Elizabeth Wins Second North 2, Group 4 Title in Three Years with Victory Over Linden
Led by Sebastian Robinson and Etienne Richelieu, the Minutemen went into Linden and secured a 49-47 victory to bring home another state sectional championship to add to the program’s rich history.
Robinson propelled the team in the second half during which he scored 16 points, including a crucial three-point play late in the game to put Elizabeth ahead for good. Ten of those points came from the free throw line, where he went an impressive 10-11, with every made free throw vital in what ended as a one possession game.
Linden, playing in front of a very passionate home crowd, proved to be a tough adversary, opened a 9-point lead with a 14-5 first quarter. However, the Minutemen didn’t flinch while fighting adversity, outscoring Linden 13-6 in the second quarter to cut the lead to two points at half and a 15-13 stanza to even the game after three quarters.
Richelieu scored 14 points in the game, including 7 in the fourth quarter, to go along with eight rebounds. Along with Robinson’s 9 points, Richelieu and Robinson accounted for all the Minutemen’s scoring in the game’s final quarter. Robinson scored a game-high 23 points, adding two rebounds, two assists, and four steals. Elijah Bruno chipped in with four points, two rebounds, three assists, and played strong defense in recording three steals. Sean Jules and Zyree Beverly each scored four points, with Jules grabbing six rebounds and Beverly adding two.
The road to the 2022 North 2, Group 4 title included some familiar foes. The Minutemen knocked off No. 1 seed Watchung Hills in the quarterfinals with a 58-56 victory and defeated No. 5 seed Newark East Side 55-47 in the semifinal round. Elizabeth captured its last sectional championship in 2020 (and first since 2012) as the No. 2 seed by defeating No. 1 Watchung Hills 56-54, a nearly identical score to this year’s meeting, on a last second shot. The team would go on and dominate its next game against Paterson Kennedy in the 2020 Group 4 semifinal, poised to win it’s first group title since 1991, but the season was ended abruptly due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The year before, the Minutemen fell victim to a last second shot themselves, losing to No. 2 seeded Newark East Side 50-48 in the 2019 North 2, Group 4 final.
The Minutemen will next face North 1, Group 4 champion Ridgewood in the Group 4 semifinal on Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. at the Thomas G. Dunn Sports Center in Elizabeth.