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***Newark Tech has become girls hoops power in state and Terriers have sights set on both ECT title and a CJG2 state sectional crown!

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***As National Signing Day came and went with the well- publicized football commits there were also college-bound soccer seniors with their schools announced including MKA duo. See "Feature Articles"

***Greg Toal had an undeniable impact on New Jersey football as the coach at Don Bosco Prep but at same time as parochial powers rose up many of the public school programs sank. Read "The Buzz"

Immaculate's Jalen Carey (5) starts the fast break for Lions in their 69-54 Essex County Tournament quarterfinal victory over Central at Seton Hall Prep on Saturday as Lions now move into Tuesday night's semifinals at West Orange High. (Photo by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

Immaculate Cruises Into ECT Semifinals
With A Solid 69-54 Quarterfinal Victory
By Steve Tober

WEST ORANGE- There are still the skeptics, and rightly so, when it comes to assessing the possibilities for Immaculate Conception, the second-year basketball bastion from the tiny school located off Park Street in Montclair where a collection of very talented players has taken its time to mature as a unit under noted Playaz AAU coach Jimmy Salmon.

However, there are those spurts, such as in the recent Prime Time Shootout at Roselle Catholic where the Lions held a 44-30 halftime lead over the home-standing Lions only to be outscored 56-30 in the final 16 minutes and lose 86-74.

IC’s best player, 6-foot-4 junior guard Jalen Carey had 37 points in that showcase setback to one of the state’s highly-ranked teams and despite his team’s lack of execution in the second half he has still maintained faith in his Lion teammates who have been playing much better of late overall, winning five of their last six including Saturday’s 69-54 Essex County Tournament quarterfinal victory over Newark Central in a game played at Seton Hall Prep’s Frank J. Tracey Gymnasium.

Carey, who already has offers from Rutgers, Seton Hall, UConn and Minnesota and just had Villanova’s Jay Wright stop to take in Friday night’s regular season 91-76 IC victory over University, poured in a game-high 26 points for the fourth-seeded Lions (13-11) vs. fifth-seeded Central (12-11), and he spoke about how his confidence has grown regarding where the Montclair parochials could be heading with the biggest games of the season still before them, including Tuesday night’s ECT semifinals (5 p.m. at West Orange) vs. top-seeded and tourney favorite Newark East Side, which breezed past ninth-seeded Barringer, 85-59, in other quarterfinal action Saturday..

“We came out today and played well for the most part and we’re doing a much better job lately of meshing together out there, which is related directly to the good practices we’ve been having,” said Carey, who also hauled down eight rebounds vs. the Blue Devils. “We’re looking forward to the semifinals, and we’re determined to keep playing better basketball because every game is a big one from this point on.

“I really think we’re one of the better teams in the state. We haven’t always played that way, but I believe we’re starting to put it together at the right time.”

Central jumped off to a 10-2 first quarter lead over the Lions before both Carey and junior sharpshooter DeRohn Mitchell Jr. (10 points) sank long 3-pointers and the Lions led 17-16 after one.

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