The New Bergen County Tournament

The New Bergen County Tournament

Meadow Garcia scoring a layup for Demarest at the Bergen County Tournament. Picture taken and used with permission by Khay'la Latimer.

For years people have considered ways to improve the BCWCA‘s Bergen County Tournament. As the most populated county in New Jersey, Bergen County has 73 high schools and 54 that have basketball programs. There is a huge difference in the level of ability between the top team and the weakest. With only 32 potential spots in the tournament this means some interested teams would not get the opportunity to play and about 16 of those who do are unlikely to have competitive first round games.

During the 2016-2017 season the NJIC created a tournament for teams not participating in the Bergen County tournament. However, it also included teams who were not from Bergen County. New Milford High School won that tournament.

This year the BCWCA created two brackets: the Championship Bracket and the Invitational Bracket. The Championship Bracket follows the traditional format and was advertised to the toughest teams in Bergen County. The Invitational Bracket was for other strong teams whose coaches did not think they would be able to compete in the Championship Bracket. Together, both brackets have the potential to host 64 teams competing for a county title. For the 2018-2019 season 18 teams signed up to play in the Championship bracket and 24 teams signed up to play in the Invitational bracket.

So far this season most games in the Championship bracket have been nail biters. In the first round the 17th seeded Park Ridge squeaked by the 16th seeded Indian Hills, 34-29. There was only one other first round game, in which 15th seeded Hackensack defeated 18th seeded Rutherford, 34-21.

Last weekend’s second round results were as follows:
The 1st seeded Saddle River Day defeated Park Ridge, 78-34. Saddle River Day, who features four D1 players (Michelle Sidor – Michigan, Jaida Patrick – Notre Dame, Jenna Jordan – LIU Brooklyn, and Sydnei Caldwell – Arizona) presents a serious match-up problem for every team in New Jersey. They pack a serious punch with all players having the potential to score from any spot on the court. Their full-court press was difficult for Park Ridge to beat. Michelle Sidor finished with 21 points, Sydnei Caldwell with 15 points, and Jaayden LaFontant with 13 points.

Park Ridge’s freshman Ella Madden came into the game as sixth man on fire. She scored Park Ridge’s first points of the game by driving hard to the basket. She finished with 10 points.

The 8th seeded Immaculate Conception (Lodi) had a lead by ten against the 9th seeded Ramapo High School when Ramapo went on a run. Ramapo tied the game, but IC battled back for the win. Immaculate Conception defeated Ramapo, 44-38.

Ramapo’s freshman Madison Schiller is a strong guard who never rests. She had 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 8 points. Lauren Achter is a great outside shooter who finished with 12 points.

IC’s Jariah Patterson had several crucial three-point shots to help earn the lead back for the team. She finished with 13 points. Eleanor Robinson added 10 points.

The 12th seeded Westwood High School upset the 5th seeded Northern Highlands, 44-28. Westwood’s Rachel Bussanich still has a strong inside game. She boxes out, goes for rebounds, and goes up strong with the ball. She tore down 16 rebounds and had 12 points. Hannah Jackson is a great defender who rebounds and contests shots. She is good a drawing fouls and finished with 20 points. Northern Highlands’ Anna Sciuto is a nice outside shooter. She had 13 points.

The 4th seeded Paramus Catholic defeated the 13th seeded Ridgefield Park, 62-49. The game was down to the wire until the fourth quarter when Paramus Catholic out-scored Ridgefield Park 19-3. At the half-time the score was 24-23, with PC in the lead. Ridgefield Park had a great third quarter and ended in the lead 46-43. PC’s Julianna Kascic had a great game. She worked hard inside and scored 22 points. Janel Moore had 11 points and Caitlin Conlon had 10 pints. Ridgefield Park’s Tatiana Bruno handles the ball nicely. She had 10 points. Diana Vucetovic also had 10 points and Kendall Shaw had 11 points.

The 2nd seeded IHA defeated 15th seeded Hackensack, 61-32. Hackensack’s power forward, Kyara Cowan, is out with an injury. As a result, Hackensack had difficulty guarding Anna Morris. She had 20 points. Eliya Herriott and Emma Matesic both added 13 points a piece. Hackensack’s Caleigh Golabek worked hard inside for Hackensack. She had 15 points.

The 7th seeded Pascack Valley defeated the 10th seeded River Dell, 48-47. River Dell almost earned the upset by playing an amazing game and earning a lead of 10 points early in the fourth quarter.

River Dell’s senior Bridget Cahill (committed to Ramapo College) had 20 points, which included six three-point shots.

Pascack Valley, lead by Brianna Smith, made a huge comeback in the fourth quarter. They tenaciously drove to the basket until they earned the lead back with just 4 seconds remaining.

The 11th seeded Ridgewood defeated the 6th seeded Demarest, 36-26. The first quarter score was very low scoring, ending with Ridgewood in the lead, 4-1. This was a result of both teams playing tough defense and contesting and denying shot opportunities. Jackie Wolak is very tough to guard given her speed, scoring ability, and court vision. She had 12 points.

Demarest’s Dayna Tirado had 12 points and both Meadow Garcia and Gabi Cammaleri had 6 points each.

The 3rd seeded Old Tappan defeated the the 11th seeded Cresskill, 35-34. The game came down to the final seconds of the game when Noelle Gonzalez’s basket earned OT the win. Cresskill’s Colleen McQuillen can score from any spot on the floor. She had 24 points, which included scoring her 1,000th point. Old Tappan’s Jackie Kelly was on from the outside. She had 18 points.

Here are the match-ups for the Quarterfinals:
Saddle River Day (1) vs ICHS Lodi (8)
Paramus Catholic (4) vs Westwood (12)
Old Tappan (3) vs Ridgewood (11)
IHA (2) vs PV (7)