JACKSON, N.J. – In a season of firsts for the Ranney School, each successive milestone grows in importance.
On Tuesday night it was the Panthers’ first-ever NJSIAA sectional title, rolling over Trenton Catholic, 71-56, at Jackson Liberty.
Junior guard Bryan Antoine stole the show, finishing with a game-high 30 points, including 10 in the second quarter when he keyed a 11-1 run, as they built a 27-19 halftime advantage.
“We just wanted to get out there in transition,” Antoine said.
Antoine and junior guard Scottie Lewis, who finished with 20 points, then sparked a third quarter run, as they extended their advantage to 46-26.
“Our gameplan was to attack,” Ranney head coach Tahj Holden said. “They didn’t really have any shot blockers. (Rodrique) Massonet is still suffering with his knee and when he’s healthy he brings a different dimension to their defense.
“We knew if we could get into the lane we could probably finish and that’s what Bryan did. he got himself going, and once he gets going he’s pretty difficult to stop.”
And now, riding a 14-game winning streak, which includes the school’s first Shore Conference Tournament title, the Panthers will likely have an opportunity to avenge their last loss.
They are now on a collision course with Roselle Catholic – the Lions play Gill St. Bernard in Thursday’s North Non-Public B final – to decide the state championship, with a spot in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions will be on the line.
Roselle Catholic and Gill St. Bernard play for the North Non-Public B title on Thursday (8 p.m.) at Rutgers, with the final set for Saturday at RWJ Barnabas Arena in Toms River.
When Ranney and Roselle Catholic last month at Brookdale, Roselle Catholic, considered the top team in the state by many, came away with a 75-49 victory. Ranney, however, played without Lewis, who missed the game with an ankle injury.
(Highlights courtesy of Mars Reel)