The Courier-News from Bridgewater, New Jersey on March 14, 1987 · Page 21
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The Courier-News from Bridgewater, New Jersey · Page 21

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Bridgewater, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Saturday, March 14, 1987
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Page 21
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r TheGouner-Neujs C-1 NCAA basketball C-3 D Pro baseball C-6 Wrestling C-4 Saturday, March 14, 1987 u North roars again Lions win third crown is the bests By KEVIN L. WHITMER Courier-News Staff Writer PISCATAWAY - Beth Gromlowicz, Darlene Andrews, Lori Kuchman and Jen Morecraft started something they can't finish. But that didn't stop them from putting their hearts and soles into last night's Group 3 state championship game against Mendham. The four North Hunterdon seniors led a Lion attack that literally ran over, past and around Mendham to the tune of 82-40 for the state championship at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. North has now won 81 straight games, one shy of Gloucester Catholic's state record. The four seniors have been at the center of it all, and last night they put an exclamation point at the end of their high school careers. "We wanted to leave our mark," said Gromlowicz, who led all scorers with 28 points. She was named Most Valuable Player, but the whole North team had a piece of the trophy especially the seniors. "We finally put it all together tonight," North coach Bill Snyder said. "I kept waiting for it all year. I guess we saved the best for last." It didn't take long for North to get rolling. The Lions jumped out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter. Their cold-shooting starts in their last two wins were a thing of the past; this was their night. They were ready to play this game. Gromlowicz had eight in the first quarter, and Andrews added six to help North jump ahead. But more importantly, they set the tone for the rest of the game. Mendham couldn't stop North's running game. When the Lions are shooting well and running, See NORTH on Page C-4 - n : . ' --r-.; Y ' l . K ' . W - V.-Y r'T'1... . Nev photo rv S!ev K'nvii Marty Vybihal, an assistant coach at Bridgewater-Raritan West, gives the victory signal as the Golden Falcons soar to a victory in the state Croup 3 finals at the Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway. PlaninrfiAlffl'Q Mi miter is Vfcfiidv to face Lady Knights today I By JOE CALABRESE Courier-News Staff Writer . Kim Hunter of Plainfield has no ' intention of playing her final collegiate basketball game less than 10 miles from her hometown. "We didn't come up here to lose," said Hunter, a former Union Catholic High School standout. She will start at point guard for Duke this afternoon when the Lady Blue Devils (19-9) play No. 5-ranked Rutgers in a second-round game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Basketball Tournament at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Game . time is 2 o'clock. . "All we've heard lately is Rutgers this, Rutgers that, Rutgers is fantas- t tic, but all I know is that basketball ; games aren't won in polls or in the media or on paper," said the 5-foot-5 Hunter. "They're won on the court." , And on the court is where Kim Hunter is most comfortable. Even though she has been a reserve most of the season to fellow senior Carol Son-zogni of Teaneck, Hunter regained her starting role in the recent Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and has held it since. "Kim has had some excellent games for us, and she's struggled on some other occasions, but I think she's ready to play well for us against Rutgers since she's going to have some friends and relatives there," said Duke coach Debbie Leonard. "She'll be a key factor for us." Hunter appreciates the kind words from her coach, but realizes this game could be her last hurrah. It's one loss and out. But to Kim Hunter, it won't be the end of the world. "Win or lose," she said, "all I know is that our team will have left our hearts out there on the court." Hunter also realizes that if Duke is to win no team has defeated the Lady Knights at home since Penn State's victory two years ago she must play well. "I've got to control the tempo, break when Debbie wants us to run, run offense, distribute the ball effectively and generally just be a coach out on the floor," Hunter said. Those responsibilities are much more than Hunter shouldered while playing at Union Catholic under head coach Kathy Matthews. "In high school, I had a different role," she said. "I was pretty much allowed to do whatever I was comfortable doing. But the reason was I didn't have as many great players that surround me (as) here." Hunter doesn't remember who recruited her out of high school. She loved Duke the first time she set eyes on the campus. "It was my first and only visit, and I knew I wanted to go there," she said. "I just fell in love with the place." The difference between then and now, according to Hunter, is incredible. "When I arrived at Duke the pro- By TOM LONG Courier-News Staff Writer PISCATAWAY - Bridgewater-Raritan West state champions, 1987. West shocked the skeptics, stunned the non-believers and yes, perhaps even surprised their own faithful fans. But the Golden Falcons last night proved their basketball superiority among Group 3 schools when they posted an impressive 76-57 victory over Shabazz High School of Newark in the state Group 3 finals before 4,000 fans at the Lious Brown Athletic Center here. As it has often been during this magical season, the man of the hour for West (29-1) was senior guard Eric Murdock, who pumped in 28 points and pulled down' 14 rebounds. But there were many heroes this night, including unsung forward Bill Ettel, who scored 14 points and had five rebounds and junior guard Dave Miller, who hit for 18 points, including eight-for-eight at the foul line. "Super, just super what else can you say," said West coach Vaughn Stapleton moments after the stirring victory. "At halftime I felt that we could stay with them. But I told the kids that they had to take the ball to the basket. And that's what we did." The Golden Falcons, overlooked by many as a state contender when the tournament started two weeks ago, did more than stay with Shabazz (24-2). West jumped out to a quick lead, saw if dwindle away, but came back in the second half with a ferocious all-around effort and outscored the Newark school 25-9 in the fourth quarter. The Golden Falcons, confident at the outset, surged to a 22-16 lead after one quarter as Murdock hit for 10 points and Ettel added six. But Shabazz, with junior forward Reggie Collins scoring eight of his team-high 21 points and 6-foot-9 senior center Anthony Avent adding six in the second quarter, grabbed a 32-30 lead at the half. . After having its inside game shut out in the second quarter, West began More inside Columnist Paul Franklin writes about the things B-R West overcame on the way to this state title. Page C-5. Players from Malcom X. Shabazz had plenty of praise for Eric Murdock and his teammates from B-R West. Page C-5. gram was in a rebuilding process," she said. "We were trying to come through the ranks in a very tough league, and I think Debbie worked hard to get the type of players she wanted and needed to improve the program. The key was that she was patient. "I got a chance to see the program grow and that's been exciting. Just to play a small role in that has been tremendously rewarding." But Hunter doesn't want it to end yet. Not for a few more weeks. "Let's face it, we having nothing to lose and everything to gain," Hunter said of this afternoon's game with Rutgers. "I personally think we're in a good situation because nobody expects us to win but us. I know I don't feel any pressure, and I don't think my teammates do either." An upset would allow Duke a berth in the East regional next week in Fayetteville, N.C., where the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament was ... i A KIM HUNTER ...a starter at Duke held two weeks ago. But a loss this afternoon would mark the end of Kim Hunter's collegiate basketball career. "Yeah, I'll probably get a little ' emotional about that when the time comes because I have some good memories," she said. "But when it does come to an end, I'll just look forward to going to Seton Hall Law School to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer." to penetrate and get good shots in the third quarter to take the lead for good. The game was last tied at 42-42, when Collins hit an 18-foot jumper from the left side for Shabazz with 3:35 left in the quarter. Seconds later, Ettel drove the left baseline, banked in a layup and was fouled by Avent to put West ahead 44-42. Ettel's free throw was good and the Golden Falcons never trailed after that. "Billy (Ettel) was very, very confident tonight," explained Stapleton. "He doesn't have great ability, but he's a gutsy kid. He was the guy who was encouraging everyone else at halftime he showed his leadership tonight." Holding a slim 51-48 lead entering the fourth quarter, West began the surge that would clinch the state championship. Murdock, who seemed to be everywhere in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, followed up a miss with a layup to make it 53-48. Alray Blackmon canned a jumper from the right corner to cut the deficit to 53-50, but Shabazz would never get closer. Murdock answered Blackmon's basket by posting up and sinking a jump-hook in the paint for a five-point lead and, moments later, put back a miss by Dave Miller to make it 57-50 in favor of West with just under six minutes to play. : "I'll be honest with you, I've See WEST on Page C-5 The Hall falls to Niagara BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Seton Hall made a late charge, but fell short last night as Niagara held on for a 74-65 victory in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament The Purple Eagles, 21-9, advanced after withstanding several late rallies by the 15-14 Pirates, who had closed to within three at 68-65 on Mark Bryant's 3-point shot with 1:02 to play. But Alex Agudio, who scored a career-high 34 points, hit four of four free throws and Gary Bossert added two more from the foul line to ensure the victory. Bryant led the Pirates with 19 points, while Ramon Ramos had 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Niagara scored only one more field goal than Seton Hall, but won the game by canning 24 of 30 from the See HALL on Page C-3 Mets' John Gibbons shoots to back up Gary Carter ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. John Gibbons remembers the days when he had a Gary Carter poster on the wall in his room. "That was when I was an 18-year-old kid playing minor league ball in Kingsport," Gibbons recalled yesterday as he sat in Mets locker room at Huggins-Stengel Field. "Gary was the best and I wanted to be like the best." Gibbons chuckled. "I've taken that poster down," he said. There was a time, in December 1984, when Gibbons wished he'd never heard of Gary Carter. That was right after the Mets acquired Carter in a trade with Montreal. Suddenly, Gibbons' whole world was shaken. "IT WAS A SHOCK," Gibbons said this week. "A letdown. Until then, I figured I was going to get a real shot at being the Mets' No. 1 catcher the next year. But, once they had Gary, you knew he'd play every day and I didn't know what would happen to me." Almost everybody is familiar with the John Gibbons saga. A spring training sensation three years ago as 21-year-old rookie, Gibbons suffered a fractured cheekbone in late March and a strained elbow the next month. He was eventually sent back to the minor leagues and he remained there for the rest of 1984, all Spring training John Belis Courier-News Sports Writer of 1985 and most of 1986. But now Gibbons is back. He's one of five catchers in camp battling for the No. 2 job behind Carter. "There was a time when I'd lost confidence in myself," Gibbons admits. "I was struggling and I wondered whether the Mets had given up on me. When you're down in the minors and somebody like Gary is ahead of you, you start wondering whether you're ever going to get out of there." Yet now Gibbons' confidence is sky-high. He considers himself the best defensive catcher in the organization and he's probably right He led the International League with a .993 fielding percentage last season and there's every indication that the Mets are high on him. "THE CRUCIAL TIME for me came last August when Gary injured his thumb and they brought me up from Tidewater," says Gibbons. "I think I proved to them that I could do the job." Gibbons batted .474 in eight games for the Mets with four doubles and a home run. He was also the middle man in the Mets' most spectacular defensive play of the season, tagging out Garry Templeton at the plate in San Diego despite a fierce collison. Gibbons then scrambled to his feet and threw to third base to complete a double play that ended the game. "Yeah, I got some good publicity from that play," Gibbons said. "It made the highlight film. The important thing is that now I'm back in their plans. "I've faced a lot of adversity and learned to handle it . I'm more mature than I was three years ago. More relaxed. And I'm a better ballplayer." Gibbons gets excited just talking about catching. "I've been a catcher since my second year in Little League," he says. "I love it It's the perfect spot for me. Even playing other sports, like football, I always liked getting dirty. You don't have to be fast to be a catcher just tough. "As a kid, I used, to watch all of the catchers on television. I'd watch their stance or the way they held their glove to set the target. Then, I'd practice in front of the mirror. Every catcher does things differently. Johnny Bench was my favorite, but you couldn't copy him because he was such a natural He didn't do things the way they teach you." GIBBONS THINKS HE was born to be a catcher. "After a while, you feel naked when you're not wearing the catching gear," he says. "I get a good feeling when I'm wearing the equipment It's a feeling of extra strength. Like I'm wearing armor. "You get to the point where you're more comfortable squatting than you are standing up." And yet, as much as he loves the position defensively, Gibbons is convinced that he'll have to produce offensively to win the backup job. So far, he's 2-for-6 this spring and he's scheduled to play this afternoon when the Mets face the Red Sox at Al Lang Stadium. See METS on Page C-4- Cnminn UU irKINU bLtNt: Expanded coverage THE AREA'S BEST: The Courier-News f from maior eaeue haspha rs snrini? tua kQt hLothnll ntavorc : fmm mainr Ipnono hacohall'c cnrino HQ XI WGGK training camps continues. salutes the best basketball players and wrestlers in Central Jersey. TO CALL THE EDITOR Sports Editor Tom Perry can be reached by calling 722-8800, ext. 446.

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