The transformation continues for Hudson Catholic [N.J.], which finished the Beach Ball Classic on a high note with a 56-51 win over Scott County in Monday’s third-place game.
Reggie Cameron had a game-best 21 points for the Hawks, Safee Sabur added 13 points and Kyle McLeggan added 10.
The win was the next step for a program that continues to grow under fourth-year coach Nick Mariniello.
“It’s good for us because when we get into county tournament and state tournament time, we’re going to see different styles of play and I think that really helped us,” Mariniello said. “…We still have DeMatha (Md.) on our schedule, and we still have Pope John, Sparta, St. Anthony’s and St. Peter’s Prep when we get home [to New Jersey], but this stuff will make us better. Our schedule is a national-level schedule this year. It wasn’t last year, so I think this will only help us down the road.”
Hudson Catholic was a .500 team when Mariniello took over four years ago. Since then the team has won back-to-back league championships and the Hudson County tournament and boasted a 25-3 record last season.
The teams were tied at 26 at halftime, but the Cardinals, normally a solid 3-point shooting team, went cold beyond the arc in the second half, going just 1-for-9.
Both sides traded leads early on the second half before Scott County took a 5-point edge on a lay-up and foul shot from Andrew Short.
But the lead was short lived as the Hawks went on a 10-0 run keyed by six straight points from Kavon Stewart, and Hudson would not give up the lead again.
“Some young guys stepped up today,” Mariniello said. “I thought we could have rebounded the basketball a little better and taken care of the ball on certain possessions, but [Scott County] is very good team, a very well coached team, and I’m happy to go home 3-1.”
Quin Richardson, who did not play in Scott County’s last game due to injuries, led his team with 13 points, and Jalen Haddix added 10.
• HUDSON CATHOLIC (56) – Kavon Stewart 6, Reggie Cameron 21, Nassir Barrino 3, Kyle McLeggan 10, Safee Sabur 13, Adam Traore 1, Sammy Friday 2.
• SCOTT COUNTY (51) – Jalen Haddix 10, Quin Richardson 13, Trent Gilbert 7, Jordan Tribble 4, Tony Martini 3, Tyler Page 3, Seth Crank 6, Andrew Short 5.• Halftime: Tie 26-26. 3-point goals: Hudson Catholic 3 (Cameron, McLeggan 2); Scott County 3 (Richardson, Gilbert, Page). Team fouls: Hudson Catholic 12, Scott County 17. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Hudson Catholic 7-1, Scott County 10-4