The Roselle Catholic Boys Basketball team has completed the clean sweep of championships this season. The team’s storybook year concluded this past Sunday with a 61-54 win over Don Bosco Prep in the Tournament of Champions Championship Game in Trenton. The Lions compiled a 29-4 record for the season, going undefeated in the state of New Jersey, and winning 15 games against teams currently ranked in the NJ.com Top 20, 9 of which came against top 10 teams.
In the TOC Final, the team continued to excel in their team-style play with multiple members contributing in big ways throughout the game. McDonald’s All-American Senior Nazreon Reid led the way with 22 points and 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, but when foul trouble forced him to the bench for critical minutes in the middle of the second half, the team stepped up to ensure the victory. Senior Alanzo Frink who has had a tremendous year, and remarkable state playoff run, came alive with 7 points in the final minutes of the game on his way to a total 16 to go with 4 boards on the day, while Juniors Josh Pierre-Louis and Kahlil Whitney chipped in with 8 and 6 respectively, and Whitney grabbed 6 key rebounds as well. Senior Ithiel Horton also provided 6 points while Senior Jason Battle scored 3, but it was his 3 big steals late in the game which sparked the Lions offense in the final quarter to help propel the Lions to a 12 point lead in the final minute of play.
The team’s chemistry was evident from the opening tip of their game vs Newark Westside on a snowy December night for opening day, and continued throughout the season until they were hoisting the two portions of the TOC Championship trophy (a trophy which had broken before being handed out). Highlights of the season included back-to-back out of state victories against strong programs like Gray Collegiate Academy (SC) and Smyrna (DE), snapping Smyrna’s 25-game win streak dating back from last season. Capturing the Union County Conference Watchung Division Championship after going undefeated in league play, including a last minute comeback victory at the final seconds against Patrick School (#12) in the Tom Richel Memorial Hoopfest. The thrilling game in the Metro Classic vs Montverde (FL) when the team came the closest of anyone this season to knock off the #1 team in the nation, losing by 1 point at the buzzer. The Lions captured the program’s first ever Union County Tournament Championship, defeating Patrick School (#12) for the 3rd time of the season, just 2 hours after the Lady Lions captured their own Union County Tournament title on the same court defeating the Lady Celtics. The Lions then ran the gamut for the NJSIAA Non-Public North B Section (arguably the most difficult section in the State Tournament containing 7 top 20 NJ teams) defeating Koinonia, Christ the King, Montclair Immaculate (#7), and Gill St. Bernard’s (#4) for the State Sectional Championship. The team then came from the brink of heartbreak to thrilling elation when Ithiel Horton assisted on the alley-oop to Naz Reid with 6.3 seconds left to give the Lions the 2 point victory over Ranney Prep (#2) for their 4th State Championship in 6 years. The Tournament of Champions saw the Lions tested by a strong Nottingham (#16) team on their way to the final game vs Don Bosco Prep (#3).
Congratulations to the players and coaching staff on a remarkable season, and a big thank you to all the students, faculty, administration, board members, alumni, and RC community for their support. A special thank you to all those who donated to help send the 2 buses filled with RC students to the TOC Finals on Sunday. The Lions’ Pride is strong.