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Bloomfield's outstanding guard Michael Ramos (3) goes hard to the basket vs.West Caldwell Tech during Saturday afternoon's 79-42 independent victory for the Bengals which was also the 300th win for veteran head coach Pat Brunner in his illustrious career. (Photos by Jerry Simon)

Bloomfield's Will Robinson (23) lays ball up with left hand on drive to hoop in Saturday's action

Bloomfield coach Pat Brunner's 300th win is commemorated with a special basketball

Bloomfield head coach Pat Brunner begins to receive congratulations from Bengal players just moments after final horn sounds in 79-42 win vs. West Caldwell Tech as he notches 300th win of what has been long and varied career at a number of high schools. (Photos by Jason Bernstein)

Michael Ramos gives his coach at pat on head as 300th win print out is unveiled for all to see

Some of Pat Brunner's former players at Bloomfield, Verona and Glen Ridge join him after 300th win to bask in the moment with their coach on special day in his hoops coaching career.

Players and coaches surround their coach to form special 'team' moment after 300th win is secured with Saturday's 79-42 victory vs. West Caldwell Tech at BHS. (Photo by Jerry Simon)

Brunner Has Most Enjoyed The Players
As He Reaches Coveted 300-Win Plateau
By Jason Bernstein

BLOOMFIELD -  In the minutes after being celebrated for his 300th career coaching victory, Pat Brunner’s thoughts weren’t on the number or any of the many milestone wins that came leading up to Saturday’s 79-42 triumph over West Caldwell Tech.

Instead, as Brunner was congratulated supporters, current players on his Bloomfield team and past players, his thoughts were on those relationships, some of which date back to when he was an assistant at Glen Ridge more than 20 years ago.

“It's nice that everyone came down here,” said Brunner, who is starting his 13th season as the Bengals’ coach and 20th overall as a head coach. “To see Jamil Goodwin who's playing professionally overseas, Liam Carr, who I coached at Glen Ridge, My assistant Mike Passero, who I coached at Verona. Jason Chesterman, Henry Cannon, Myles (Toppin) from last year. That's what it's about, not the number.

“In a profession of high school coaching, which now doesn't have longevity, to have some longevity, it shows you stuck to it, persevere, deal with good years and bad in a public school. Three hundred is a nice milestone and we'll move forward and keep grinding.”

Less than 24 hours removed from an impressive 61-46 victory over Newark Tech on opening night, there might have been fears of a Bloomfield letdown. Such concern was quickly erased with two Richie Guillaume 3-pointers in the opening minute followed by consecutive Michael Ramos baskets opened up a quick 11-0 lead.

“This (getting Brunner his 300th win) was our main motivation coming into the game,” said Ramos, a junior guard, who led all scorers with 20 points. “A Saturday game after a Friday home opener, we're not supposed to have as much energy as we did, but we knew we had to get it for him.

“We don't expect letdowns. If we want to be great, we can't expect letdowns. Great teams don't have letdowns.”

Ramos, Guillaume (13 points, seven rebounds), Kyle Barrow (eight points, five assists) and Mayowa Akindebe (five points, four rebounds) are all returning starters from last year’s NJSIAA North 1, Group 4 championship squad, which went 24-6 and won a section crown for the first time since 1977.

That quartet, along with guards Will Robinson (12 points, seven rebounds) and Kevin Mitchell (four points, eight rebounds), forward Isiah McCallum (eight points, four rebounds) and the upcoming return of Paramus Catholic transfer Aaron Henry, have the Bengals believing they could once again be champions. This time around, however, Bloomfield won’t be surprising anyone and will have a bulls-eye firmly on its back.

“That's exactly been our theme. We're no longer the hunters, we're the hunted,” said Brunner, whose team was bumped up to the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division after sharing the Colonial Division title a year ago. “I think they'll realize it soon enough that people circle playing us on their schedules now.”

“We're embracing that now and working as hard as we do for a reason,” Ramos said. “We don't expect to be the underdog anymore and we know what we gotta do.”

NOTES:  Brunner started his coaching career as an assistant at Glen Ridge before moving on to head coaching positions at Verona and Elizabeth, where he helped lead the Minutemen to a 2002 Union County Tournament title… Brunner then left Elizabeth and served as an assistant at Bloomfield Tech under current Hudson Catholic head coach Nick Mariniello… Ramos, who was offered his first Division 1 scholarship by Kent State over the summer, said local programs NJIT and Fairleigh Dickinson have shown plenty of interest in recent weeks… As a team, Bloomfield made nine 3-pointers on the day and never trailed… Six different Bengals scored in a 20-0 run to end the third quarter, culminating in a Vinny Torrisi 3-pointer at the buzzer… Tahir Brandon led West Caldwell Tech with 15 points, making five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter… Bloomfield looks to continue its winning ways with two much anticipated Liberty Division contests this week as it hosts East Orange Campus on Tuesday, then travels to Newark Central on Thursday.

WEST CALDWELL TECH (0-2)   8   10   5   19   -   42

BLOOMFIELD (2-0)                     22  17  26  14   -   79

West Caldwell Tech:  Stephon King 2-0-1-5, Ibraheem Ahimed 0-0-0-0, Thierry Val 0-1-0-3, Taishawn Chavis 1-1-0-5, Raymond Larsen 1-0-0-2, Surgett Morris 1-0-0-2, Rajhan Mozee 0-0-0-0, Tyler Scott 3-0-0-6, Tahir Brandon 0-5-0-15, K. Evans 2-0-0-4. Total: 10-7-1-42.

Bloomfield:  Michael Ramos 7-1-3-20, Kyle Barrow 1-2-0-8, Mayowa Akindebe 2-0-1-5, Richie Guillaume 2-3-0-13, Will Robinson 5-0-2-12, Kevin Mitchell 2-0-0-4, Isiah McCallam 3-0-2-8, Jamir Ramos 0-0-0-0, Vinny Torrisi 0-2-0-6, Tochi Anyanwu 0-1-0-3, Gael Refuse 0-0-0-0, Xavier Espinal 0-0-0-0. Total: 22-9-8-79.

Follow Jason Bernstein on Twitter @JBernsteinHS

Bloomfield's Michael Ramos (3) hoists up jump shot vs. West Caldwell Tech Saturday

Bloomfield's Richie Guillaume (1) gets up to lay one home vs. West Caldwell Tech

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