South Brunswick has fun in its win over WW-PS

By: Redd E. Patrick
   Despite taking a 2-1 record into the consolation round of the Vaughn Stapleton Tournament in Bridgewater on Monday vs. West Windsor-Plainsboro South, the South Brunswick High School boys basketball team had to battle with everything it had just to get to that point.
   There was an opening-night victory against Edison which came on a buzzer-beater. There was a victory over John F. Kennedy in which the Vikings had to fight off a seven-point deficit in the final five minutes. Then there was a 42-31 loss to Immaculata in the opening round of the Stapleton Holiday tourney on Saturday.
   On Monday, coach Dave Turco decided to have a little fun.
   "We got out to a 30-15 lead, so we were able to get a lot of kids in, we had some fun," Turco said. "A freshman — Joe Clancy — got some time and some sophomores too – Mike Zwiren, Nick Fazio and John Perry-Okonny. Of our 14 players, 13 scored."
   West Windsor-Plainsboro South battled back and made it a game, cutting South Brunswick’s lead to 32-22 at the half and 42-35 after three quarters, but the athletic Vikings had enough firepower to run their record to 3-1 with a 56-48 victory.
   "We played well," Turco said. "And the best part was being able to get some young kids some good varsity experience in a meaningful game. That can only help us, especially when we get back to the nightly wars of the Red Division."
   Cliff Breese, the team’s 6-4 senior and leading scorer, paved the way for the balanced Vikings with 12 points and seven rebounds. Center Dan Stonkus scored just five points, but he was factor defensively as he blocked eight shots. Mike Sexton had a big game with seven points and four steals.
   In the early going, Turco has been pleased with his team’s efforts, but noted the shooting percentage must improve.
   "On opening night, we were 10-for-54 shooting, then 21-for-50 the next game," Turco said. "Against Immaculata, we shot 13-for-50. We were ahead 12-7 in the first 10 minutes of the game. But it’s tough when you hold a good team to seven points in the first 10 minutes with good defense and you look up and you’re only up five. That really hurt us. And against West Windsor, we were 23-for-59. We must improve in that area."
   South Brunswick took on Union in another consolation game of the Stapleton event on Tuesday (after early holiday deadlines). After that, it’s on to three dates with quality Red Division opponents Old Bridge, Piscataway and St. Joseph.
   "That stretch is going to determine a lot about our team," Turco said. "After that stretch, we’ll find out where we stand."
   REDD ENDS: Union’s top assistant coach, Anthony Ziobro, was a former teammate of Turco when the two played at Carteret in the 1980’s … Vaughn Stapleton was a legendary coach in the Bridgewater school system who passed away many years ago.