Montclair Basketball: Lions stumble early, falls to top-ranked Roselle Catholic, 92-63
by Andrew Garda
ROSELLE — Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug, or at least so goes the saying.
Sometimes you, the bug and the windshield all get crushed under some tank treads.
That's as good a description as any to describe what happened to a talented Immaculate Conception basketball team which just ran into a dominant Roselle Catholic team and lost, 92-63.
It's not so much that IC isn't good — it's that Roselle was far better. A team with just four losses, and who can compete with many of the other top ranked teams across the country, RC just has more weapons and talent than just about anybody.
And that was fairly evident Saturday afternoon.
Over the past two games, where IC had beaten higher ranked teams like Hudson Catholic and the Patrick School, the Lions had been dominant inside, attacking the rim and battling at the glass for rebounds.
Against the length and athleticism of RC, the Lions seemed almost intimidated. They settled for perimeter shots in the first quarter, and very rarely followed those shots up for an attempt at a rebound.
Roselle had no such hesitation, and often scored on a second chance, if they even missed the first shot.
At the end of the first, IC trailed 20-9 and things looked grim. They improved a little in the second quarter on offense as Immaculate seemed to find its stroke, but defensively they had no answer for Roselle, who entered halftime with a commanding 41-24 lead.
Still, head coach Jimmy Salmon said he felt his team was going to get a run and turn things around in the third.
He was half right, as IC put together a 26-point quarter in the third.
Unfortunately, the defense still couldn't contain Roselle, which scored 28 points itself, the highest total for a quarter for them in the game.
It seemed like every time the Lions crept closer to their opponent, Roselle managed to widen the gap again.
The fourth quarter saw the Lions looking tired and frustrated. They continued to play hard, but so did RC, which began generating turnovers again, and transitioning with brutal efficiency down the floor. By the time the middle of the fourth quarter came, Roselle was dunking almost at will, exciting the crowd and running away from Immaculate.
Jalen Carey and Justin Winston would each finish their IC careers with a 20-point game, but Roselle Catholic had four players in double digits, including a dominant 29-point performance by Kahlil Whitney.
At the end of the day, Roselle just had too many weapons for a good Immaculate team to overcome.
Check out the Thursday print edition of the Montclair Local and this website for a complete breakdown of the game, as well as quotes from coach Jimmy Salmon.