The trip to the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament for 12th-seeded Bishop Ahr hasn’t been an easy one, not when you consider that three of its four victories in the tournament have been over Red Division teams and the one that wasn’t came against a squad they had lost to twice before in the regular season.
But since getting sophomore forward Jenna Harsh back from a shoulder injury on Feb. 11, Bishop Ahr is 6-0 and Harsh has averaged nearly a double-double per game over that stretch.
The Trojans will try and win their first GMCT title since 2001 tonight against second-seeded Piscataway at the Louis Brown Athletic Center at 6 p.m. While trying to end a 13-year drought of its own, Bishop Ahr will be trying to end a dominant run by the Chiefs.
In what should amount to another home game for Piscataway, the Red Division champions will be seeking a 10th GMCT title overall and sixth in the last nine seasons.
“Bishop Ahr travels pretty well,” Bishop Ahr head coach Kevin Harper said. “We’ve got a pretty loud contingency, so I’m not worried about that.”
Even if he’s not worried about the crowd, a Piscataway team that’s coming off arguably its best game of the season will keep Harper and his staff busy.
Monday night in its win over Monroe, Piscataway got 50 points combined from Kendrea Williams and Kiki Bynes. The duo teamed up for eight 3-pointers on the night and controlled the pace from the start. Bynes, last season’s GMCT MVP, and Williams, who’s scored 10 points or more in 18 straight games, gave the Chiefs all they needed against the Falcons. When asked if it was the best performance of the season by his squad, Piscataway head coach Corey Floyd answered emphatically.
“I have to say yes; the other night everything just flowed very well,” Floyd said. “The chemistry between Kiki and Kendrea put everything in perspective.”
Piscataway is also riding a winning streak, having won seven in a row and 11 of its last 12. Floyd noted that when tournament time nears, the Chiefs just find another gear.
“This time of the year, we peak,” he said. “We’re starting to gel with the younger players becoming more comfortable with the older players. We just have to keep getting better every game.”
The two teams met in a regular season, non-division matchup on Jan. 11 in Piscataway, with the Chiefs winning 51-41. In that one, Harsh just missed a double-double (16 points, nine rebounds) and Foster pulled down 16 boards for the Trojans. Williams (13 points) and Bynes (13 points) once again paced the Chiefs, but Harper knows his team will not be phased by the atmosphere or the opponent Thursday night.
“It’s so helpful to see someone the first time,” Harper said. “We’ve experienced it in their gym and that’s a big deal. When we won in [the GMCT] in 2001, we came through the Red Division, so I liken this run to that one. It’s not going to be an ‘oh my gosh’ moment when we get on the floor.”