Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hard-Court Kings

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hard-Court Kings

Article excerpt

MAHWAH - Make that a record 11 titles for Teaneck in the 57-year history of the Bergen Jamboree.

Make that three consecutive championships for the Highwaymen.

And "The Castle on the Hill" could become the first to four- peat.

"We're on the job," a smiling coach Jerome Smart said after Teaneck defeated archrival Hackensack, 70-55, Thursday night in the final at Ramapo College's Bradley Center.

Top-seeded Teaneck led from start to finish against its next- door neighbor, with senior guard and Division I recruit Joel Hernandez leading the charge with a game-high 28 points.

Teaneck is the third team to win three consecutive Jamboree titles, joining Hackensack (1952-54) and Don Bosco (2006-08). Smart, in his third season guiding the Highwayman, is the only coach to win his first 12 Jamboree games.

Teaneck (23-3) outplayed No. 2 Hackensack (23-4) in almost every phase of the game and shot considerably better from the field. While the Highwayman shot an impressive 54 percent (24-for-45), the Comets shot a subpar 34 percent (18-for-53).

"I think our guys played hard, we just didn't play well," Hackensack coach Aaron Taylor said. "When you play Teaneck, you have to play your best basketball, and we weren't even close to it."

Teaneck gained command in the second quarter with a smothering defense that limited Hackensack to just two points in 15 possessions. All the Comets could manage in the second quarter was a pair of free throws by senior point guard Chris Myers (six points). The Highwaymen's man-to-man forced the Comets into committing six turnovers in the period.

"We just had to keep playing defense and playing aggressive," said senior point guard Shaakir Lindsey, who had 13 points and five assists. "If we hadn't played aggressive, they probably would have come back with a lead. So we had to play aggressive and tough it out. …

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