By, Drew Peltzman
January 13, 2023
Ewing basketball’s undefeated season came to the brink Friday night against Lawrence (1-9), but ultimately sustained with a tense 59-56 victory.
Following Tuesday’s triple-overtime marathon against Hightstown, Ewing looked to pull away from Lawrence early, but the scrappy Cardinals team played spoiler from the onset.
Senior guard Brandon Ford carried the Cardinals offense early, transferring the little momentum the team had from gathering its first victory of the season that same Tuesday. His 12 first-half points lead Lawrence in fending off the relentless offense Ewing deployed.
The baton was then passed to Lawrence guard Michael Boisselle who scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, and hit a clutch three with just four seconds left to bring the score to 59-56.
The tremendous Lawrence effort fell just short of becoming a certified trap game. Ewing’s last eight points came via free throws in the final 1:32 of the fourth quarter.
“We work on [free throws] all the time. We put them on the line with pressure situations,” ,” Ewing Head Coach Shelly Dearden said.
Senior Blue Devils Kenny Rankin (24 points) and Naire Preston (15 points) helped secure the victory at the line, and lead their team to an 11-0 record. This is the school’s best start to a basketball season since 2014-2015, when Ewing started 18-0 en-route to a division championship.
“We have to stop coming out strong and then giving up the lead,” Dearden said. “We have to keep the lead and then continue to build on it.”
Dearden’s frustrations stemmed from Ewing’s unforced errors, and poor clock management down the stretch. Having coached the 2014-2015 squad, the historic standard is within focus for the 2023 Blue Devils. They take on Hackettstown this Saturday.
The heartbreaking loss puts Lawrence at 1-10. They now have four losses decided by three points or fewer on the season, making them a prime suspect for upsets in future matchups. They play Hillsborough this Saturday.