Irvington HS boys’ basketball team falls to Chatham to finish strong season


Andrew Sylvestre drives past defenders in the Blue Knights’ win over Parsippany Hills in the North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state tournament quarterfinals. Photo by Steve Ellmore.

IRVINGTON, NJ – The Irvington High School boys’ varsity basketball team enjoyed a sensational run this season.

Under head coach Elias Brantley, who is an IHS graduate, the fifth-seeded Blue Knights fell at second-seeded Chatham, 61-45, in the championship game of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state tournament on March 6 at Chatham.

The Blue Knights had their four-game winning streak snapped and finished the season with an 18-11 record.

Andrew Sylvestre had a team-high 11 points for the Blue Knights. Jalen Scott had nine points; Kevin Kirkpatrick had seven points; Karriem Thomas and Kymani Dunbar each had five points; Dezlyn Sebastian notched four points; Jiair Bucknor added three points; and Jasiah Provillon added a free throw. Nasamier Brooks and Dameer Vital also saw time in the game.

Chatham raced out to a 20-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Morris County team maintained control in the second quarter and led 45-18 at the half.

Irvington tried to get back in the game and outscored Chatham, 16-5, in the third quarter to cut it to 50-34. But Chatham held on for the victory. to improve to a 26-5 record.

The Blue Knights were making their first section final appearance since 2013 when they lost to Newark East Side in North Jersey Section 2, Group 3.

Irvington had a 7-6 record before going on a six-game winning streak. The win streak was snapped with a 76-50 loss to second-seeded Newark East Side in the Essex County Tournament firt round. Irvington was the No. 15 seed, beating No. 30 seed Cedar Grove in the preliminary first round and No. 18 seed Glen Ridge in the preliminary second round. East Side went on to win the ECT title for the second year in a row and won the North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 state title.

IHS defeated 12th-seeded Nutley, 75-45, Feb. 26 in the first round, 13th-seeded Parsippany Hills,75-57, Feb. 28, in the quarterfinals; and eighth-seeded Colonia, 53-42, March 3, in the semifinals, all at home, in the section tournament.

Irvington this season lost to such good teams as Bloomfield Tech, twice, in the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division; North Bergen and Millburn. Bloomfield Tech won the North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 state title with a win over Glen Ridge, while North Bergen was runner-up in North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 after losing to Hackensack. Irvington split its two meetings with Millburn, which finished 23-4 and won the SEC-Colonial Division title over second-place Bloomfield Tech.

After beating Irvington, Chatham defeated Demarest in the Group 3 semifinal before losing to Nottingham in the final to finish 27-6. Chatham this season won the Morris County Tournament title for the third straight year.