The Ramapo Roadrunners men’s basketball team squared off against the College of Staten Island Dolphins, looking to gain stability before a significant stretch of New Jersey Athletic Conference matchups.
After letting the game slip away in the first half, Ramapo fought back and grinded out an impressive 82-78 victory.
The Roadrunners came out firing on all cylinders, hitting their first three shots and jumping out to 7-0 lead. Sophomore George Sapp continued to build upon last season's NJAC rookie of the year award, as he was slicing through the Dolphins’ defense with a killer crossover, reminiscent of Tim Hardaway. The ball was moving and Ramapo’s offense looked very fluid when Sapp was breaking down the defense and getting into the paint.
“Sapp can do that at will all the time,” said coach Chuck McBreen. “When George shows up to play, he’s one of the best point guards in the league.”
Staten Island trailed for most of the first half but were allowed to hang around largely in part to Ramapo’s inability to make free throws, as they shot just over 50 percent. The Dolphins turned to their big guns, sophomore Frank Schettino and junior Will Fonseca as they eventually took a 29-27 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The Dolphins' dynamic duo is averaging 23 points per game each this year and combined for 30 points in the first half to put Staten Island up 41-35.
“They're a two man team,” McBreen said. “We needed to make the other guys beat us…and we let [Schettino and Fonseca] beat us for a good portion of the game.”
Schettino and Fonseca continued to overwhelm the Roadrunners at the start of the second half as the Dolphins added to their lead. Schettino showed his class as a true point guard as he meticulously picked apart Ramapo’s defense and chose his moments to attack the rim.
Fonseca stole the show with 14 minutes remaining as he slashed into the lane and delivered a commanding tomahawk jam that had fans of both teams out of their seats.
Ramapo looked defeated, but never let the score slip away from them as their own dynamic duo stepped up when it mattered most. Sophomore captain Frank Nock led the resurgence and hit a massive three pointer to put the Roadrunners ahead by four. Sapp took over in the final minutes, attacking the basket at will, connecting on several acrobatic lay-ups and getting to the line in the process.
Ramapo freshman Christopher Moseley quietly had an excellent game scoring a game high 28 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
For a team with only three returning players, Ramapo looked quite composed down the stretch and continuity did not seem to be an issue.
“We do worry about continuity, but we have young players that are buying in,” McBreen said. “We have fifteen new guys trying to learn the system and it takes time.”
The Roadrunners do not have much time, as they are about to embark on a four game NJAC stretch that will be pivotal for tournament qualification in the spring. Ramapo’s next game is at home on Nov. 22 against Rowan.