High School Basketball update: Only six games are left in the Southwestern 2A regular season. East Rutherford holds the lead on the Men's side, with Shelby take behind. Meanwhile, the R-S Central girls coming into the week were playing maybe the best of all the conference teams, but they could easily have lost to the East Rutherford ladies, who had won 11 in row.
East Rutherford (15-1, 4-0) picked up two big wins as they snuck past Shelby 81-78. Owen Chapman was on fire from three-point land in the first half, but Christian Walker lit it up in the second half as they escaped a massive Shelby rally at the end. The Cavs survived East Gaston on the road 61-57.
The Cavs will go to South Point on 2/1 before heading home to take on Chase 2/5. As for the Shelby game last week, here is a snippet from the coach.
"I like how Christian (Walker) never let a tough first half frustrate him in the second," East Rutherford Basketball Coach Brad Levine said. I thought we played very unselfish and to have four guys in double figures tell me that we are continuing to shoot it well."
R-S Central (12-6, 2-2) won twice this week as well by a buzzer beating three at East Gaston and then walloped Chase by 30. The Hilltoppers are now tied for the third in the Southwestern 2A before they faced East Rutherford. The Hilltoppers will go to Shelby on 2/1 before hosting South Point on 2/5.
East Rutherford (15-1, 4-0) has been playing a little bit better as they survived an improved Shelby by five and then downed East Gaston by 14. While they have played well enough to win, Osha Makerson continues to make her mark among the state's better point guards. Jazmine and Jayla Twitty are showing improvement despite being two of the youngest on the team.
R-S Central (11-7, 4-0) has played a tough schedule and proving that all the prep has worked in league play. Central has beaten East Gaston and Shelby combined by 50 points, while East Rutherford did it by 19 combined points. They had won five in a row coming into the East Rutherford game. Jada Logan, who had put up over 1,00 points for her career, still leads the way as the senior.
Rams vs Patriots
Well, Nick Foles did it a year ago, why can't Jared Goff beat Tom Brady and the Patriots?
Honestly, the Rams have the better defensively line, running back and overall youth. The Patriots used strategy, experience and somehow, by Dec. or January, they have it figured out well enough to be the most dangerous playoff team in the last 15 years or so.
I see both coaches trying to pressure both quarterbacks, so running the football and hitting check down receivers will be key.
I like how New England runs the football, they use James Develin (6-3, 255) as the lead blocker unless they are inside the three, then Develin just takes it. The Patriots just do a number of little things right. They don't have the greatest defense, but it has been better as the year went along.
The Rams should win this game just by personnel alone, but Belichek gets the most out of his players. With that said, my gut feeling is Patriots 34-24. I just believe in the Pats, especially in how they have played the last couple of games.