Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

State Basketball Previews: 10 Things to Look for in Boys Tournament

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

State Basketball Previews: 10 Things to Look for in Boys Tournament

Article excerpt

The road to the Tournament of Champions begins today with the first round of the North Jersey sectional tournament. Here are 10 things to look for:

1. Bergen blitz: Bergen County has owned North 1, Group 1 the past several years and 12 of the 16 teams in this bracket call it home. Will it continue? Top-seeded Cedar Grove likely has to knock off four Bergen teams in a row to give Essex County the crown. No. 4 Wood-Ridge is a likely semifinal foe. The other semifinal should be defending champ/No. 3 Cresskill at No. 2 Waldwick.

2. Blue Devils' drive: How far can North Jersey's all-time scoring duo, seniors Mike Gibney and Gary Whritenour, take No. 4 Wood-Ridge in North 1, Group 1? Gibney is 10th all time in Bergen County in scoring with 2,141 points, and Whritenour has 1,930. The fast-paced Blue Devils, 2011 sectional champs, open Tuesday at home against No. 13 Saddle Brook, which they soundly defeated twice this season.

3. Cowboy encore: Pascack Hills was the lone local last season to reach a state final. Can the Cowboys make another run in Group 2? They're seeded No. 2 in North 1, Group 2. The health of senior G Brian Horn, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, is pivotal to Pascack Valley advancing deep in its bracket.

4. Eastside's recovery: The Ghosts don't have time to get over their stunning, overtime loss to DePaul in the Passaic final Saturday. Coach Juan Griles has reminded them that two years ago, the Ghosts responded to a loss to crosstown rival Kennedy in the county final by winning Group 4 and reaching the Tournament of Champions for the first time in school history.

5. Hackensack's quest: The Comets couldn't conquer Teaneck in the Bergen Jamboree final, but junior G Rashard Figures and senior G Chris Myers lead a team that is more than talented and deep enough to win the North 1, Group 4 title. Top-seeded Hackensack could meet second-seeded Eastside in what would be the most intriguing sectional final among teams from North Jersey. …

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