With the Greater Middlesex Conference Girls Basketball Tournament seeding meeting two days away, many teams have made their case for a high seed, posting resume-boosting victories over the last week.
One of the biggest turnarounds in the GMC from last season to this has been East Brunswick, which won five games in 2012-13. First-year head coach Keith Lane has gotten the Bears to the top of the ever-competitive Red Division, scoring a 52-48 win on the road at Piscataway on Saturday. With that victory, East Brunswick pulled into a first-place tie with the Chiefs — in both the division standings and possibly in the conference.
The two teams are slated to meet again tonight — weather permitting — just hours before the seeding meeting is scheduled to be held at Spotswood High School.
Perhaps the biggest debates will come out of the GMC White, where four teams are in a serious logjam at the top of the division. Monroe has earned a huge resume victory over Union, South Plainfield has knocked off Sayreville twice, Sayreville edged East Brunswick and is the only club to beat J.F. Kennedy (17-1), but Bishop Ahr dominated Sayreville Tuesday night. To say the White Division is the conference’s best is an understatement.
Following Tuesday’s win, Bishop Ahr head coach Kevin Harper was fairly democratic about the seeding process.
“You have to win the games, so as long as we get seeded fairly, I’m fine with it,” Harper said. “This time of the year, we can play anybody and I’m confident about it.”
A high seed is also on the minds of J.F. Kennedy, which has dropped just a 68-60 decision to Sayreville on Jan. 18. The Mustangs have a 15-0 divisional record and a pair of wins against Red Division opponents, but head coach Heidi Hodnett isn’t overly concerned with where the committee seeds her squad.
“My thought is that you have to beat all of the best teams to end up in the finals anyway, so you need to beat the best to prove you are the best. The seeds are up to everyone else to decide,” she said.
Metuchen star Cassie Smith set the school’s all-time scoring record late in Monday’s win over Cardinal McCarrick, hitting a free throw to give her 1,774 career points. After knocking down another free throw, Smith finished with 28 points, bringing her total to 1,775.
Smith is averaging 29.1 points per game this season — the highest average in the state — and for her career, she’s now up to 18.4 points per contest. The Bulldogs figure to be a difficult out in the GMCT, regardless of where they’re seeded, with Smith’s scoring prowess and the possible return of Katelynn Flaherty to the backcourt. Flaherty, who fractured her foot in her Metuchen debut on Jan. 15, was seen in a walking boot and on crutches last weekend.
This past Sunday afternoon in Wardlaw-Hartridge’s Prep B semifinal matchup with Morristown-Beard, senior guard Taylor Gerhart entered the school’s record book. With a running layup in the third quarter, Gerhart eclipsed 1,000 career points for Wardlaw-Hartridge.
Gerhart, who is a three-sport star for the Rams, has averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season, despite missing multiple games due to injury. She finished with 19 points Sunday as the Rams fell 54-38, bringing her career total to 1,011. Gerhart has failed to reach double figures just twice this season, and over her last four games, she’s averaged 19.5 points.
With Gerhart’s scoring ability, Wardlaw-Hartridge (4-14) won’t be a walk-over in the GMCT, even though it expects to be seeded in the low-teens.