NEPTUNE - Teaneck jumped ahead of Neptune following the opening tip and never looked back as they defeated the host Scarlet Fliers, 41-31, to win the 2015 Holiday Jubilee Tuesday.

Looking to bounce back from last year’s Jubilee finals defeat to Marist in the final seconds, Neptune came in on a three-game winning streak after a one-point win over Long Branch in the semifinals on Monday.

The Highwaymen’s length in an extended 2-3 zone gave the Scarlet Fliers trouble early as Teaneck found itself with a 17-7 lead after the first behind nine from sophomore guard Jaquay James, who finished with a game-high 17 points.

“He is the leader on the floor,” Teaneck head coach Jerome Smart said of James. “They get all the energy off of him and follow his lead as point guard.”

Photo by Bobby Klatt

Neptune kept things close in the second as they chipped the Teaneck lead to 24-17 going into the locker room despite shooting 1-for-9 from behind the arc and fouling their way into the bonus for the final seven minutes in the first half.

At the half, Barry Brown and Jared Kimbrough each had four points to lead Neptune, while James led the Highwaymen with 11.

The Scarlet Fliers offensive woes continued in the third after Brown’s three-pointer in the initial possession. The Highwaymen forced seven turnovers and went on a 10-0 run, keeping Neptune scoreless for over four minutes, to spread the lead to 36-24 going into the fourth.

Teaneck began to take the air out of the ball and take time off the clock with each passing possession, but the Scarlet Fliers were able to force six turnovers in the final quarter. Neptune couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities as the poor shooting from three (3-for-17 for the game) continued..

“Our guard play was a lot better today,” said coach Smart. “Our big guys made more around the basket then we did yesterday (vs. John F. Kennedy of Paterson). We still need to work on hitting free throws. If we get a game later on in the season and we can’t hit our foul shots, we will make it a lot harder on ourselves.”

In the end, The Highwaymen were able to hold the Scarlet Fliers scoreless in the final two minutes to seal the victory. Brown finished the game with a team-high nine points.

“This is why the Jubilee is such a great tournament,” Neptune coach Joe Fagan said. “You hope to attract top talent in the state and compete. Hopefully this will be a building point for us, but it will be all positives.”