|VIDEO: Don Bosco upsets Seton Hall to break sectional title drought|
This was a win for which Don Bosco Prep's basketball program had waited 46 years. Yet the Ironmen weren't supposed to win this year either.
Behind a 27-point performance from Brandon Anderson, Don Bosco upset Seton Hall Prep, 73-53, to win the boys' North Non-Public A sectional title at Rutgers. It's the first sectional crown for veteran coach Kevin Diverio and the first for any Bosco basketball team since 1970.
Anderson came up big all game, and keyed the fourth-quarter surge that helped Don Bosco put the game away. Just as importantly, the Ironmen held Seton Hall Prep star T.J. Gibbs to just 11 points with a box-and-one defense.
That defense, never before used by Diverio, featured Charlie Bagin as the player responsible for guarding Gibbs. It gave the Pirates more room on the outside, and Seton Hall attempted 21 three-pointers, but made only six.
There were plenty of heroes for the Ironmen. Bagin scored 10 points in addition to his defensive efforts. Omar Mostafa drilled a trio of pivotal three-pointers in the first half and ended up with 11 points.
Marcellus Earlington and Chris Paul played important roles on the interior for Don Bosco and scored 10 and nine points, respectively.
Don Bosco came up big once in each quarter after a challenge from the Pirates:
--In the first quarter, Seton Hall scored seven straight points to take a two-point lead. The Ironmen responded with a 13-2 run, featuring a pair of Mostafa three-pointers, and led by six after the period.
--In the second quarter, Seton Hall started strongly to take a 21-20 lead. The Ironmen managed to match the Pirates basket-for-basket over the next few minutes until retaking the lead on another Mostafa trey. Don Bosco would lead 32-29 at the half.
--In the third quarter, Bosco built a 10-point lead, but a three-pointer and a basket by Gibbs quickly sliced the margin in half. Earlington answered with a trey at the other end, and Bosco would score seven straight points to end the quarter, including a perfect out-of-bounds play with under three seconds left that saw Bagin feed Ronald Harper for a driving layup at the buzzer
--Don Bosco led by 12 entering the fourth quarter, but Seton Hall cut that lead to six with plenty of time to play. That's when Anderson came to the forefront, hitting a pair of baskets to make it 53-43. After the Pirates got within eight, Anderson came up with a three-point play. The Ironmen would go on to ice the win at the foul line.
Gibbs and Austin Williams led Seton Hall with 11 points apiece. The Notre Dame-bound Gibbs passed his brother Sterling to become the Pirates' all-time leading scorer with 1,987 points.
Treyvon Bennett scored eight points and Stephen Ferraro added seven for Seton Hall.
The Pirates, unbeaten against New Jersey opposition coming into the game, were the clear favorites despite being the #2 seed. Seton Hall falls in the section final for the second straight year to finish 29-2.
Don Bosco is now 27-3. The Ironmen will go for their first state title since 1970 when they face St. Augustine Prep in the Non-Public A final at Toms River North High School Saturday evening.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school boys' basketball state tournament sectional final game, click play in the box at left.