New Egypt boys fall in NJSIAA playoffs

Hoops team finishes season with 13-14 record

BY MIKE WHITE Staff Writer

After struggling through a season of ups and downs, highlighted by inconsistent play, New Egypt High School boys basketball coach Jay Corby was optimistic about his team’s chances as it geared up for the NJSIAA Group I state tournament.

After all, the Warriors had shown improvement down the stretch of the regular season, and Corby was hoping to ride that wave of momentum into the opening round of the states. And for most of the game against Clayton High School last week, the Warriors got the better of the play.

Unfortunately, in the final few minutes of play, Clayton upped its defense pressure and rallied for 52-46 come-frombehind victory to end the Warriors’ season.

“I thought that we played really well for most of the game,” Corby said. “I give Clayton a lot of credit. They made some defensive adjustments in the fourth period and took advantage of a few mistakes. In a game of this nature, turnovers down the stretch will come back to hurt you. That’s what happened here.”

New Egypt led for most of the game, taking a 12-6 lead after one period and building a 26-22 lead by half. At the end of the third period, theWarriors increased its lead to 38-29 before Clayton made defensive adjustments in the final eight minutes that proved effective.

“We were consistent and steady for the first three periods and for a few minutes into the fourth,” Corby said. “Then we made a few mistakes and the momentum swung in their favor. Once we lost the momentum, we never got it back.”

Junior center Kevin Janowski, who scored a team-high 18 points, got into foul trouble in the forth quarter.With five minutes remaining, Janowski picked up his fourth foul and was sent to the bench.

Clayton seniorA.J. Sanders picked up his play in the fourth period and finishedwith a game-high 27 points. Sanders scored 14 points in the final eight minutes, which included a three-point play that cut New Egypt’s lead to one late in the game.

“That kid did not want his season to end,” Corby said. “He did a job on us in the fourth quarter.”

New Egypt’s Dylan Rowley did an excellent job of holding Sanders down for three quarters, Corby said. But the savvy senior didn’t get frustrated and managed to take the game over during the final eight minutes.

“We knew containing him was key,” Corby said. “Dylan did a nice job on him. But the kid is a great player and he found a way to get it done down the stretch.”

New Egypt freshmanDesmondHubert recorded the first triple-double in school history. The 6-foot-8 Hubert finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

“He had a great game for us,” Corby said. “Both of our big guys were terrific. They did everything we could have asked of them.”

In addition to a fine defensive effort, Rowley chipped in with six points. Mike Fassl scored only two points, but he contributed at the defensive end with seven rebounds.

New Egypt finished the season with an overall mark of 13-14. Still, Corby focused on the highlights of a disappointing season. The Warriors recorded victories over both Riverside and Burlington City- two teams that that had given the Warriors nightmares in past years – and defeated a sound Keyport team in the finals of their annual Christmas tournament.

“We did some good things this season,” Corby said. “Sure there were a few disappointments along the way, but this group has the potential to turn things around next season.”