Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomenewsImmaculate Conception Boys Basketball Thwarted by Roselle Catholic

Immaculate Conception Boys Basketball Thwarted by Roselle Catholic

Many likely believed that the Immaculate Conception boys basketball team had little chance against the team that was widely regarded as the best in New Jersey.

On March 1 at Franklin High School, the sixth-seeded Lions were defeated by the fourth-seeded Roselle Catholic by a score of 71-61 in the Non Public North B state sectional championship game.

In the end, Roselle Catholic won the Non-Public B championship by defeating St. Rose 58-49, and would have likely been the favourite had the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association not eliminated the Tournament of Champions after last season.

Immaculate finished with a 20-11 record and reached the semifinals of the Essex County Tournament before losing to Seton Hall Prep, the eventual county champion.

Immaculate Conception freshman Jaren Barnett (2, shown against St. Mary in the state playoffs) contributed four points and five rebounds in the Non Public North B state sectional finals against Roselle Catholic on March 1 at Franklin High School. Unfortunately for Barnett and the Lions, they could not stay with Roselle Catholic, considered the top boys basketball team in New Jersey, and dropped a 71-61 decision in the state sectional finals. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)

Jimmy Salmon, the head coach of the Lions, was pleased with his team’s 20-game win total at the end of the season, especially considering that it followed a stretch in which the Lions dropped six of seven games between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.

Salmon stated, “Late December to mid-January was a difficult time for us.” “We overcame the slump to finish the season with 20 victories against one of the most difficult schedules in the state. We were extremely satisfied with our season.”

Immaculate was able to compete with Roselle Catholic despite the Lions’ smaller stature: Roselle Catholic had four players who were 6-foot-8 or taller.

Salmon’s size and the depth of Roselle Catholic’s bench were the deciding factors in the game.

Immaculate Conception Tavian Pullock (right) scored 18 points against Roselle Catholic in the Non Public North B state sectional finals on March 1. The sixth-seeded Lions lost, 71-61, to fourth-seeded Roselle Catholic at Franklin High School. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)

The coach stated, “I thought we played as well as we could have.” In the end, their size and depth were too much for us to handle on that day.

Immaculate can take solace in the fact that Roselle Catholic defeated them by a larger margin, 90-70, on January 7 earlier in the season.

Tavian Pullock and T.J. Robinson, both seniors at Immaculate, did their best to keep up with Roselle Catholic. The team’s top two scorers each scored 18 points. Amir Dunlap, a senior, contributed 9 points, and Jaren Barnett, a freshman, contributed 4 points and 5 rebounds.

The Lions were unable to hold off Mackenzie Mgbako of Roselle Catholic, who will play at Duke University and scored a game-high 26 points in the championship game.

Next season, the Lions will have to replace five seniors: Jordan Rodriguez, Dunlap, Brandon Hernandez, Bryan Mitchell, and especially Pullock, who has been an integral part of Immaculate’s success over the past few years.

However, Salmon has a strong core of returning players, including Robinson, Barnett, freshman Kole Grandison, and junior Ben Price.

He stated, “We hope all the children return.” We believe that this group could be a great one next year.

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Parvesh
Parvesh
Parvesh is the Content Writer for New Jersey Local News. Here at New Jersey Local News, she covers local news of New Jersey state. Moreover, Parvesh likes to dance and listen to music. She also finds time in her hectic schedule to relax and spend time with loved ones.
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