By Tyler Calvaruso
SSN Correspondent

NEPTUNE - On a Bloomfield Tech team that features only three seniors, it was a sophomore who stepped up and provided the Spartans with some heroics.

Sophomore Kyle Beckford, who finished with 13 points on the day, calmly grabbed an offensive rebound off of a miss from junior Tyrese Johnson and put it back up as time expired to give Bloomfield Tech (3-2) a thrilling 47-46 victory over Neptune (1-3) in the first round of the Jubilee Classic.

“My kids are elated,” Bloomfield Tech head coach Brad Howard said after the game. “I can hear them in the locker room now going crazy.”

It was a back and forth affair the whole night, as no team led by more than five at any point in the game.

The first quarter started off a bit slow, as both teams were having problems knocking down shots, but things picked up towards the end of the quarter when sophomore Dashaun Galloway took an inbounds pass from senior point guard Kavon Marcus and knocked down a three to give Bloomfield Tech an 11-9 lead to close out the first quarter.

The Spartans were able to extend their lead to 14-9 at the beginning of the quarter, but led by senior Fabrice Bambata, Neptune was able to hang around and only trailed 23-20 going into halftime. Bambata finished the game with seven points, all of them coming in the first half.

Neptune showed some life in the third quarter and the spark came from junior center Jared Kimbrough.

Kimbrough, who was coming off of a 24 point, 11 rebound, and six block performance the previous game against Freehold Boro, came alive with nine points in the quarter. He even expanded his range, hitting a three from the corner to go along with two blocks after being relatively quiet in the first half. He finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and four blocks.

The Scarlet Fliers grabbed a 36-35 lead going into the fourth quarter, but it was short-lived, as Bloomfield Tech began the fourth with two straight baskets, putting them back out in front.

Bloomfield Tech grew their lead to 43-38 with 4:50 remaining in the quarter, but Neptune fought back to eventually tie the game at 43 with just over a minute left.

Johnson was able to finish a tough layup to give the Spartans a 45-43 lead with around 30 seconds later. After a crazy sequence, Neptune got the ball back when Johnson couldn’t finish a layup in transition.

This set the table for sophomore Dwaine Jones, who missed a potential go-ahead three on the previous possession, to knock down the go-ahead three - this time with four seconds left to give Neptune a 46-45 lead.

After a conference, the referees put some time back on the clock, giving Bloomfield Tech nine seconds to get down the floor. Johnson would miss an open three, but Beckford was there to clean it up and put it back up and in as time expired.

“That was something else,” Howard said. “It raised the blood pressure for sure.”

On top of Beckford’s heroics, senior Mujaahid Abdul led Bloomfield Tech with 14 points and eight rebounds.

With the win, Bloomfield Tech will advance to the next round of the Jubilee Classic, where Seton Hall Prep awaits them. The Pirates feature one of the top players in the class of 2020 in Jabri Abdur-Raheem, who is the son of former NBA player Shareef Abdur-Raheem.

“I always believe that one person can’t kill you, he can make it hard, but he can’t kill you.” Howard said. “I’m confident that we’ll be able to do the best that we can and be the best opponent for Seton Hall that we can be.”

 

In other Neptune Holiday Jubilee action:

(3) Lakewood 54, (6) Long Branch 40

Junior Kevin Dent scored a game-high 17 points and the Piners (4-0) beat the Green Wave (1-3) to remain unbeaten. Senior Adi Palmer added 12 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and three blocks for Lakewood, while junior Dorian Vaughn knocked down three first-half three-pointers to account for his nine points. Senior Cameron Mader also chipped in eight points in the win.

Sophomore Marc Dennis led Long Branch with 10 points, while senior Cascius Briggs had nine and junior Tyree Morris poured in eight in the loss.

Lakewood held Long Branch without a field goal in the first quarter to prompt a 15-4 start for the Piners through one quarter.

The Piners will take on No. 7 St. Joseph Metuchen after the Falcons knocked off second-seeded Ewing on Tuesday.

(1) Seton Hall Prep 76, (8) Asbury Park 32

Junior Alex Imegwu led a balanced Seton Hall Prep onslaught with 15 points and the Pirates (3-2) hammered the Blue Bishops (1-2). Sophomore Kaysaun Rice led Asbury Park with 10 points.

(7) St. Joseph Metuchen 43, (2) Ewing 35

Senior Letrell West scored a game-high 15 points and the Falcons (4-0) extended their perfect start to the season to four games by beating the Blue Devils (2-3). St. Joe's will take on Lakewood in Wednesday's first semifinal at 2:30 p.m.

Senior Jon Azoroh led Ewing with 14 points.

 

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