PISCATAWAY -- Myles Mack paced a balanced scoring attack with 19 points and Lucious Jones added 12 points and 11 rebounds, leading St. Anthony to a convincing 62-45 victory over St. Patrick of Elizabeth for the NJSIAA Non-Public B North championship Wednesday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center in a battle between the nation's top two high school basketball programs.
It was the first time in high school basketball history that the nation's top two teams faced each other in a state playoff game.
The victory enabled the Friars (29-0), who were ranked No. 2 in most national polls, to move on to the Non-Public B title game Saturday in Toms River against Cardinal McCarrick of South Amboy with the chance to collect the 26th state championship in the school's history.
The Friars broke open a close game by outscoring the Celtics (26-1), 23-5, in the final quarter. Trailing 40-39 entering the last quarter, the Friars scored the first eight points of the final period to take a 47-40 lead. Jones gave the Friars the lead for good with a driving layup with 7:21 remaining and Kyle Anderson (11 points, eight rebounds, five assists) scored on a post move, then made the block and pass that led to a breakaway layup by Jordan Quick that gave the Friars a 47-40 lead with 5:18 remaining.
The Friars played stifling defense on St. Patrick's All-American forward Michael Gilchrist, who managed just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting. They also held the high-scoring Celtics, the nation's No. 1 team most of the season, to just five points in the final quarter.
For more on the game, see Jim Hague's scoreboard column.--Jim Hague