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Written by Albert Tawil, Staff Writer
BRENNAN, NJ – In the semi-final round of the New Jersey Under-20 Recreational Basketball League Tournament, Brennan Township Community Center was decisively defeated by border-town rival River Township.
William Stewart, the star shooting guard for Brennan, led the team with 17 points, but this proved insufficient to overcome a whopping 35 turnovers by Stewart’s squad.
“Neither team had any jerseys, so we kept passing the ball to the wrong people,” said the disappointed guard.
River Township was led by point guard Michael Robbins, who recorded 20 points, 12 assists, and a career-high 15 steals. “We decided to not wear our jerseys to the game. Our strategy was to yell for the ball and trick Brennan players into passing to us,” said Robbins. “They fell for it every time.”
The point guard was cheered on by his mother, Millie, who considers herself a “diehard” fan of her son’s team. “I had an opportunity to help Brennan raise money for jerseys,” said Ms. Robbins, “but I would never do that for a rival of River Township.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Brennan showed some life, cutting the deficit to 5 points. The comeback came to a screeching halt when Stewart “fouled out” of the game after committing five personal fouls.
A. J. Jones, Brennan’s head coach, thought the referees were too quick to blow their whistles. “Any time Stewart came within a few feet on defense, River players would throw their hands up and complain to the ref,” said Jones, noting Michael Robbins was the main culprit.
River supporters had a different take. “It’s safe to say that Stewart was harassing them all game,” said Millie Robbins.
Robbins admitted that two of the fouls did not involve any physical contact, but added that, “they were reasonably likely to cause harm.”
Additionally, Robbins said Stewart’s aggressive play was not only dangerous on the court, but also set a bad example for the children watching the game. “I don’t think Stewart realizes the secondary effects of his style of play,” said Robbins.
Adam B. Murphy contributed reporting.