Boys basketball loses hard-fought battle to Roselle


Robert Fallo

photo by Derek Garrett
In a game of two completely different offenses between Roselle and Scotch Plains-Fanwood, the Rams squeaked by with a 58-47 road victory on Jan. 9 to keep the Raiders winless.
The two teams’ offensive game plans were about as far apart as the distance from Earth to the moon. Roselle sprinted up and down the court settling for shots, covered or uncovered, on the perimeter, emulating a Golden State Warriors offense. While SPF was determined to score points in the paint, only taking shots behind the arc a handful of times.
“We were pretty patient,” said Raider head coach Steve Saricusa, “We executed and ran our stuff pretty well and I thought we got a lot of great looks and we capitalized. Roselle tried to go more up and down the court, fast paced, up-tempo and tried to gun and run.”
The score at the end of the first was 11-8 Roselle, thanks largely to senior point guard Damonie Askew, who had four of his 10 points during the period. The offensive stalemate continued into halftime with the Rams leading 19-14.
In the second half, Roselle brought a new dimension of their offense: driving hard to the lane. Although they were still taking threes, the Rams used more of their possessions to penetrate the 2-3 zone the Raiders began to use. The new style of play resulted in 15 points for the quarter and kept Roselle up by four.
Early in the fourth quarter the Rams continued to rack up baskets, extending their lead to up to eight points. Sensing that the game might soon be out of reach, the Raider offense revved up their efforts and started pouring out points. The catalyst was senior guard Aaron Lee, who played with flair. Lee frequently took on two-three Ram defenders and score with the euro step and add an occasional “wow moment” for the crowd when sprinkling in a double clutch in the process.
“[Lee] played well. He kept his head up, kept fighting,” said Siracusa.
With 2:47 left in the game, Lee was fouled and received two free throws down to two. With pressure and a quiet gym while he set-up his shots, Lee buried both to bring the game to a tie and the crowd to their feet.
After 30 seconds Roselle was back on top from free throws made by junior Joshua Jones, who contributed eight points in the second half after not scoring since the first. He combined with junior Stephan Celestin, who accounted for 10 of his 14 points in the quarter, to help finish off the Raiders.
The next opponent for SPF will be Middlesex on Monday, while Roselle will play Cranford on Tuesday.