Shabazz Takes Jersey TOCHalted only by a scheduling snafu last year,
Shabazz takes the New Jersey TOC for the fourth time in six years.
Shabazz celebrates its fourth New Jersey TOC title in six years.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jynae Judson put an exclamation point on four-year career at Shabazz High of Newark.
Sensing a second straight year without winning New Jersey’s ultimate girls’ basketball prize, the Tournament of Champions crown, Judson became a major factor in the outcome.
No way was she exiting the New Jersey prep scene empty-handed; not when she tasted victory at the TOC in 2006.
Judson, one of New Jersey’s top unsigned seniors, finished on top for the third time in her stellar career, scoring 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.
Ebony Wilson of Shabazz. (photo by Rob
“We needed to settle down in the second half; we came out tight,” Judson said.
Shabazz, No. 3 in ESPN'sEast Region rankings, shook off a putrid opening half shooting performance, using a late run to stop Trenton Central, 48-35, Monday night at the Izod Center.
Last year the Bulldogs were left out of the NJSIAA Group 3 tournament when a scheduling error pushed the team over the state limit of regular-season games. That left the door open for University (Newark) to claim its first TOC title, defeating Trenton, 68-62. However, Shabazz won its fourth TOC title in the last six years, vanquishing last year’s scheduling gaffe for good.
The game remained close in second half until the Shabazz defense squeezed tight. Dominque Butler’s basket with 5:09 left brought Trenton within two points at 35-33. After that is was all Shabazz. The Bulldogs turned up the defense pressure forcing eight turnovers (24 for the game) during the final five minutes and converted five of six free throws.
Shabazz felt the pressure of playing in the big arena and failed to take advantage of its perimeter game in the first half as it trailed, 18-15, at the intermission. The Bulldogs made only 7 of 28 shots (25 percent). Shabazz made only one of five free throws and scored three baskets from inside the paint while Trenton wasn’t much better. Trenton’s Janeice Worley finally broke the ice from three-point range with 2:58 left in the first half for an 18-12 lead.
Tracey Parsons topped Trenton, No. 7 in the East Region, with 11 points and was the lone player posting double digits. Senior center Torrie Childs of Trenton added 10 rebounds and six points, falling nearly eight points below her season average. Childs, 6 feet 2, is considering Miami and Virginia Commonwealth.
“Hopefully I’ll take that next step (a college decision) in the next month,” she said.
The game featured teams which thrive in transition, emphasizing sticky pressure defense. Shabazz, which relied on the backcourt combination of sophomores Ka-Deidra and Desiree Simmons, built an early lead 6-5, but Trenton led 11-8 after one period.
Desiree (seven points) and Ka-Deidra (three) combined to score 10 points, but it wasn’t needed as the Bulldogs found their rhythm in the second half connecting on 11 of 26 shots (mainly in transition) for 42.3 percent and 11 of 13 on free throws (84.6 percent).
Christopher Lawlor is a senior writer covering high school sports for ESPN.com.
Jynae Judson led Shabazz with 19 points against Trenton.