1965 Bridgewater / Raritan High School Basketball Playoffs
Playoff game 1 of 6 vs Middletown at Asbury Park Convention Hall
Up first was Middletown who had a 13-5 regular season record. The game was held at the Asbury Park Convention Center. The attendance was 2,000. This would turn out to be the only easy game for the Falcons. They jumped out to a commanding 43-17 lead with 4 minutes left in the half. Coach Joe Fisher saw that this may be the only chance to have the players other than the starting five to get a chance to play in the playoffs. So with this big lead he put in the second team. The second team gave it their all, but the Middletown team that was initially getting trounced before against the starting five quickly ran off a 21-3 run against the Falcon substitutes to close the gap to 8 points. Coach Fisher put back in the starters and the Falcons resumed their domination. The only drama in the game was whether or not they would hit 100 points. With just five seconds left and their point total at 99 Mike Grosso slammed a dunk home to the delight of the crowd. Final score was 101 – 77. That night saw all five starters score in double figures. Mike Grosso led the way with 43 points and an amazing 45 rebounds.
Falcons 101 Middletown 77
Name FG FT Points
Grosso 19 5 43
Doyle 9 1 19
Janczewski 7 2 16
Martin 5 2 12
Fulop 5 0 10
Jeweczyn 0 1 1
Skowronek 0 0 0
Conti 0 0 0
Bendetti 0 0 0
Sabol 0 0 0
Score by periods
Bridgewater 26 20 31 24 101
Middletown 10 28 16 19 77
Playoff game 2 of 6 vs Trenton at Trenton State Gym
Next game would be against Trenton, the team that had defeated them in the playoffs the year before. The location of the playoff games were supposed to be at neutral locations, however this game for some strange reason was played at Trenton. Here the Falcons fell behind by 7 points midway through the second quarter and the packed crowd at Trenton anticipated a rout. However, as would be their trademark in the playoffs, the Bridgewater / Raritan team would ignite midway through the game to take a lead that they would hold. Here they first came back to take a one point lead at halftime. Then with five minutes left in the third quarter and the game tied they ran off 11 straight points. Trenton would reduce the lead to just 5 points with 5 minutes to play, but Andy Martin and Mike Janczewski responded by hitting jump shots to put the Falcons up for good. Final 63-50.
Falcons 63 Trenton 50
Name FG FT Points
Grosso 14 5 33
Doyle 6 0 12
Martin 3 5 11
Janczewski 2 3 7
Fulop 0 0 0
Conti 0 0 0
Score by periods
Bridgewater 17 13 15 18 63
Trenton 15 14 8 13 50
Playoff game 3 of 6 vs Neptune at Rutgers
After the second playoff win the team was gaining momentum with the local community. Many who were not even basketball fans started to follow the team and attend the games. The third playoff game was against Neptune who was undefeated 24-0. This game was held at Rutgers in New Brunswick. The small gym on College Avenue campus was packed to capacity of 2,500. Those who attended brought their new found enthusiasm for Big Mike and the boys with them. One Falcon banner simply said “Annihilate Neptune”. But a creative banner said “Neptune 24-0” with a number one boldly written on top on the zero. Neptune came out with a full court press from the start, but the ball handling of complimentary guards Rich Doyle (right-handed) and Steve Fulop (left-handed) foiled the Neptune team. With six minutes remaining Neptune had a chance to get back in the game when ace ball handler Rich Doyle fouled out. Neptune quickly called time-out - then came out charging and scored the next basket reducing the lead to just 8 points. Some thought a collapse might be at hand. However, Andy Martin was switched to guard and was able to beat the full court press by passing up to Mike Grosso who scored for the Falcons. The final score would be 81-72. This game was the finest game of the season for Steve Fulop who scored 16 points and did a superb job of ball handling against an aggressive Neptune defense.
Falcons 81 Neptune 72
Name FG FT Points
Grosso 8 5 21
Martin 5 6 16
Janczewski 6 4 16
Fulop 8 0 16
Doyle 5 1 11
Conti 0 1 1
Score by periods
Bridgewater 19 25 15 23 81
Neptune 11 18 19 24 72
Playoff game 4 of 6 vs Scotch Plains at Princeton
The fourth playoff game, the states quarterfinals, was against Scotch Plains-Fanwood at Princeton’s University’s Dillon Gym. In this contest things did not look good early as the Falcons fell behind 17-10 in the first quarter. They would quickly rebound and closed the gap to 18-17 by the end of the first quarter. In this playoff game it was Mike Janczewski who stepped up and had his best game of the tournament as he shot 10 for 15 with many of his baskets coming in key situations. The Falcons held just a four point lead with 3:31 to play when Grosso hit 7 straight points to enable the Falcons to pull away with the win. The final was 81-74. The leading scorer of the game, as usual, was Mike Grosso with 32 points. Mike also had 31 rebounds.
Falcons 81 Scotch Plains 74
Name FG FT Points
Grosso 14 4 32
Janczewski 10 2 22
Doyle 6 7 19
Martin 1 2 4
Fulop 2 0 4
Conti 0 0 0
Skowronek 0 0 0
Score by periods
Bridgewater 10 25 21 25 81
Scotch Plains 17 16 21 20 74
Playoff game 5 of 6 vs Camden at Camden Convention Center
After the win over Scotch-Plains the local community was now in a frenzy over the basketball team. The next game, the semi-final, was against a 23 -1 Camden team - and surprising once again the game’s location which was supposed to be at a neutral site was at Camden. The local people traveled by the thousands to this game. Thus the crowd that night was close to evenly split between Bridgewater / Raritan and Camden. Andy Martin recalls that this was a great boast to the Falcons to have nearly as many fans at an away game as the home team did. The Camden crowd that night was loud and cocky. They repeatedly chanted “C.H.S. we’s the best!”. This echoed in the ears of the Falcon fans so much that to this day, 47 years later, the fans who attended the game still recall the chant. The Camden basketball team seemed to tap the energy of their fans and came out smoking - taking a 18-12 lead. But Bridgewater slowly inched back. By halftime the score showed Camden ahead by 2. But the big story at half was that Camden had effectively shut down Mike Grosso, who was held to just one field goal and 5 total points. After the half the Falcon team began to get it together as Mike Grosso came alive in the second quarter. The third quarter remained close until 4 minutes left in the quarter when the Falcons went on an 8 point run and broke the game open for good. Camden’s only response to the Falcon outburst was to fall apart turning the ball over 9 times on bad passes, walking violations, and offensive fouls. When the Falcons took a 13 point lead into the fourth quarter the once chanting Camden fans were quiet. The Falcons won by 13. Grosso led all scorers with 29 points.
Falcons 80 Camden 67
Name FG FT Points
Grosso 11 7 29
Martin 1 4 6
Janczewski 9 3 21
Fulop 3 3 9
Doyle 7 1 15
Conti 0 0 0
Skowronek 0 0 0
Score by periods
Bridgewater 16 19 26 19 80
Camden 18 19 11 19 67
Coach Joe Fisher said that in each playoff game a different kid rose to the occasion and had his best game.