Pingry Offense Explodes in Somerset County Finals, Big Blue Bury Bridgewater-Raritan
The Pingry School Big Blue have now avenged both of their losses this season in just one week (and one tournament). The Big Blue were streaking coming into the Somerset County Tournament, with a win over a Top 10 squad in Westfield (a 10-7 victory in the annual Bristol Cup) and wins over two teams just outside the rankings in Hunterdon Central and West Morris Central. They then beat Gill St. Bernards to move into the semifinals.
In the semis, they upended Ridge 11-5, a team that beat them in their season opener (5-3). This set up a date with one of the state’s then-Top 5 teams in the Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers for country supremacy. They had lost to this team in double overtime just weeks earlier after blowing a 5-1 lead. Pingry left no doubt this time around with a county title on the line, putting the Panthers down 14-6 thanks to a third quarter where they outscored their opponent 6-0. Harvard commit Graham Stevens was phenomenal in net, a common theme this season, turning away 11 of the 17 shots directed at him.
The Big Blue really dominated this game wire-to-wire, specifically possessions. They were efficient when the ball was in their pocket, drawing out the Bridgewater-Raritan defense then striking through the seams. Sophomore Asher Ziv, Lehigh-bound Charlie Sherman, and sophomore Dylan Blekicki all had standout performances. Ziv struck the back of the mesh four times and collected three assists for seven points, Blekicki missiled the ball into the cage on five separate occasions, and Sherman scored twice while dishing out three assists for five points of his own. The Pingry offense specifically found success in the alley, drawing a defender into isolation then using their fluid stick skills to get hands free and unleash lasers with pinpoint accuracy. The Pingry defense was phenomenal as well, limiting the deadly duo of Rutgers-bound Colin Kurdyla and Alex DeLierre. The defense was in their opponents facemasks all night, forcing quick decisions and making players panic. This resulted in a lot of turnovers that were skillfully transitioned up field and turned into dangerous scoring opportunities.
This masterful blend of offensive prowess and defensive urgency led Pingry to a Somerset County Championship. Pingry has skyrocketed to sixth in the state and the Big Blue are heating up going into the gauntlet of the Non-Public A playoffs. This team has been untouchable in the last two weeks, can the trend continue?