Former Saint John Vianney star Grant Goode's 28 points, 12 rebounds lead Brookdale to 99-74 win
By Mike Ready, Patch Contributor | Feb 28, 2018 12:53 pm E
Lincroft, NJ – Former Saint John Vianney star Grant Goode netted a game-high 28 points helping top-seeded Brookdale survive a second-half scare from No. 8 seed Passaic after the Panthers cut the Jersey Blues early 18-point lead to three points five minutes into the second half.
Undefeated Brookdale – ranked No. 1 nationally in NJCAA DIII play - was able to recover and went on to a 99-74 victory over stubborn Passaic to advance to this weekend's Region XIX semifinals - but the 25-point win wasn't as easy as the final score would indicate.
Passaic's Shawn Ulrich's three-pointer cut Brookdale's lead to three, 52-49, at the 15:00 mark of the second half and Goode – who added a game-high 12 boards - took it upon himself to call a timeout and gather the troops to regroup.
"I called timeout and coach (Paul Cisek) told us if we don't settle down we're going home," said Goode. "We didn't want to go out like that, so we had to bounce back quick, or otherwise our season's over."
"Grant called the time out when they cut it to three; it wasn't me," Cisek said about the called timeout. "You could see it in their faces right away that they were confused. I just said, 'you're allowing them to do what you want to do. You're allowing them to get shots, allowing them to get closer to the basket and we're not running - we need to run.' "
Brookdale (29-0) came out of the timeout refocused and quickly went on a 13-2 run that pushed their lead back to double-digits, 65-51, with 11:22 left in the game.
Goode – who was selected to the GCAC All-Conference second team – dropped seven of those 13 points including a huge three-pointer that completely shifted the momentum and set the tone for the rest of the game.
From there, the Jersey Blues methodically pulled away from Passaic with the Panthers never getting any closer than 14 points the rest of the way. They did stick around until Brookdale finally put them away for good by stretching their lead to 24 points, 89-65 with 2:57 remaining in the game.
During that decisive four-minute stretch which saw Brookdale's lead swell from 75-60 to 89-65, Goode scored five of those points while point guard Jaimik Moore added nine points.
"Once we get on a run it's kind of hard stopping us," Goode said. "So as long as we run the transition the way we're capable of nobody's stopping us."
"Physically, he's strong and he gets to the rim and that's his game," Cisek said of Goode. "And that's where he dominates and he had some big rips and when he does that's we're going to win. And I thought Tarique (Holmes) turned it up a notch in the second half. He kind of got it up and down the court and helped us get easy shots inside."
Holmes finished with seven points and four rebounds but more importantly a game-high eight assists and five steals.
Moore – a first-team All-Region XIX selection - finished with 20 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
When a team wins by 25 points, as Brookdale did Tuesday night, it could be construed as a quality win, but Cisek wasn't overly impressed by his team's performance.
"We didn't play well at all," said Cisek. "The first half we were 2-for-11 from three and we had 11 turnovers. We only gave up 34 points in the first half but I don't think we got after it the way we can. I don't think we ran really well. Second half they (Passaic) kind of just came at us and cut it down to three and the problem with playoff ball is you get beat and you're out."
Brookdale was holding onto an 18-point lead, 37-19, with 3:45 to play in the first half before Passaic went on a 7-0 run to cut the Blues lead to 11 at the 2:58 mark. Brookdale then got the lead back to 14 but Jordan Wiggins three-pointer at the buzzer put them back to within 11, 45-34 at the intermission.
Goode (16 points), Moore (10 points) and Fres Cabrera (eight points) accounted for 34 of Brookdale's 45 first-half points. Cabrera finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Passaic held onto the momentum gained at the end of the first half outscoring Brookdale 15-7 to start the second half but it quickly shifted back to Brookdale and the Blues never looked back.
Brookdale had already beaten Passaic big twice this season including a 30-point rout last month, so you can understand why Brookdale might've been looking past the Panthers.
"You know what it is? We beat them twice and we beat them pretty good, 27 and 30 (points)," said Cisek. "So we think that we're just going to go out there and score points and win. But its playoff time and I've been doing this for 26 years and the one thing you know about playoffs – it's do-or-die and teams give you a little extra. And when shots start going down, you have problems. I think it's a good wakeup call for them realizing when we go down to Northampton (where the Region XIX semifinals and finals are being played this weekend) it ain't going to be no joke down there.
"We could end up catching Northampton, the home team, so you really got to bring it, Cisek added. "It doesn't matter if we're 29-0 and No. 1 in the country – they don't care, they want to go to the next round. So was tonight a wake-up call? I don't know, we'll get back to work and we'll go right back to the defensive side because I wasn't really excited the way we played defense tonight."
Fourth-seeded Northampton (23-6) beat No. 5 seed C.C. of Philadelphia 76-74 last night so it's confirmed that Brookdale will be playing them on their home court Saturday at 5:00 p.m..
The Blues traveled to Northampton and beat the Spartans 88-67 on February 16 in their only meeting of the season, but as Cisek stressed, you can throw out the regular season once playoff time comes around.
Personally for me I wouldn't overlook teams like these," said Goode about their rematch with Northampton. "Passaic was only down by three at one point against us. I definitely wouldn't count them (Northampton) out at all."
Cisek will have his bunch well prepared for Saturday's game, you can count on that.
"We had 10 day's off (prior to Tuesday's game) where we didn't have any games and then all the hoopla of senior day so now we got it out (of our system) and we got to put it together and see what happens," Cisek said. "If we want to win this region we got to win it on the defensive side. Teams are not going to let us run – they're going to slow us down. So we have to concentrate on winning it half court defensively and offensively."
Photo Courtesy of Tom Smith