The only guys with a chance to slow down Patrick School star DeAndre Bembry were dressed in nice shirts and slacks on the end of the Gill St. Bernard’s boys basketball team’s bench Saturday.
Division I-bound transfers Austin Colbert and Chris Jenkins are sitting 30 days per NJSIAA rules, and Bembry took full advantage, racking up 28 points and throwing down several thunderous dunks as the former St. Pat’s rocked the Knights 58-38 in the Tip-Off Hoop Group Showcase.
“When we get Austin and Chris back it will be different,” Gill senior Jaren Sina said. “Right now it’s too tough against a guy like Bembry, who’s versatile and can move.”
So Gill, which opened the season ranked No. 20 in the nation by USA Today — a distinction that clearly did not take the transfer rule into consideration — is off to an 0-2 start. The Knights opened Friday with a loss to Long Island power Our Savior New American.
“We just have to weather the storm here,” Gill coach Mergin Sina said. “We’re getting time for young guys and we’re playing a monster schedule. Right now we’re not the team people think. We’re going to be that team about a month, month-and-a-half from now. Right now we’ve got to get some minutes from the guys who will probably be my seventh, eighth, ninth guys.”
One night after he scored 40 points, Northwestern-bound Jaren Sina netted 16 and struggled to get into a rhythm as the Celtics ran two long-armed defenders at him whenever he touched the ball.
“Jaren’s going to have his ups and downs,” Mergin Sina said. “They took away his mid-range game and took away his long-range game.”
Pat’s raced out to a 19-4 lead at the start, but Gill collected itself and pulled within four at 24-20 going into halftime.
“I tried to let the game come to me in the first half and I think I waited a little too long to attack,” Jaren Sina said. “I started getting a little tired and my shot was off. We have to figure out a way to balance out the court.”
It remained a two-possession game until Pat’s closed the third period with an 8-3 run, including six straight from the St. Joseph-bound Bembry, to take a 42-32 lead into the final frame.
“We knew that matchup was going to be tough for us,” Mergin Sina said. “He did what he had to do around the rim — he attacked.”
Talented freshman guard Tyus Battle scored 14 points and was named Player of the Game for Gill. He had some explosive drives to the rim.
“He’s phenomenal,” Jaren Sina said. “But he’s still young.”
Like much of the Gill rotation right now.