”, scoring 10 points in the victory over the “Colony”.

In four years under the leadership of Bob Turk, the Trojans have won many victories.

During his four years as head coach, Turko led St. Thomas Aquinas to a score of 79-18 and became a two-time GMC champion. Currently this season, St. Thomas Aquinas is 26-1.

The Trojans won their first GMC title since 1992 two years ago when they defeated South Brunswick in the conference finals.

Turka said it was interesting to end the drought and win the first championship in 2020, but believes the recent conference title means more to the program.

He believes that this shows the growth of the program over the past few years and, most importantly, how good his new group of players both as a team both on and off the field.

“This is the best team I have ever had,” Turko said after winning the final game. “These are people from Division I. They really love each other and care about each other. These kids come to practice every day and work out their tails. They absolutely showed everyone what they can do together. “

From the girlsSt. Thomas Aquinas earned three peat victories, defeating South Brunswick High School 64-58 in the GMC final.

In 2019 and 2020, St. Thomas Aquinas won against each other. The GMC tournament was not held last year due to a coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s special,” head coach Joe Whelan said after winning the GMC championship. “I am very happy for the girls. We hope to do it all the time. “

The duo on the front court of the “Trojans” consisting of junior Jessica Cooper and freshman Leah Crosby caused chaos in the paint the whole game.

Crosby scored 21 points and made 14 rebounds, while Cooper scored 20 points and scored seven boards. Crosby won the MVP final with her double-double performance in the championship.

“It’s so good,” Crosby said of the MVP title. “My teammates are so proud of me. My family is so proud of me. I am glad that they are all proud. “

Cooper scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Trojans restrain an attempt by the Vikings to return late.

St. Thomas Aquinas led South Brunswick 49-29 in the fourth quarter and watched the Vikings fight back to make the game with six points (60-54) 26.8 seconds before the game.

Cooper made two free-throw attempts to regain the lead of St. Thomas Aquinas to eight and helped the Trojans hold back to win their third straight championship in the conference.

“It was the biggest game of my life and I was ready to play,” Cooper said. “We knew what needed to be done to win. This is what we have all been preparing for. It’s really interesting for us. “

Senior Kayla Perez scored 12 points and from behind the arc from behind the arc killed the Trojans in the victory over South Brunswick.

St. Thomas Aquinas is now 21-3 in the season.

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