To conclude 2022, St. Rose took on Red Bank Regional in the championship of the Albert E. Martin Buc Classic Tournament. St. Rose was coming off of two twenty-point victories over Middletown North and Notre Dame, keeping their perfect 6-0 record intact. The path to the championship was not as easy for Red Bank, as the Bucs overcame a twelve-point deficit over top-seeded CBA in the semifinal round.
Before the opening tipoff, Red Bank honored Albert E. Martin, who passed away during the middle of his senior season ten years ago. Former Red Bank coach Scott Martin shared kind words and reminded all in attendance of who Albert was, and the mark he left on the program.
All tournament long, Jayden and Matt Hodge have led the dominant St. Rose offense and the championship game was no different. Freshman guard Jayden set the tone of the game by draining a contested long-range three-pointer, which was quickly followed up by a slam dunk by his older brother Matt on the next possession. Jameson Ackerman responded with five quick points of his own for the Red Bank offense. St. Rose led 15-7 after the first quarter.
Both offenses could not get anything to go from beyond the arc, which was when St. Rose used their size to capitalize on their second chance opportunities. Matt Hodge used his 6'8" frame to come down with thirteen rebounds on the night. Going into halftime St. Rose led 27-12, holding Red Bank to just five points in the second quarter.
Coming out of the break both defenses were in lockdown mode. St. Rose freshman Tyler Cameron had the only two points for either side halfway through the quarter. The Bucs' offense finally broke out of their six-minute scoreless stretch with a three-pointer by Ackerman. The junior guard led the Bucs in scoring with eight. But this would be the only time the Bucs would score in the third quarter as the St. Rose defense continued to shut down Red Bank's offense. St. Rose expanded their lead to 35-15 going into the fourth quarter.
After scoring just three points in the third quarter, the Bucs' offense was able to go on a 5-0 stretch to start the fourth. However, St. Rose regained their twenty-point lead, scoring with ease with good ball movement, wearing down the Red Bank defense. The Bucs had used all their magic in the previous round with their win over top-seeded CBA and were unable to overcome a twenty-point deficit, making St. Rose the champions of the Albert E. Martin Buc Classic with a final score of 47-26.
St. Rose junior Matt Hodge was awarded the Albert E. Martin Buc Classic Tournament Most Valuable Player after his eighteen-point, thirteen-rebound performance in the championship game. Hodge finished the tournament averaging eighteen points, including a 23-point game in the semifinal against Notre Dame. Hodge led the Purple Roses to three straight twenty-point victories in the Buc Classic to secure the program a holiday championship.
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