Kehler on Hooops: GEORGE DEFEATS PREVIOUSLY UNBEATEN ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 60-48
Written by: Dell Jackson on Monday, February 7th, 2022
GEORGE DEFEATS PREVIOUSLY UNBEATEN ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 60-48
With a furious fourth quarter rally, George defeated previously unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas (Edison, NJ) 60-48 Sunday evening in the final contest in the four day Metro Classic showcase at the RWJBarnabus Health Arena in Toms River, NJ. George, a non-PIAA member of the Friends’ Schools League, is now 13-2 on the season and has won four straight games. St. Thomas Aquainas, ranked #4 in New Jersey by the website nj.com, entered the game with a 20-0 record.
The game was close until George broke it open with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Until then, neither team had led by more than six points. Through the first 28 minutes, the game was primarily a defensive battle, with both teams forcing lots of turnovers, and neither squad developing much offensive momentum. During that span, there were four ties and six lead changes. George has one of the tallest teams in Pennsylvania, but they were actually out rebounded in the game by the hustling, quick New Jersey squad. 6′ 4″ George sophomore Christian Bliss had a tremendous fourth quarter, scoring 12 points and leading his team’s decisive charge in the late going.
George trailed by one point entering the fourth quarter, and they had a small surge from a couple of Bliss free throws and a fast break layup by 6′ 4″ senior Kyle Anderson at the end of the third frame. A few minutes into the fourth quarter, George was down 45-44, and then they launched an 11-0 run to seal the win. The run started with a jumper by Bliss, followed by Bliss’ putback of his own miss, a fast break layup by Anderson, two free throws by 6′ 7″ senior Evan Heffelfinger, two free throws by Bliss, and a free throw by 6′ 10″ senior Gestin Liberis. That gave George a 55-45 lead with 2;26 left in the game, and St. Thomas Aquinas couldn’t recover. George held St. Thomas Aquinas to just 19 points in the second half.
St. Thomas Aquinas significantly out rebounded the taller George 34 to 26. St. Thomas Aquinas committed 19 turnovers to 18 for George. George was 16 of 20 from the free throw line, including 12 of 14 in the fourth quarter. St. Thomas Aquinas was six of nine from the stripe. Each team made four three pointers.
George scoring: Christian Bliss 23, Kachi Nzeh 15, Dante Weise 7, Kyle Anderson 6, Evan Heffelfinger 5, and Gestin Liberis 4. St. Thomas Aquinas’ top scorers were seniors Adam Silas, who had 17 points, and Samar Abdullah, who netted 11.
George 14 9 15 22-60
St. Thomas Aquinas 16 13 10 9-48
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