July 24, 2019

With Tyler Jones Tallying 16 Points in 2nd Half Blitz, NJ Spiritwear Rolls Into Summer Men’s Hoops Semis 

By Bill Alden

A week ago, NJ Spiritwear cruised to a 69-46 win over Hometown Moving and Storage at the Community Park courts in its final game of regular season play in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

When the teams met for a rematch in a quarterfinal contest inside a steamy John Witherspoon Middle School gym last Monday evening, second-seeded Spiritwear struggled to find a rhythm in the early going against seventh-seeded Hometown Moving, clinging to a 16-12 lead at halftime

In reflecting on the sluggish start for Spiritwear, guard Tyler Jones acknowledged that moving inside to the stifling gym took some adjustment.

“The indoor court was the biggest difference,” said Jones. “We started off a little slow. It is hot in here and the ball got a little wet.”

Jones got off to a hot start in the second half, scoring eight straight points as Spiritwear reeled off a 12-3 run to break the game open, never looking back on the way to a 61-33 rout.

“The shot was falling early,” said Jones, who tallied 16 points in the second half to give him a game-high 21 on the night. “I hit a couple of threes late in the second half. It just felt good.”

The three guard set of Troy Jones and Matt Paulus along with Jones displayed good ball movement and sharp shooting from the perimeter as Spiritwear pulled away.

“It is two hoopers looking for each other,” said Jones, referring to his connection with Troy Jones.

“We have a very unselfish team. Matt can shoot it, he can pass it, and then our wings run the floor and create open shots on the fast breaks.”

Jones fits in well with that unselfish mentality. “I just try to do anything to help us win,” said the 5’11, 165-pounds Jones, who starred at the Peddie School before helping Fairleigh Dickinson University make the NCAA tournament last winter and has transferred to Goldey-Beacom College, a Division II program located in Delaware.

“Today it was scoring a little bit. In previous games, I have been passing the ball a lot more, facilitating, and playing defense.”

With Spiritwear having advanced to the best-of-three championship series last year in its league debut before falling to Loyaltees in a decisive third game, Jones and his teammates are hoping to take the next step this summer.

“I am a new addition, a lot of these guys are new but it is the same mentality,” said Jones, whose team now faces third-seeded Apex Sport in one semifinal on Friday while top-seeded Loyaltees is playing eighth-seeded Team NRGY and fourth-seeded Majeski Foundation facing fifth-seeded Sakana on Wednesday to complete the quarters with the victors in those matchups advancing to the other semi and the championship series slated to start on July 29.

“It is one game a time, knock off each team that is in front of us. Hopefully we get to knock out Loyaltees.”