The Nottingham High School NorthStars (21-5) and Freehold High School (20-7) were both in the hunt for a trip to the NJ Central Group 3 Championship.

Both teams began the game filled with mistakes. It may have been due to the pure energy of the gym at tip-off but the communication was off and passes were not connecting. Freehold’s were the first to dig themselves out of this hole though as they built an 8-2 lead nearly a third of the way through the first quarter. Play continued and both teams found their stride on offense but with such an early advantage the North Stars were left trailing in a 16-8 ball game with 2:28 still left on the clock. As time quickly faded in the 1st quarter the Colonials were looking like the much better team as they were putting balls up for 3 like it was nothing. The Colonials lead the Stars by 8 as the score rests at 21-13 heading into the 2nd.

The 2nd quarter saw a resounding comeback as Nottingham was able to chip away at the lead making it a 26-23 ballgame near the middle of the quarter. A fight for the ball saw Senior Domenic Raymond at the bottom of the failed layup during a NorthStar Breakaway. As the final seconds faded the Stars dished a pass out to the corner where senior Jordan Raba was able to tie the game 28-28 heading into the half giving us a brand new game.

Nottingham came out of the gates flying in the 2nd half as the Colonials let up seven unanswered and even had to call a timeout because of the pure energy of the crowd. The Stars were an unstoppable machine and there wasn’t anything the Colonials could do to stop it. The Colonials seemed more tired and less motivated than they had been all game. The score was 41-28 as the Colonials had to call another timeout due to the momentum of the game pulling away from them so fast and uncontrollably. Both teams continued fighting for the momentum but as the quarter trickled away the Stars were left with a 50-41 lead.

The gym was rocking and the Colonials made it clear they weren’t going down without a fight. The Colonials tore apart the stars lead and brought the score to 50-48 just a 1:30 into the quarter. The traveling crowd was loud, and it was clear the Stars were hearing it as they had to waste away a timeout just to turn the crowd down a notch. With 22 seconds and the Colonials leading by 1 point off of a foul shot. The final play came from the hand of the Stars and after a badly framed shot the Colonials were going back home victorious 58-56 punching their ticket to the New Jersey Central Group 3 finals.