Boys Basketball – Photo Gallery: Matawan 59, North Plainfield 49
The Matawan boys basketball team has had its share of ups and downs while trying to find itself during the season, but when it comes to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II Tournament, the Huskies have played like what they are: defending champions.
Senior Jason Dunne scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to go with eight rebounds and six assists and Matawan - the No. 11 seed in the Central Jersey Group II bracket - closed out No. 3 North Plainfield Wednesday in the sectional quarterfinals for its second road win of the tournament.
The Huskies will travel to play No. 2 Manasquan in Friday's sectional semifinal looking to reach the sectional final for the second straight season after winning their first sectional title in 57 years last year.
Joe Piscopo also scored 14 points while handing out four assists and swiping three steals. Senior Nick Smith also chipped in 10 points and five rebounds for Matawan, which has played with a new cast of players around Dunne and Piscopo, who were both All-Shore players last season.
Matawan lost to Manasquan, 42-40, at the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase on Jan. 10 - the lone meeting between the two teams this season. Manasquan played without two key players - seniors Aidan McMenaman and Kyle Bradshaw - while Matawan's role players had still not come into their own by then, so both teams figure to be better this time around.
Should Matawan beat Manasquan on Friday, there is a strong possibility of a rematch of last year's Central Jersey Group II final. Matawan beat Rumson-Fair Haven at Matawan High School in last year's championship and if the two should meet again, the game would be at No. 4 Rumson.
The Bulldogs are on a 13-game winning streak, which includes a Shore Conference Tournament championship, and will host No. 8 Bordentown in the sectional quarterfinals on Friday.