St. Anthony wins Tournament of Champions crown by defeating Linden, 55-38

TRENTON – It might have been three years in the making, but New Jersey’s historically-elite high school basketball program reigns supreme once again.
Led by 16 points off the bench from senior guard Asante Gist, St. Anthony capped the eighth undefeated season of its storied history by defeating Linden, 55-38, to capture the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title at the Sun National Bank Center last Monday night.
The Friars (32-0) won the T of C title for a record 13th time and the first time since 2012. No other school in New Jersey has captured the T of C crown more than five times. The next nearest competitor, St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth, has five.
It was the first time since 2012 that the Friars won the T of C. That year, the Friars, led by current San Antonio Spurs forward Kyle Anderson, finished a two-year streak without a loss and won two straight T of C titles.
Besides Gist, the Friars received 11 points from junior guard R.J. Cole and 10 points each from senior guard Jagan Mosely and senior forward Idris Joyner.
The Friars withstood a second-period run from the Tigers and took a 24-20 halftime lead on a 3-pointer from Gist at the buzzer. Gist scored seven of his 10 first half points in a span of just 2:20, including a long 3-point bomb at the buzzer.
The Friars then put some distance between themselves and the pesky Tigers by outscoring Linden, 9-3, to open the third quarter and to open up a 33-23 lead. Joyner had four points during that stretch including two free throws.
It was Joyner’s lay-in down low with 4:23 left in the third that pushed the lead to double digits.
Juvaris Hayes had a steal and a layup that gave the Friars their biggest lead at 38-26 with 1:22 remaining in the third period. Hayes only scored those two points, but managed to grab 11 rebounds and have seven assists.
St. Anthony outscored Linden, 17-8, in the third quarter to take a commanding 41-28 advantage into the final period.
“We beat a very good team tonight,” St. Anthony legendary head coach Bob Hurley said. “It was a very rewarding season. I never expected this team to be undefeated. It just shows the maturity of our senior class. We had a short team tonight, but they were physically tough. It really was a unique year.”
Before the season, Mosely decided to wear the uniform No. 0 – symbolizing the number of state championships that he had won as a player at the school.
But after winning the T of C, Mosely said that he’s retiring the numeral and promised to wear No. 4 at Georgetown University, where he will attend in the fall.
The Friars featured a host of seniors, which caused Hurley to admit that this could very well be the last state championship that the school will win.
Over Hurley’s Hall of Fame coaching career that has included more than 1,150 victories, St. Anthony has captured an astounding 28 NJSIAA state titles and now 13 of the T of C variety.
In fact, the T of C was adopted in 1989 to take advantage of the immense popularity of the St. Anthony team that year that featured future NBA first round draft selections Bobby Hurley, Terry Dehere and Rodrick Rhodes.

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