BLOOMFIELD, NJ – The Bloomfield HIgh School boys’ varsity basketball team has displayed tremendous heart and determination during its incredible season.
That was certainly the case in front of a packed BHS gym as the top-seeded Bengals defeated Randolph in a 41-39 overtime thriller in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament on Friday night, March 3.
Junior Kyle Barrow sank two free throws for the only points in the fourth quarter by either team, sending the Bengals to their second Section 1, Group 4 final in five seasons. Barrow finished with eight points.
The Bengals, under 12th-year head coach Pat Brunner, will host sixth-seeded Ridgewood in the championship on Tuesday, March 7.
The Bengals forced overtime when sophomore guard Michael Ramos hit a layup with 2.8 seconds remaining to tie it 39-39. Ramos led the Bengals with 13 points.
Senior Myles Toppin had 11 points, junior Richie Guillaume had six points; and junior Mayowa Akindebe had three points for the Bengals, who won their sixth straight game to improve to a 23-5 record. Randolph ended its season at 20-7.
After a 23-23 halftime tie, Randolph outscored the Bengals, 13-9, in the third quarter for a 36-32 lead. But the Bengals answered in the fourth quarter before Barrow won it at the free-throw line.
The Bengals, who are in the section final for the first time since 2013, are seeking their first section title since 1977.
Ridgewood defeated third-seeded Paterson Kennedy in the quarterfinals and second-seeded North Bergen in the semifinals to improve to 19-10.