New Egypt boys also on state playoff bubble

BY MIKE WHITE Staff Writer

Staff Writer

PLUMSTED – The New Egypt High School boys basketball team finds itself in a fight to keep its state playoff hopes alive.

With an overall record of 9-8, which included a 58-33 victory over Maple Shade High School last week, the Warriors need to win one of the next three games this week in order to qualify for the NJSIAA Group I state playoffs for the second consecutive year. Teams must have a .500 record by the cutoff date this Saturday

“This is a big week for us,” New Egypt coach Jay Corby said. “We talked about qualifying for the states at the start of the season. We have our fate in our hands. If we go out and play the way we are capable, we should be all right. We need to take care of the ball and play smart basketball.”

New Egypt squared off against South Amboy Monday and is scheduled to meet Burlington City and Holy Cross later in the week.

“It should be an interesting week,” Corby said. “We’ve had an up and down year. We have looked very good in spots and at other times we’ve struggled. Hopefully this week we can remain focused and motivated to attain this goal.”

In the win over Maple Shade, the Warriors used a balance scoring attack as three players notched double-digits. Steve Dey and Stephen Panasuk led New Egypt with 11 points apiece.

“It’s nice when we get a lot of guys involved at the offensive end,” Corby said. “We made the extra pass and found the open man. We need to do more of that in general. At times, we’ll come down and put up a shot too quickly. We need to show more patience.”

Dey proved his sharp-shooting skills from the perimeter by draining a pair of 3-pointers.

“He had a nice game for us,” Corby said. “He really shot the ball well from the outside.”

Panasuk got it done at both ends of the floor. In addition to his 11 points, he grabbed seven rebounds to help New Egypt in its dominance of the glass. Teammate Josh Howard had a team-high 11 caroms to go along with eight points.

Corby cited rebounding as a key to this year’s success.

“We have done a very good job on the glass for most of the season,” he said. “If we rebound the ball well at our end, we cut down on second shot attempts, and that is huge. The more we can limit scoring opportunities for our opponent the better.”

Dakota Havens netted 10 points and lead-guard Davion Clanton dished eight assists as New Egypt won its ninth game of the year.

The return of Dylan Rowley to the lineup should increase New Egypt’s chances of earning a playoff bid. Rowley, who suffered a back injury, is expected to come back this week. Corby isn’t quite sure how many minutes Rowley can give the Warriors.

“Just his attitude and energy is good for our team,” Corby said. “He is the guy taking the charges and diving on the floor for the ball. He leads by example. Having him back is a big plus.”