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Harvard-bound star senior guard Bryce Aiken (11) leads the top-seeded Patrick School in 80th annual Union County Boys Basketball Tournament which seeded its field on Wednesday. (Photos by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

Hard To Make Case For Anyone
But Top 3 Seeds In 80th UCT
By JR Parachini
For sidelinechatter.com

So, who will win the 80th annual boys’ basketball Union County Tournament?

Will it be top-seeded The Patrick School of Elizabeth (16-4) for the first time since it repeated as champs in 2014?

Will it be second-seeded Roselle Catholic (15-5) for – believe it or not – the very first time.

Or will it be third-seeded and defending champion Linden (14-3) repeating for only the second time?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to make a case for anyone else. Fourth-seeded Union Catholic (11-5), a solid program now for many years under head coach Dr. James Reagan Jr., lost to The Patrick School 73-46 back on Jan. 7 in a Union County Conference-crossover game.

Should the Vikings reach the semifinals, they will - most likely - match up with The Patrick School again. It would indeed be a tall order for Union Catholic to reach the final for the first time since 1986.

Upsets do happen. Just three years ago eighth-seeded Union shocked top-seeded Roselle Catholic 64-63 in a quarterfinal at Johnson. RC never lost again that 2012-2013 season, as it went on to capture the Non-Public, B state championship and then the first of its two Tournament of Champions crowns.

Roselle Catholic reached the UCT final last year for the second time in four seasons and for the third time overall.

Linden has appeared in the last three finals and four of the last five. The only time the Tigers, who have the third-most titles with 11, repeated as champions was in 1983 under head coach Wilbur Aikens.

That’s significant because after Linden won its second title in a row in 1983, Elizabeth went on a run of winning eight of the next nine championships.

Elizabeth , under head coach Ben Candelino, won four in a row and then lost to Aikens and Linden 50-45 in the 1988 final. Linden did not win the crown again until 2001, the first of three under present head coach Phil Colicchio.

Elizabeth then won four more championships in a row before falling to St. Patrick 45-41 in the 1993 final at the Dunn Sport Center in Elizabeth. That began the St. Patrick-Patrick School dynasty which has now seen the Celtics reach the final 21 of the past 23 seasons.

Linden defeated The Patrick School in last year’s semifinals, preventing the Celtics from winning three straight titles.

St. Patrick reached the final 19 straight seasons – winning 14 titles in that span – before not reaching the final in 2012 for the first time since 1992.

In 2012 it was Plainfield winning the championship for the first time since 1979 and Roselle Catholic reaching the final for only the second time and first time since 1963.

Elizabeth – and before that Thomas Jefferson – have won the most titles with 21. The Patrick School – and before that St. Patrick – have won the second most with 18.

This is the 35-year anniversary of Johnson Regional defeating Hillside 73-61 in the 1981 championship game. The Crusaders were coached then by Steve Petruzzelli.

Hillside made it back to the final in 1994 under head coach Morris Griffin after the Comets stunned Elizabeth in the semifinals. That same season Griffin led Hillside to a fifth straight Group 2 state championship game.

SEEDS: 1-The Patrick School. 2-Roselle Catholic. 3-Linden.

4-Union Catholic. 5-Westfield. 6-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth. 7-Union.

8-Plainfield. 9-Rahway. 10-Summit. 11-Cranford. 12-Roselle.

13-Elizabeth. 14-Johnson. 15-Hillside. 16-Oratory Prep.

17-Gov. Livingston. 18-New Providence. 19-Scotch Plains.

20-Dayton. 21-Koinonia Academy ( Plainfield).

 

PRELIMINARY/PLAY-IN GAME:

Thursday, Feb. 11 or Friday, Feb. 12

21-Koinonia at 20-Dayton

 

FIRST ROUND:

Friday, Feb. 12 or Saturday, Feb. 13

13-Elizabeth at 12-Roselle

14-Johnson at 11-Cranford

15-Hillside at 10-Summit

16-Oratory Prep at 9-Rahway

8-Plainfield at 17-Gov. Livingston

18-New Providence at 7-Union

19-Scotch Plains at 6-St. Mary’s

Dayton/Koinonia winner at 5-Westfield

NOTE: GL will play home and host Plainfield

after decision made by the Union County Interscholastic

Athletic Conference (UCIAC).

 

SECOND ROUND:

Wednesday, Feb. 17

At higher seeds

Elizabeth/Roselle vs. Day-Koin/Westfield

SP/St. Mary’s vs. Johnson/Cranford

N. Prov./Union vs. Hillside/Summit

Oratory/Rahway vs. GL/Plainfield

 

QUARTERFINALS:

Saturday Feb. 20

Doubleheaders at Rahway and Johnson

Times to be determined

Receiving byes into the quarterfinals

are these four schools below:

1-The Patrick School

2-Roselle Catholic

3-Linden

4-Union Catholic

 

SEMIFINALS

Tuesday, Feb. 23

and Wednedsay Feb. 24

At Kean

Times to be determined

 

FINALS

Saturday, Feb. 27

At Kean

JV: 4 p.m.

Varsity: 6 p.m.

 

FRANK J. CICARELL UCT BOYS' BASKETBALL

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCORES, WINNING COACHES:

2015: Linden 60, Roselle Catholic 56 - Phil Colicchio - at Kean

2014: Patrick School 62, Linden 54 - Chris Chevannes - at Kean

2013: Patrick School 44, Linden 42 - Chris Chevannes - at Kean

2012: Plainfield 72, Roselle Catholic 66 - Jeff Lubreski - at Kean

2011: St. Patrick 70, Linden 58 - Kevin Boyle - at Kean

2010: St. Patrick 82, Plainfield 45 - Kevin Boyle - at Kean

2009: St. Patrick 89, Elizabeth 72 - Kevin Boyle - last one at Dunn

2008: St. Patrick 67, Linden 56 - Kevin Boyle

2007: Linden 63, St. Patrick 51 - Phil Colicchio

2006: St. Patrick 65, Plainfield 52 - Kevin Boyle

2005: St. Patrick 77, Linden 68 - Kevin Boyle

2004: Elizabeth 58, St. Patrick 51 - Donald Stewart

2003: St. Patrick 68, Linden 62 - Kevin Boyle

2002: Elizabeth 75, St. Patrick 61 - Pat Brunner

2001: Linden 76, St. Patrick 59 - Phil Colicchio

2000: St. Patrick 69, Linden 55 - Kevin Boyle

1999: St. Patrick 52, Union 43 - Kevin Boyle

1998: St. Patrick 76, Union 45 - Kevin Boyle

1997: St. Patrick 61, Elizabeth 48 - Kevin Boyle

1996: St. Patrick 65, Elizabeth 47 - Kevin Boyle

1995: Elizabeth 50, St. Patrick 49 - Ben Candelino

1994: St. Patrick 63, Hillside 47 - Kevin Boyle

1993: St. Patrick 45, Elizabeth 41 - Kevin Boyle

1992: Elizabeth 69, Linden 57 - Ben Candelino

1991: Elizabeth 76, Linden 49 - Ben Candelino

1990: Elizabeth 96, Roselle 67 - Ben Candelino

1989: Elizabeth 65, Roselle 57 - Ben Candelino

1988: Linden 50, Elizabeth 45 - Wilbur Aikens

1987: Elizabeth 62, Linden 61 - Ben Candelino

1986: Elizabeth 50, Union Catholic 43 - Ben Candelino

1985: Elizabeth 70, Rahway 56 - Ben Candelino

1984: Elizabeth 57, Plainfield 42 - Ben Candelino

1983: Linden 66, Roselle 60 - Wilbur Aikens

1982: Linden 86, Union Catholic 67 - Wilbur Aikens

1981: Johnson Regional 73, Hillside 61 - Steve Petruzzelli

1980: Union 65, Plainfield 63 - Tom Fox

1979: Plainfield 70, Linden 68 - Rico Parenti

1978: Elizabeth 62, Plainfield 60 - Ron Kelly

1977: Roselle 75, Rahway 54 - Dick Young

1976: Roselle 61, Union 54 - Dick Young

1975: Plainfield 69, Rahway 64 - Rico Parenti

1974: Union 61, Cranford 48 - Tom Fox

1973: Linden 69, Roselle 53 - Wayman Everly

1972: Jefferson 50, Linden 43 - Ron Kelly

1971: Roselle 73, Linden 71 - Dick Young

1970: Jefferson 68, St. Mary's 61 - Ron Kelly

1969: Jefferson 55, St. Mary's 47 - Ron Kelly

1968: Linden 63, Jefferson 62 - Joe Gaines

1967: St. Patrick 58, Plainfield 50 - Ed "Buzzy" Fox

1966: Linden 61, St. Patrick 56 - Joe Gaines

1965: Westfield 61, Cranford 52 - Bob Sanislow

1964: Cranford 68, Linden 61 - Bill Martin

1963: Westfield 65, Roselle Catholic 45 - John Lay

1962: St. Mary's 40, Linden 30 - Al LoBalbo

1961: Roselle 45, St. Mary's 43 - Ralph Arminio

1960: St. Mary's 53, Jefferson 43 - Al LoBalbo

1959: Westfield 54, Cranford 46 - John Lay

1958: Roselle 66, Cranford 64 - Ralph Arminio

1957: Rahway 64, Jefferson 51 - Bob Berger

1956: Plainfield 58, Sacred Heart 51 - Bill Brann

1955: Jefferson 52, St. Mary's 44 - Bill Tranavitch

1954: Jefferson 57, Springfield 44 - Bill Tranavitch

1953: Linden 59, Union 38 - G. St. Andrassy

1952: St. Mary's 48, Linden 30 - Al LoBalbo

1951: St. Mary's 37, Jefferson 36 - Al LoBalbo

1950: Jefferson 69, Hillside 57 - Bill Tranavitch

1949: Jefferson 42, Hillside 41 - Bob Cox

1948: Jefferson 33, Springfield 32 - Bob Cox

1947: Springfield 31, Linden 29 - Walter Hohn

1946: Springfield 37, Linden 34 - Walter Hohn

1945: Jefferson 39, Roselle Park 23 - Abner West

1944: St. Patrick 40, Roselle Park 36 - Ken Milsop

1943: Rahway 34, Jefferson 33 - Earl Walter

1942: Rahway 46, Jefferson 30 - Earl Walter

1941: Rahway 32, Hillside 24 - Earl Walter

1940: Springfield 35, Cranford 33 - Bill Brown

1939: Linden 30, Plainfield 20 - Les Goodwin

1938: Springfield 25, Rahway 24 - Bill Brown

1937: Rahway 27, Hillside 17 - Earl Walter

CHAMPIONSHIPS: Thomas Jefferson-Elizabeth 21, St. Patrick-The Patrick School 18, Linden 11, Rahway 5, Roselle 5, Springfield 4, St. Mary’s, Elizabeth 4, Plainfield 4, Westfield 3, Union 2, Cranford 1, Johnson Regional 1.

 

 

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