WEST ORANGE, NJ (updated Tuesday Jan. 2, 9:19 a.m.) – The Seton Hall Prep varsity basketball team participated in the Neptune Holiday Jubilee at Neptune HS last week and won the title for the third time in eight appearances. In 2013, there was not enough teams so it was considered a showcase and in 2012 the title game that SHP was in was snowed out and never played.
In the opener on Dec. 27, SHP defeated Bloomfield Tech, 63-50. Sophomore guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim led the team with 13 points and seven rebounds while junior guard Ashton Miller scored 12 points with four rebounds, five assists, and three steals, senior forward Alex Imegwu had 11 points, and five rebounds and junior guard Geordan Walker scored 10 points with four rebounds. In the second quarter, three starters had foul trouble but the other players stepped up. After the game, SHP Head Coach Kevin Williams said, “Guys that came in the second quarter had a lot of energy and kept the game close. In the second half, we fed off the energy.”
In the semifinals on Dec. 28, SHP defeated Lincoln of Jersey City, 49-48. Going into the fourth quarter, SHP trailed Lincoln, 41-37, but Walker and Imegwu hit consecutive three-pointers to give SHP a 43-41 lead with 4:36 left. Later in the quarter, the score was tied at 46-46 when Imegwu hit a three-pointer with :49 left to give SHP the lead for good. Following the game, Imegwu said, “We had to get focused at halftime. We came out strong in the second half and were locked in with our defense. We stepped up the intensity and focused on better rebounding on both the offensive and defensive boards.” Williams added, “In the second half, we switched defenses and kept them off balance. Our rebounding was much better in the second half which was a big key to the victory.” Imegwu finished with a game-high 23 points and added five rebounds, while Abdur-Rahim pulled down 10 rebounds.
In the title game on Dec 30, SHP defeated Neptune, 64-52. Miller, the Tournament Most Valuable Player, finished with 28 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, while Abdur-Rahim scored 16 points with seven rebounds. Miller had been SHP’s hottest hand throughout the game. In the fourth quarter, after Neptune cut the Prep lead to one point, Miller scored 12 points, including an 8-of-9 showing from the foul line. He finished the game 11-of-12 from the foul line. He said after the game, “I just wanted to make a play for my team whether it was scoring, passing or rebounding. We also wanted to stay together as a team and we accomplished that.” Imegwu finished with 10 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Williams said, “We had a lot of energy early in the game and defended really well. They (Neptune) went on a run in the fourth quarter but I told the team during the timeout with 6:13 to go that we needed to get back to what gave us the big lead early in the game and we did that.”
SHP improved to a 6-0 record.
Miller’s three-game stat line for the tournament was: 11 two-pointers, four 3-pointers, 15-of-20 free throws;11 rebounds, 16 assists, five steals, 16.3 points-per game.