Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Getting Down to Nitty-Gritty

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Getting Down to Nitty-Gritty

Article excerpt

TENAFLY - Time is running down on the Cresskill seniors, so they savored every second Sunday.

Displaying balance and unselfishness, the 10th-seeded Cougars clocked seventh-seeded Hackensack, 65-52, in the Bergen Jamboree to advance to the quarterfinals next weekend at Ramapo College.

Of the eight teams remaining, Cresskill may be the lowest seed and therefore worthy of the Cinderella story line, but the Cougars don't really fit the slipper. Coach Mike Doto's team is 17-1, which is the best record in Bergen County, and has players who thrive in their roles.

"We have been talking about the county and the states since the beginning of the season," said Doto. "For years these guys have been talking about it and telling me how great they are. I told them: Now is the time to put up or shut up."

Time is also the Cougars' motto for this season. The Cresskill T- shirts all say "TIC TOC" on the back. It's a reminder of the dwindling days for the senior class and ultimate goal. Cresskill assistant coach Andrew Badurina came up with it.

"This is our seniors' last chance to play together," said Doto. "It's their last year to win a state title, and we are spelling it T- O-C ... you guys can guess what that means. That's our ultimate goal: We want to get to Rutgers and win the Group 1 state championship [and qualify for the Tournament of Champions]. Now we are just going to ride this until the end of the season."

Cresskill rode the sweet shooting of senior Matt Flood (a game- high 27 points) and Sean Kelly (24) against the Comets. Flood drilled a buzzer-beating three at the end of the first quarter to trim the Comets' lead to 14-12, then he sent the Cougar fans into hysterics when he did it again at the end of the half to give Cresskill a 27-20 edge.

"I have had buzzer beaters, but not twice," said Flood with a smile.

"That felt great. The first one especially, because we were down and I know that it helped my team."

Hackensack made a run in the third quarter, turning up the defensive pressure and pulling to within 41-37, but the Cougars were resilient, staying relaxed and answering with an 11-5 run before pulling away down the stretch. …

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