|High School Basketball:
Williamstown Falls Victim To Woodrow Wilson's Success
Saturday, March 2, 2002
By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer
If you haven't been keeping up with the boy's basketball season lately, there's a team making some noise traveling through the group 3 bracket and advancing into the finals. The madness of March has its own story to tell by a team from Camden that has put on that glass slipper and is ready for the big dance. Being labeled as the underdog in each of their games, the Tigers are proving to be the team to beat. Woodrow Wilson has marched their way to the finals with an impressive 51-47 victory over the Braves from Williamstown.
One by one the higher seeded team has fallen to a team that has come together at the right time. Coach Jeff Silpe has watched his starting five of Kris Polk (Jr.), Eriq Rosado (Sr.), Jamar Garret (Sr.), Johnathon Robinson (Sr.) and Preston Brown (Sr.) come together as a team just in time to show that an 11th seeded team has a chance of winning the South Jersey Group 3 title. The Tigers advanced to today's match up against the 2nd seeded Williamstown by beating Camden (seeded 6th) and Egg Harbor Township (seeded 3rd). The Braves had a first round bye finishing the season with a 16-9 record.
With the college-like atmosphere surrounding the gymnasium, the Braves used the advantage of playing on their home court to jump out to an early lead 8-4. The Wilson long-range jump shooters were having difficulty adjusting to the open area around the basket as they shot 0 for 6 from behind the 3-point arch and finish with 8 points in the quarter. Williamstown's Matt Tomasello had no problems connecting on his first 3-point attempt and Jarid Barringer lead his team at the half with 10-points. But after trailing 11-8 to start the second quarter, once again it was Rosado dancing his way around defenders and adjusting to his surroundings. Rosado gave the visiting fans a lot to cheer about shooting 4 for 4 from 3-point land keeping pace with Williamstown as the Braves still led 23-20 at the half.
That momentum and confidence traveled throughout the Wilson team as Robinson began to take charge inside the paint. The Tigers would tie the game at twenty-six all with 5:57 showing on the third quarter clock. Robinson and Brown combined for 14 of the 20 points scored in the quarter to hold a seven point led going into the final quarter. Coach Silpe watched his team apply the full court press and hold Williamstown to 10 points in the quarter.
Now with a sense of urgency, the Braves began executing the full court press slowing down Wilson's offense in the final quarter. The zone match up was applied on Rosado and Polk to prevent the long range shots holding them to only two missed attempts from the three point line. But that didn't stop Polk from driving hard through the lane creating open shots for the rest of the Tiger's team. After Wilson built an eleven point lead, 48-37, with 3:17 remaining, even Williamstown's 10-3 run at the end of this semi-finals meeting wasn't enough to win this game.
Woodrow Wilson now advances to the South Jersey Group 3 finals against the Lakewood Pioneers who defeated the number one seed Willingboro on Saturday at Eastern Regional High School. Despite being held scoreless in the final quarter, Eriq Rosado finished with a game high 20 points and Johnathon Robinson added 12 points for the Tigers from Woodrow Wilson. Williamstown's Jarid Barringer was the leading score with 16 points for the Braves.
Photos by Art Redd