PISCATAWAY — Just like she did as a junior in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final, Kiki Bynes stepped up when her squad needed her most Thursday night.
With the game tied at 42, Bynes knocked down an elbow jumper with 2:16 to play and added a pair of free throws inside of a minute left to boost the second-seeded Piscataway High School girls basketball team to the conference title 50-45 over Bishop Ahr at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
Bynes, who made the winning shot in the 2013 final inside of the final minute, finished with a team-high 14 points. After her jumper, Wande Adeyemo hit a pair of free throws and Bynes added a pair of her own to complete a game-long comeback for the Chiefs, who won their 10th GMCT title and sixth since 2006.
“In my head, I said we’re winning this game,” Bynes said. “But before I shot that jumper to give us the lead, I saw Wande underneath and got it to her for the tie. It takes a lot of pressure off of us when they have to come from behind. There was a target on our back all season and everybody plays their best game against us.”
Early on, it looked like the 12th-seeded Trojans were going to run Piscataway out of the RAC, with Brianna Foster scoring eight of her 11 points in the opening quarter. Bishop Ahr was up 14-6 after the first, but in the second quarter, the Chiefs cut it all the way down to two at 24-22.
It was in the second quarter when Piscataway amped up its defensive pressure and forced five of their 19 turnovers, while on a 10-1 run at the end of the half.
“I thought that was very big,” Bishop Ahr head coach Kevin Harper said. “We called timeout in the middle of it, but we had unforced turnovers in the middle of the court. I was surprised to see us lose focus during that time. We just had too many empty possessions.”
Lauren Barlow gave Bishop Ahr a big boost in the third quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers and scoring 10 of her team-best 14 points, but Piscataway chipped away in the final stanza and eventually drew within two with an Alleria McCoy layup midway through the quarter.
“We were really just looking for the open shots, but we started to turn the ball over,” Barlow said.
Kendrea Williams of Piscataway was named as the GMCT MVP, even after scoring just four points and collecting just a pair of rebounds Thursday night. Bishop Ahr put Ragen Reddick on Williams all night long, face-guarding her and not allowing the sophomore to get open looks at the hoop. Williams averaged 15.2 points per game in the tournament.
“She has a really quick release and we saw it against Monroe, so we forced them to go somewhere else,” Harper said. “It went pretty much how we wanted it to go; they didn’t shoot all that well from outside the arc, so I thought we did a good job against them.”
Piscataway ended up shooting just 18-54 for the game, but when it mattered most, the Chiefs went to Bynes. She had six of her 14 points in the final quarter, calmly knocking down two free throws after McCoy missed a pair with 1:20 to go.
Jenna Harsh scored 11 points to go with five rebounds for Bishop Ahr, which lost for the first time since Harsh returned from injury in the final week of the regular season. As a team, the Trojans shot 13-37 from the field and 11-14 from the line, but the 19 turnovers proved costly.