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***The Patrick School received the No. 1 seed in the 41st Union County Girls Basketball tourney which seeded field on Wednesday!

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***North 13th Street Tech is now team to watch with a solid young point guard to complement some definite talent on front line. Read much more in "Feature Articles"

***New Jersey hockey fans have plenty of terrific players to reflect on as two veteran hockey scribes present the best to commemorate 40th Anniverary of state tourney. Peruse much more in "The Buzz"

Newark Tech, which continues to rely on the open floor prowess of its star guard Mustafa Lawrence (1), will need to play very well down the stretch if its wants to have a '4-Peat' in terms of winning yet another Group 2 state championship this season. (File Photo by Bob Thomas)

Newark Tech Seeks Necessary Energy
To Make Another Big Late-Season Run
By Steve Tober
For sidelinechatter.com

Hate to steal a famous phrase from the late great Yogi Berra, but could this indeed be déjà vu all over again when it comes to the Newark Tech boys basketball team?

After all, here we are firmly in February, the Terriers (6-11, 3-7) are well under .500, yet the optimism and perhaps the prospects are still in place for the Brick City school to make yet another run at a Group 2 state title, something sixth-year coach Joe Jordan’s squad has been able to accomplish the past three seasons, including - most recently - last year’s 16-14 squad that began the season at 4-11 and proceeded to not only run the field to capture its third straight overall Group 2 championship,, but then as a sixth seed in the Tournament of Champions, also knocked off a talented third-seeded Group 4 champion Paterson Eastside team in the quarterfinals at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River to make the Final Four in the season-ending tournament for New Jersey’s six group champs.

Can this current group make it a “4-Peat” in Group 2even though three key graduates from last winter’s squad – 6-8 Walker Wilson, 6-6 Jordan Zagadou and 6-0 C.J. Webb- have all moved on?

“I believe we can do it again,” said the always-enthusiastic Jordan, whose 13th-seeded Terriers dropped a heartbreaking 60-58 decision to 20th-seeded Irvington in an Essex County Tournament second preliminary round contest on Monday afternoon in Newark. “We still have a good deal of talent on the floor and we certainly have the capabilities to start winning our share of games down the stretch.

“Our defense has been bad all season and we have to do a better job on that end of the floor, no doubt, but we have kids who can make plays and score so you just never know how it will all turn out, but I do think we’re improving as a unit and we’ll just have to see if can all come together for this group like in the three previous seasons come state tournament time.”

As Newark Tech looks to proceed with a strong run in February - which it hopes will be spurred on by the energy of Tuesday's narrow, come-from-behind 56-55 Super Essex Conference-American Division victory at Orange - one sure-fire veteran standout it knows that it can count on each night is 5-11 senior shooting guard Mustafa Lawrence, who is relentless with both is penetration and perimeter fearlessness, who was right around his season average with 23 points in Monday’s narrow ECT loss to Irvington.

Rider, NJIT, Monmouth, Central Connecticut and Morgan State have all shown interest of late in Newark Tech’s scoring ace, who has developed a penchant for such clutch performances as in the Group 2 state final vs. Camden at the Rutgers Athletic Center last March when – with Wilson and Zagadou both in foul trouble – he scored 15 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter to will the Terriers to a 57-51 championship victory over the South Jersey team.

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