Saddle River Day Wins Fourth Consecutive Bergen County Tournament Title
Sunday’s 45th annual Bergen County Women’s Coaches Association Basketball Championship Game at the Bradley Center on the campus of Ramapo College featured plenty of headlines.
No. 1 Saddle River Day vs. No. 2 Immaculate Heart Academy, both teams’ sporting impressive records with the Rebels at 21-2 and Blue Eagles at 21-1. Saddle River Day attempting a four-peat while IHA seeking their sixth tournament title overall with the last one back in 2015. Both teams’ dominant in their first three games of the tournament winning by double figures.
Leading 15-14 after the first quarter, Saddle River quickly scored the first six points in the second to gain some separation. The combination of Michele Sidor (nine points) and Jaida Patrick (11 points) managed to score 20 of the Rebels 28 points establishing a 28-22 cushion at halftime. A smothering trap defense that limited clear passing lanes forcing IHA into committing 14 turnovers. Anna Morris led the Blue Eagles with nine points.
In the third quarter, Saddle River Day expanded its lead to as many as nine points before ending the quarter with a 41-31 advantage. Just when it seemed the Rebels were primed to pull away for good in the fourth, IHA flipped the script scoring the first five points of the period. The Blue Eagles turned to Emma Matesic netting four points that trimmed the deficit to 44-40 with four and half minutes remaining. Matesic knocked down a pair of pair free throws that brought IHA within 46-44 at the 2:25 mark.
Struggling from the perimeter in the second half, Sidor still found a way to score 13 of her game-high 22 points but saved her biggest points in the final two minutes of the contest burying a trifecta and draining a pair of free throws to make it 51-45 with less than a minute to go. However, the Blue Eagles made it interesting in the closing seconds as Eliya Herriott canned a triple reducing the margin to 53-49.
However, Sydnie Caldwell saved her best for last sinking four free throws that put her at 1,000 career points, and sealed a 55-49 victory to make it a four-peat for Saddle River Day in Bergen County Tournament titles. Caldwell finished with 12 points while Patrick contributed 16 points. Morris, Matesic Herriott each had 14 points apiece for IHA.
“IHA played a great game, didn’t change anything they do and very good team,” said Saddle River Day head coach Danny Brown. “They’re seeded number two for a reason and Steve (Silver) did a great job preparing them. On the other hand, I don’t think we played up to our game exactly but that happens on a big stage and game. I’m proud they struggled through it, realized the opportunity and really finished.
“Sydnie stepped up, so happy to have her and family join us this year, great leadership and showed it there and that’s maturity. We knew she was going to finish the game from the line and one thing to say it and do it. Personally I wanted it for the kids, it’s about their legacy and what they built with me. To build this program and get these kids an amazing academic environment and to support an athletic program we built from the ground up. It’s been amazing and just could not have done it without the Board of Trustees and administration behind me.
“They are going to come back in 15 years from now and show their kids a banner that did this at Saddle River Day and very elite few in this county to reach a four-peat is incredible.”
“Personally it means everything and goal of mine since freshman year and I wanted to win and so competitive,” said Michelle Sidor on the championship victory. “Just putting our name on that trophy four times means the world to me. Coach Brown leads us and gives us the stuff we need to do our job and go out and do it. We have been together four years and talked about winning four Bergen County titles.
“We had to play the game together, defensively and not beat ourselves. We made some mistakes and turned it over. Jaida is a great player and can do about anything with her length. She can drive, shoot and rebound. Sydnie transferred this year, just wanted to win and love her mentality.”
“We had a pretty strong game going in and we’re going to work our offense through the inside and opened up some shots for me, some good post moves and had to finish and going hard to the paint,” said Jaida Patrick. “Michelle is a phenomenal player, a little off but trying to find her groove and eventually started finding it in the fourth quarter. We worked on defense the past couple of practices, just talking and communicating. We’re all super excited and worked really hard for this and to get it an honor because we made history in our school and Bergen County”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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