PLEASANTVILLE — The basketball doesn’t fall far from the family tree at Pleasantville High School.

Sophomore guard Noel Gonzalez Jr., son of a former 1,000-point scorer for the Greyhounds, hit a pair of crucial baskets down the stretch to help Pleasantville gain an 80-73 victory over St. Joseph’s in a key Cape-Atlantic League United Division game Wednesday.

Gonzalez swished a 3-pointer from the corner with two minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation, then powered through the lane for a three-point play on the next possession to put the Greyhounds in control at 73-66.

Gonzalez played last season for St. Joseph before transferring to Pleasantville. He was playing in his fourth game for the Greyhounds after sitting out 30 days per the state’s transfer rules.

“I was extra hyped for this game,” Gonzalez said. “It was a weird feeling playing against my old team. Those guys are like my brothers.”

Pleasantville, No. 11 in The Press Elite 11, improved to 11-5 overall and 4-2 in the division. St. Joseph, 10th in the Elite 11, dropped to 10-3 and 3-2. Wildwood Catholic, No. 2 in the rankings, leads the division at 5-0.

The Greyhounds earned their biggest win of the season after playing a very tough schedule.

“We needed this game,” Pleasantville coach Butch Warner said. “This does a lot for our confidence and can only help us the rest of the season.”

Both teams played as if they are poised to make some noise both in the Cape-Atlantic League and South Jersey tournaments.

Almost every shot was contested and every loose ball resulted in mad scrambles that left beads of sweat on the court.

The Greyhounds hit key baskets at the buzzer of the first and second quarters en route to a 41-38 halftime lead.

Gonzalez banked in a shot just before halftime that capped capped a frenetic, exciting first half that brought out the best in both teams.

The Wildcats took early control behind Corey Blackwell and Marcellus Ross to grab a 14-9 lead. The Greyhounds answered with a 7-0 surge. Gonzalez brought the crowd to its feet with a three-pointer, then Sahmir Jones gave Pleasantville its first lead at 16-14.

Pleasantville increased its edge to 36-30 midway through the second quarter. Jordan Stafford scored eight points in the period, including a pair of coast-to-coast drives, and Alanas Urbonas powered inside for four points to help the Wildcats stay close.

Jacob Valeus hit a pair of free throws to give the Greyhounds a 56-49 lead with 1:37 left in the third quarter, but the Wildcats refused to wilt.

Blackwell’s dazzling drive and foul shot gave St. Joe its first lead since the first quarter at 60-58 with 7:15 left in regulation. But it didn’t last long. Valeus answered with his own three-point play to put the Greyhounds back in front at 61-60 with 5:06 left.

Jalen Freeman led the Greyhounds with 22 points, Jones finished with 20, Valeus had 15 and Gonzalez had 14.

Ross led St. Joe with 21 points.

“This was a huge win for us,” Freeman said. “We needed a signature win and we got it tonight.”

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Contact: 609-272-7201

Twitter @PressACWeinberg


Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 27th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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