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East Orange Campus' Billy Lovett, who in two seasons took the Jaguars from two to 25 victories, is the 2014-2015 Sideline Chatter Essex County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year. His Jags reached ECT & N1G4 finals. (Photos by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

East Orange's Denzel Banks (2) was the runner-up to SHP's T.J. Gibbs as SC's Essex County Player of the Year while having superb season for Billy Lovett and company.

SHP, which captured its 16th Essex County Tournament title, is SC's Essex County Team of the Year after completing splendid season. (Photo by Richard Morris/SHP)

Newark Tech won its third straight Group 2 state crown. (Photo by Bob Thomas)

(continued from page 1)

Newark Tech may have went 16-14, but it was accomplish with a schedule which included matchups with Roselle Catholic, Pope John, St. Benedict's, Teaneck and Rancocas Valley in addition to a grueling SEC American Division slate, which featured Seton Hall Prep, East Side, University and others.

Great Turnaround And Yet Another State Sectional Title For University

Some people might have left University for dead after a 41-point loss to West Side in the Newark Public Schools Tournament in December. Few gave them much of a chance in the state playoffs when it had a 6-12 record at the cutoff on Feb. 10. Despite such early adversity, University rallied to win its fourth North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 title when it defeated American History, 76-61 in the final.

Led by center Kyle Wright, guards Zamir Wright and Tariq McKenith and forward Abdul Adams, University found its stride with late-season victories over East Side, Orange and Irvington, then continued it into the playoffs with wins against Shabazz, New Providence, Weehawken, American History and Cresskill.

University's state tournament run came to an end with a loss to Paulsboro in the Group 1 final, but not before becoming the last Newark Public School standing.

Cohesive West Side Claimed The Newark Public Schools Tournament Title

The merger of West Side and Newark Vocational left head coach Akbar Cook with one of the state's most unique coaching challenges this season. The difficult task of molding this group into a cohesive unit proved to be a successful one and resulted in a return to prominence for the Roughriders.

West Side won its first Newark Public Schools Tournament since 1999, defeating East Side, 62-52 in the final on Dec. 30.

Talib Lacy was named Tournament MVP after posting 26 points and 15 rebounds, an all season played much bigger than his listed height of 6-3. Seniors Alfonzo Anderson and Nasheed Jackson formed one of the county's top backcourts and sophomore Quayon Williams-King emerged as one of the area's best underclassmen.

SIDELINE CHATTER ESSEX COUNTY TEAM OF THE YEAR: Seton Hall Prep

Runner-Up: East Orange Campus

 

SIDELINE CHATTER ESSEX PLAYER OF THE YEAR: T.J. Gibbs, Seton Hall Prep

Runner-up: Denzel Banks, East Orange Campus

 

SIDELINE CHATTER ESSEX COACH OF THE YEAR: Billy Lovett, East Orange Campus

Runner-Up: Liam Carr, Glen Ridge

 

SIDELINE CHATTER'S ALL-ESSEX TEAMS

FIRST TEAM

Alfonzo Anderson, West Side, Senior, Guard

Capable of lighting up a scoreboard, Anderson was one of the area's premier scorers, averaging 16.8 points per game while hitting 60 3-pointers. This season showed he was far more than just that as he also averaged 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.9 assists per game. Anderson had 11 double-doubles.

 

Denzel Banks, East Orange, Senior, Guard

Banks emerged as one of the state's best clutch performers late in the season, averaging 20.7 points over his last 17 games, highlighted by 30 in the ECT final against Seton Hall Prep and a school record 40 against MKA. For the season, Banks averaged 15.7 points and more than four steals per game.

 

T.J. Gibbs, Seton Hall Prep, Junior, Guard

At 19.2 points per game, Gibbs was the SEC American Division's leading scorer and he was capable of putting up points from anywhere on the court. A top-notch outside shooter, the junior excelled at attacking the rim and was automatic from the foul line. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

 

Mustafa Lawrence, Newark Tech, Junior, Guard

After missing the first five games of the season, this junior's return to the lineup, quickly turned the Terriers' fortunes around. He averaged 18.2 points per game, including 19.8 in Newark Tech's state tournament run which ended in the semifinals of the Tournament of Champions. He had 28 points in the Group 2 final vs. Camden and 24 in the TofC against Paterson Eastside.

 

Jordan Zagadou, Newark Tech, Senior, Forward

A matchup nightmare with his combination of height and quickness, this forward enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 15.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Zagadou was at his best in the state playoffs, posting seven straight double-doubles in the playoffs, followed by 21 points and seven rebounds against Pope John in the TofC semifinals.

 

SECOND TEAM

Josh Chery, Montclair Kimberley, Senior, Forward

A matchup nightmare, capable of a triple-double on any night, the 6-4 senior averaged 20.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.

 

Stephen Ferraro, Seton Hall Prep, Junior, Guard

This hard-nosed junior did a little bit of everything, averaging 11.5 points per game while leading the team in assists and steals.

 

Ahmad Harrison, East Side, Senior, Guard

A three-year starter, this senior averaged 8.2 points and nearly four assists per game to go with stellar defense.

 

Michael Runcie, Columbia, Senior, Guard

Columbia's all-time leading scorer, Runcie averaged 17.8 points per game, highlighted by 30 in a state playoff win over Perth Amboy.

 

Kyle Wright, University, Senior, Forward

He used his size, strength and midrange jumper to average 9.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game for the Group 1 finalist.

 

THIRD TEAM

Ramiir Conover-Dixon, Bloomfield Tech, Junior, Guard/Forward

The Spartans' "Mr. Everything," this junior averaged 15.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.8 steals per game.

 

Kelly Hogan, Seton Hall Prep, Senior, Forward

This forward averaged 8.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, highlighted 14 points and 13 rebounds in the ECT final.

 

Talib Lacy, West Side, Senior, Forward

This undersized big averaged 11.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game with 14 double-doubles.

 

Kevin Moise, Irvington, Senior, Guard/Forward

Capable of dominating with his outside shooting and leaping ability, Moise hit 80 3-pointers and averaged 12.6 points per game.

 

Zamir Wright, University, Junior, Guard

This slashing guard averaged 14.5 points per game, including 16.7 per in six state tournament contests.

 

FOURTH TEAM

Jibreel Ahmad, East Side, Senior, Guard

A terror in transition, and the Red Raiders' energy guy, Ahmad led the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game.

 

Max Jacobs, Millburn, Senior, Guard

This senior carried the Millers, averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game to go with stellar defense.

 

Diego Pujols, Barringer, Junior, Guard

This Dominican important led the Blue Bears in points (11.5), assists (3.4) and steals (3.4) per game and hit a team-best 28 3-pointers.

 

Isaiah Reyes, Bloomfield, Junior, Guard

This lightning-quick guard averaged 15.6 points per game, highlighted by 36 in a win over Bloomfield Tech.

 

Yasim Smith, Central, Senior, Guard

A broken hand limited him to just 18 games, but still led the Blue Devils in points (12.4), rebounds (5.9), assists (4.8) and steals (2.3) per game.

 

FIFTH TEAM

Jeremiah Boone-Alexander, West Orange, Senior, Forward

This strong senior averaged 9.7 points per game and had a double-double in the first round of the states against Livingston.

 

Aaron Broxton, East Orange, Senior, Center

This senior averaged 12 rebounds per game for the Jaguars and showed an improved offensive game with five double-doubles over the final 11 games of the season.

 

Dachon Burke, Orange, Senior, Guard

He only played 14 games, sitting out the first 30 days after transferring from Bloomfield Tech, but averaged 17.7 points per game.

 

Omari Dill-Pettiford, North 13th Street Tech, Senior, Guard

The state's leading scorer at 25.6 points per game, this senior raised his game against top competition, scoring 30 against Teaneck and 33 vs. Hackensack.

 

Javon Hill, Arts, Senior, Forward

This double-double machine averaged 25.0 points and 11.4 rebounds, highlighted by a 38-point, 18-rebound outburst vs. Southern.

 

Malik Toppin, Shabazz, Senior, Forward

The Central Connecticut State commit was the county's top shot blocker and averaged 13.5 points per game.

 

All-Newark Team

First Team: Alfonzo Anderson, West Side; Ahmad Harrison, East Side; Mustafa Lawrence, Newark Tech; Kyle Wright, University; Jordan Zagadou, Newark Tech.

Second Team: Jibreel Ahmad, East Side; Talib Lacy, West Side; Diego Pujols, Barringer; Yasim Smith, Central; Zamir Wright, University.

Third Team: Omari Dill-Pettiford, North 13th Street Tech; Javon Hill, Arts; Taj Price, East Side; Malik Toppin, Shabazz; Darius Williams, Barringer.

 

FINAL SIDELINE CHATTER ESSEX BOYS HOOPS TOP 10:

1-Seton Hall Prep (25-2)

2- East Orange Campus (25-5)

3-West Side (20-8)

4- East Side (17-9)

5- Newark Tech (16-14)

6- Bloomfield (18-8)

7- Orange (15-11)

8- University (14-14)

9- Irvington (12-13)

10- Central (13-13)

 

FINAL SUPER ESSEX CONFERNCE STANDINGS:

AMERICAN DIVISION:

Seton Hall Prep 12-0 (25-2)

East Side 8-4 (17-9)

Newark Tech 6-6 (16-14)

Orange 5-7 (15-11)

University 4-8 (14-14)

Irvington 4-8 (12-13)

Columbia 3-9 (9-16)

 

LIBERTY DIVISION:

East Orange 11-1 (25-5)

West Side 8-4 (20-8)

Bloomfield 8-4 (18-8)

Central 6-6 (13-13)

Montclair 4-8 (14-13)

Bloomfield Tech 3-9 (9-18)

MKA 2-10 (13-13)

 

COLONIAL DIVISION:

West Orange 10-2 (17-7)

Barringer 10-2 (16-8)

Shabazz 7-5 (12-11)

Livingston 6-6 (11-13)

Verona 5-7 (13-12)

Millburn 4-8, (10-15)

Science Park 0-12 (2-19)

 

INDEPENDENCE DIVISION:

Arts 9-1 (13-6)

West Essex 8-2 (19-7)

Newark Academy 6-4 (16-9)

North 13th Street Tech 4-6 (7-15)

Cedar Grove 2-8 (8-17)

Weequahic 1-9 (2-15)

 

FREEDOM DIVISION:

Glen Ridge 12-2 (18-8)

Caldwell 11-3 (15-10)

Christ The King 9-5 (12-12)

Nutley 8-6 (8-16)

Golda Och 7-7 (10-8)

Technology 5-9 (7-15)

Immaculate 4-10 (5-16)

Belleville 0-14 (6-20)

The irrepressible junior backcourt star Mustafa Lawrence averaged 19.8 ppg during the Terriers' state tourney run to a third straight Group 2 state title. (Photo by Bob Thomas)  

 

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