Sunday, April 14, 2024

Patriots Take Tournament, Hope to Carry Mojo Into 2024

Maximus Hambos went four-for-four from the foul line. Photo by Joe Phalon.

The North Warren Patriot boys closed out the year with a 53-41 victory over Central Jersey College Charter School to win the North Warren Holiday Extravaganza tournament on their home court December 29. 

Christian Otufale continued his streak of double-digit scoring with 20 points. Maximus Hambos scored 14 points. 

Wilmen Diogene passes to Jordan Klecka. Photo by Joe Phalon.

Despite their 12-point margin at the buzzer, Central Jersey did not make it easy for the Pats, closing to within two points in the third period.  

“The third quarter got a little dicey,” head coach Rob Steingall said. “They changed up their defense. It took more time than I would have liked to adjust.”

Steingall said the third quarter was a little stress-inducing, with his team being outscored 16-7. 

“We never gave up the lead. It got as close as two,” he said. “But you know, thankfully we kind of held the fort and we were able to close the game out.”

Maximus Hambos powered North Warren’s fourth quarter. Photo by Joe Phalon.

The Patriots regained momentum and turned in 20 points against Central Jersey’s 10 in the fourth quarter. The North Warren 12-point winning margin can be traced to their fourth-quarter foul shots when they went 12 for 15 from the line. 

Luke Stefankiewicz and Lucas Csezmadia each shot four for four free throws.

Steingall said he hopes the tournament win will propel the 5-2 Patriots into the new year and the meat of their schedule. 

“It was good, right for the guys,” he said. “Hopefully we keep going into the new year.”

North Warren faces divisional rival High Point January 3 at home, a team the Patriots haven’t beaten going back at least four years. Game is at 7 p.m.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.