Barnegat Hoopsters Win, Face Camden in NJSIAA Semis
The Barnegat High School varsity boys basketball team overcame a sluggish start Wednesday night to top Lower Cape May, 50-43, in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.
The 18-10 Bengals, who were seeded fourth, move on to the semifinals at top-seeded Camden High School on Friday, March 3, 7 p.m.
Unlike Monday’s win over Cape May Tech, Barnegat struggled early and were down, 16-11, after the first quarter. The Bengals gave the home spectators some hope as they cut the deficit to 22-20 at halftime.
Barnegat took the lead for the first time in the third quarter when junior guard Mike Revello hit a layup to make it 27-26. Junior guard Carson Francisco drove the length of the court twice for layups to give the Bengals a 33-29 lead after three quarters.
Sophomore forward Sean Morris sparked the Bengals in the fourth quarter with layups off a steal and then from an inbound pass. Revello scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the final quarter, and his two free throws gave the Bengals their biggest lead of the night, 50-37.
“Our defense really tightened up,” said Revello. “We were able to create turnovers and that led to some breakaway baskets.”
Francisco scored 14 and Morris pitched in with 11. Lower Cape May (18-10) was led by junior guard Patrick Holden with 17.
“We played hard to the very end,” said head coach Mike Puorro. “We came out for the second half with more energy and pulled away with solid defense and good ball movement.”
Camden (21-6) advanced to the semis with a 74-39 win Wednesday over Collingswood. Camden is led by senior point guard John Evans, who averages 14.4 points and 5.9 assists per game and 6-7 senior forward Deaquan Williams, who averages 9.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.
“This is the first time the team has made it to the semifinals,” said Puorro. “Camden is going to be tough, but if we execute and do what we’re capable of doing, we have a chance.” —E.E.