HOME OF BOUND BROOK CRUSADERS BASKETBALL
Big News For the Brook:
Evian Brown Commits to Ramapo College (Basketball)
Noah Smith Commits to The College of St. Elizabeth's (Basketball)
Tyson Amaker Commits to Kean University (FB)
Bound Brook Falls in Final
Star Ledger and Courier News Stories:
BOUND BROOK — Samad Landrum wanted a shot at redemption.
With under two minutes left in the Central Jersey, Group 1 final and hanging onto a four-point lead, the Burlington City senior missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Blue Devils grabbed the offensive rebound and tried to manuever in the paint to get the second chance points.
The ball was ultimately passed out to the right corner to Jeremy Young. Landrum ran to the right-center of the three-point line, yelling "One more! One more!." Young obliged, hitting his teammate just as he arrived at the spot as Landrum rose for the 3-pointer.
"I didn't get a good look all day," Landrum said. "So when I saw that opening, it was time to shine. Jeremy gave me that nice pass and I hit the shot. I wanted it bad. I felt as though the game depended on it so to hit that shot, I think it squashed their momentum a bit."
That shot proved to be the difference for the Blue Devils, who clinched the section title for the first time since 2007 with a 61-54 victory over Bound Brook Monday night.
"I'm a senior so to go out with a bang like this, it means so much," Landrum said. "I love these guys and they helped us reach this goal."
Evian Brown led four Bound Brook players with double-digits as the senior collected 17 points. A total of 10 of those points came in the first half as Tyson Amaker and Kyle Frauenheim shouldered the second-half scoring load with 12 points apiece. Amaker posted 11 points in the second half while Frauenheim hit three of his game-high four 3-pointers in the final 16 minutes.
Noah Smith also tallied double-digit points with 11 as Amaker grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and Brown dished out six assists.
Neither team would hold an edge over the other through the first 16 minutes. It took just over a minute and a half for the first basket to fall, a Thurmond and-one, with the largest lead in the first half being three points, once for Bound Brook and twice for Burlington City.
Burlington City went into the half with a one-point lead but needed a way to create separation. The Blue Devils did so by driving to the basket and kicking out for the open shot.
The adjustments finally paid off with Burlington City going on a 13-5 run to end the third quarter that put the Blue Devils up by nine points.
"They are terrific at stopping your sets and they scout tremendously," Burlington City coach Paul Collins said. "They kept us from reversing the ball the whole night and in the second half we decided to dribble more, to penetrate and kick and spread the floor. That turned out to be the difference."
Bound Brook did everything in its power to cut away at the deficit but Burlington City seemed to have an answer for everything early in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders were able to whittle down the Blue Devils' lead to just two points after the second Frauenheim 3-pointer of the quarter.
That would be the closest Bound Brook would get after Landrum's three-point shot. Brown scored four straight points, two from the foul line and two more on a layup, to bring the lead down to three points.
After trading baskets, the game ultimately came down to free throws where the Blue Devils hit four of six attempts from the charity stripe and were able to hold off the Crusaders offense outside of a last-second putback layup.
When the buzzer hit zero, the Blue Devils players, coaches and supporters poured onto the Bound Brook court. The moment that will stick out to Thurmond, however, will be the seconds just before the craziness when the Blue Devils officially became section champions.
"That's my favorite noise at the end of the game," Thurmond said. "Hearing that noise and knowing we won? That's my favorite."
The mood inside the Bound Brook High School locker room was understandably somber following a 61-54 loss to Burlington City for the Central Group I championship on Monday night.
For the second consecutive year, the second-seeded Crusaders, who end the season with a 20-7 record, watched the visiting team celebrate on their home court in a sectional final.
A photograph of Florence players hoisting a championship trophy on the floor at Barile Gymnasium a year ago, which Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo hung in the locker room, served as motivation throughout the offseason and during the Crusaders’ quest for the school’s first sectional title in 38 years.
On Monday night, that image of the 2016 final, which was indelibly etched in the minds of Melesurgo’s players, came back to life in real time as Burlington City formed a sea of blue at center court, celebrating with their fans, who traveled so well they negated Bound Brook’s home court advantage.
Senior guard Evian Brown, who will continue his career at Ramapo College, led Bound Brook with a team-high 18 points, while senor forward Tyson Amaker finished with 14 points and Kyle Frauenheim added 12 points.
Fifth-seeded Burlington City, which improved to 21-7 with its fifth straight victory, owned a 32-19 rebounding advantage and amassed 26 points in the paint, which Melesurgo felt was the difference.
“Really what it came down to is we weren’t rebounding well,” Melesurgo said. “That was the focal point on our board and we talked about it all day (Sunday in preparation). They were able to get second-chance points. Our defense was so good, they were scoring off second-chance points and putbacks.”
Brown dazzled with his ability to make circus shots after dribble penetrating around Burlington City’s taller and more athletic players. His putback and a pair of free throws helped Bound Brook trim a 53-46 deficit to 53-50 with 2:28 remaining, but the Crusaders could get no closer.
With the student sections from both sides trying to outdo one another, they combined to create an absolutely electric atmosphere, which built to a palpable crescendo with less than two minutes remaining and Burlington City clinging to that aforementioned three-point lead.
Brown picked the pocket of counterpart Amir Landrum at midcourt and after he gained control of the ball, Melesurgo called time out to set up a play for Frauenheim, Bound Brook’s best long-range shooter who entered the game with 69 three-pointers.
“We had a good open look for Kyle,” said Melesurgo, whose players executed exceptionally well all night. “One of the reasons why we are here is because of him.”
Frauenheim, who was open at the top of the key, misfired, launching an air ball, and Burlington City closed out the game with an 8-4 run to reach the state semifinals.
Burlington City head coach Paul Collins said he believed his team’s depth – Bound Brook only used two players off the bench – and ability to employ a full-court press took its toll on the Crusaders, whose shooting legs he felt were fatigued as the game unfolded.
“They don’t (have a lot of depth), and that was one of the things we talked about,” Collins said. “We were going to make them play 94 feet the whole game and we did. We really didn’t make them turn it over (Bound Brook handled the pressure extraordinarily well), but I believe it affected their shooting as the game wore on.”
Burlington City closed the third quarter with a 17-7 run to erase a 25-24 deficit – Bound Brook’s last lead – and build a 41-32 advantage, its biggest of the game.
Bound Brook made its first five field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter, narrowing the gap to 50-46 with 3:41 remaining before Landrum buried an NBA-range 3-pointer, rebuilding Burlington City’s lead to 53-46 with 3:02 left.
“That was the best they shot the ball all year,” Melesurgo said of the opposition’s range from beyond the arc, which resulted in six 3-pointers. “They hit some big shots down the stretch. They made a lot of threes.”
Bound Brook scored six of the next eight points and trailed 55-52 with 1:13 remaining before freshman RJ Frazier, playing with the poise of a senior, calmly sank both ends of a one-and-one with the raucous Crusaders’ student section directing a cascade of jeers from the bleachers toward the charity stripe.
“He’s not a freshman anymore,” Collins said. “Twenty eight games in, he’s a little bit older now. The first five games (of this season) were a little different.”
Despite returning just two starters, Bound Brook, making its 12th consecutive state tournament appearance, reached a sectional final for the third time in six years. Melesurgo's five starters, including Noah Smith, who tallied nine points, accounted for all of Bound Brook's scoring. The Crusaders, who limited opponents to 41 points per contest, used their trademark defense to advance, and Monday night it was so good it ironically cost them the game.
“It’s funny,” said Collins, whose team knocked off defending champion Florence and also upset Point Pleasant Beach, who many regarded as the favorite to win the section. “They switched tremendously (on defense). They were switching out on everything, so we actually ran an offense in the second half that we hadn’t run all year. It’s a zone offense. Now you’ve got to play us. It was effective.”
Signs of Bound Brook’s 1979 team, the last to win a sectional championship at the school, were literally omnipresent in Melesurgo’s locker room, and several players from that title-winning squad including Joe D’Alessandro, a point guard for the Crusaders, were in attendance.
“I told the guys I’m so proud of them,” said Melesurgo, who hugged each of his players in the locker room after the devastating loss as they fought back tears. “They worked so hard to get to this game. I would have done anything I could to help them win this game.
“They played a hell of a game.”
Xzander Martinez- St. Elizabeth's
Anthony Perez- Georgian Court
Kevin Pacheco- Kean University
Hamilton Cappellan- Georgian Court
BB Basketball Restoration
The Last 13 years:
Snapped State Worst 34 Game Losing Streak
2007 Skyland Champs
2008 Skyland Champs
2011 Skyland Champs
2012 Skyland Champs
2013 Skyland Champs
2014 Skyland Champs
12 Consecutive Winning Seasons
2013 So County Final 4 Appearance
12 Consecutive State Tourney Appearances
2010 Star Ledger Ranked #7 in Somerset Cty
Top 10 Rankings in NJ (Group 1)('08-6th, '09-9th, '11-2nd, '12-4th, '14-5th, '16-5th, '17)
Most Wins Since 1990 ('08, '10, '12, '13, '15)
All-time Leader Scorer (Hawkins, 1320)
15 College Basketball Players
5 1,000 Point Scorers
2010 Crusader Classic Champs
2012 Crusader Classic Champs
2015 Crusader Classic Champs
2016 Crusader Classic Champs
School Record 18 Straight Wins (2011)
School Record 21 Straight wins (2013)
Ranked in State top 20 1st Time Ever
1st Time School History State #1 Seed (2011)
Undefeated in League play 12-0 (10-11)
Undefeated in League Play 12-0 (11-12)
Undefeated in League Play 12-0 (12-13)
School Record 24 Wins (2011)
School Record 26 Wins (2013)
2 ALL-STATE SELECTIONS (2011)
Advanced to County Semi-Finals (first time since 1990)
Advanced to CJ Group 1 2013 Finals (first time since 1979)
Beat #17 in state Bridgewater-Raritan (2012)
Advanced to CJ Group 1 Finals (2016)
Advanced to CJ Group 1 Finals (2017)