Cowboys Advance to Semifinals of Jamboree

Evan Schumer had 16 points in the Quarterfinal victory versus Ramapo. (Photo from northjerseysports.com)

Evan Schumer had 16 points in the Quarterfinal victory versus Ramapo. (Photo from northjerseysports.com)

On Valentine’s Day night, eight-seeded Pascack Hills played top-seeded Ramapo in the quarterfinal round of the Bergen County Jamboree. Coming into the game, Ramapo, led by Senior Matt Latka, looked to bounce back from a loss against Hackensack. Pascack Hills looked to play better after an unexpected tough victory against Park Ridge. The game was played at Fairleigh Dickinson University and had a berth to the final four of the Jambo on the line.

The game started off a close one. After the first quarter Ramapo was up 17-10. With the score 21-12 in the middle of the second quarter, Hills would go on an 6-0 run to cut the lead to just three. A lot of fouls were called during the game; Ramapo’s Frankie Aiello and Hills’ Kevin Michael, seemingly frustrated with the officiating, were forced to sit a lot in the first half due to foul trouble. At halftime, Ramapo led up 25-21.

Coming out of the locker room, the Cowboys still had their fan section behind them. Ramapo came out hot to start the second half, going up 34-23 quickly. Nick Guillemain would get to the line and hit his free throws and Evan Schumer would hit a pair of threes, including a buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter to trim the Ramapo lead to six.

Pascack Hills was hanging in there against the best team in the county. The fourth quarter was a tense as could be. With one minute left to play Ramapo was up 42-39. Evan Lazarus would hit a layup in the post to cut the deficit to one.

With less than a minute left, Ramapo was holding the ball and running out the clock, but the defensive pressure from Evan Lazarus got the best of them. Laz stole the ball and passed it up court to a wide-open Guilly. With a defender chasing him down, Guilly slowed down and waited for the contact. Once he felt the defender on him, Guilly used his strength to get the layup to go with a foul being called. The Cowboy Crazies (a fond nickname for Hills’ devoted fan section) roared as Hills gained the lead 43-42. Guilly sunk the free throw giving Hills their first lead of the game with about thirty seconds to play.

Down at the other side, Hills was called for a foul sending Ramapo to the line for two shots. The first shot was a swish. The second was short, hitting off the front of the rim. Kevin Michael corralled the rebound and got the ball to Guilly. He was fouled and went to the line. He made one of two, but Hills still was leading, 45-43. After another missed free throw by the Cowboys, Ramapo had one last chance to win the game with 5.4 seconds remaining. Great defense by Stevie Steiger and Kevin Michael forced the Green Raiders to a bad shot. An off balance floater that was wide left was the last shot of the game.

The game was another Jambo classic involving Pascack Hills as the underdog. Pascack Hills upset the top dog Ramapo, 45-43. Pascack Hills continues its great season, improving to 18-1.

Coach Kirkby said after the game, “It’s always nice to have upsets, especially when you beat the No. 1 seed in anything”.

Evan Schumer had a game-high 16 points, hitting three threes and Nick Guillemain netted 15 points with five of them coming from the foul line.

Hills is advancing to the semifinals of the Jambo for the first time since 2009 where they were the No. 1 seed and lost to the underdog St. Joe’s. This year, Hills is the underdog versus a tough Joe’s team.

Eighth seed Pascack Hills will now face fourth seeded St Joseph’s, a battle of two competitive Montvale schools, in the semifinals of the Jambo. The game is on February 21st at FDU at 5pm.