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***Cranford, which is winningest program in Union County for the past five seasons, is now ready to be in unfamiliar playoff section!

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***Union County's defense truly rose to the occasion in setting the tone in hard-fought win in 23rd annual Snapple Bowl. Check out much more in "Feature Articles"

***After 11 years as the athletic director at Caldwell, Rich Porfido is moving over to Wayne Hills in order to lead the Patriots' athletic department this fall as the Chiefs scramble to find his replacement with the fall season right around the corner. Check out "The Buzz"

West Side, with rising senior star Quayon Williams-King (above) has emerged as 'the team to beat' as Bloomfield Summer League is now in playoffs which conclude July 28. (Photo by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

West Side Top Team So Far This Summer
As Bloomfield Loop Now Enters Playoffs
By Steve Tober

BLOOMFIELD - The hot summer nights ahead over the next week will increase in temperature when it comes to the competition now that the playoffs have begun in the annual Bloomfield Summer Basketball League where Newark West Side has asserted itself as the ‘team to beat,’ according to longtime league director Pat Brunner, the head coach at Bloomfield High School.

“West Side is at the head of the pack right now with outstanding players like (6-foot-4 rising senior) Quayon Williams-King, (6-4 senior) Yasim Hooker and (6-9 senior) Justin Jones improving a great deal in addition to the other talent they have on hand, plus (coach) Akbar Cook does a great job with them,” said Brunner, whose league has a large number of teams from the Super Essex Conference plus a smattering of schools outside the county. “They seem to be best team, but there are definitely others to watch, including Montclair, Clifton and University.

“It’s been a highly-competitive summer for everyone involved, and we’ve learned a lot more about a number of teams we’ll see next winter.”

The playoffs continue Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (July 25-27) nights and then move into the semifinals and championship game at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 28. All action is inside one of the gymnasiums at Bloomfield High School.

West Side, the Group 2 state champion last winter with a win over Camden in the final, will move from its summer and fall work to do battle next winter with the likes of state powers Seton Hall Prep and Newark East Side in the SEC's top division, the American.

The Roughriders have had to retool in the backcourt as all-state guard Isaiah Reyes has graduated. Still there is a loaded frontcourt and Williams-King is one of the conference's best all-around talents.

Bloomfield will look to find its way back into more familiar winning ways while esconced in the SEC's third division, the Colonial,where there will be less familiar teams to face on a regular basis, but the competition will still be stiff.

“I’m a firm believer that you should be placed where you belong as far as your SEC division is concerned, and while we’re going to be in the third division next winter I don’t see a great drop off at all in caliber of teams we're going to see, what with a Verona team that returns everyone from a sectional state championship team, a dangerous Millburn squad, an athletic Orange team, a very talented North 13th Street Tech team and very competitive teams in West Essex and Livingston,” continued Brunner. “We are committed to getting the program back to the point where we can earn our way back into the top division (the American), and we’ll continue to work in that direction.”

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