|VIDEO: St. Anthony sinks Morristown-Beard in sectional semis|
Historically, St. Anthony and Morristown-Beard are about as far apart as two boys' basketball programs can be. Their meeting in the state sectional semifinals went about as expected, but the Friars' 87-47 win couldn't put a damper on the best season ever for the Crimson.
St. Anthony dominated from start to finish, never trailing in the North Non-Public B contest, played in Jersey City. R.J. Cole led the Friars with a game-high 20 points.
Outside of Cole, it was a balanced scoring effort for St. Anthony. A dozen different players scored, with Alexander Rice and Ithiel Horton the only others in double-digits with 10 points apiece. The Friars hit a combined 10 three-pointers in the game.
Justin Rodriguez led Morristown-Beard with 15 points. Zach Dees scored 12 for the Crimson, while Brian Monaghan scored 11 in his final high school game.
The loss ends Morristown-Beard's most memorable season ever with a 25-5 record. The Crimson won a league title, its first Prep B state crown in 14 years, and reached the Morris County Tournament final for the first time. This was also the program's first visit to the sectional semifinal round.
All this came against the backdrop of coach Ed Franz's sudden cancer diagnosis, which caused him to step away from the bench mid-season, only to return a few weeks later.
St. Anthony, led by legendary coach Bob Hurley, improved to 23-5. This could be considered a rather humdrum season for the most-successful program in New Jersey history, except for the swirling rumors about the potential closure of the school, raising the possibility that this could be the Friars' final season.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school boys' basketball state tournament game, click play in the box at left.