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Ismael Sanogo and East Side advance to Tournament of Champions final

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No. 1 Newark East Side advanced to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions final by defeating Roselle Catholic 46-45 yesterday at Monmouth. Seton Hall-bound Ismael Sanogo sank the game-winning free throw with seconds left on the clock while recording 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks for East Side.

One of our readers, Matthew Ruhalter, was at the game and graciously sent me a report from the game:

"What a terrific game despite too many whistles from the refs. "Ish" nails a free throw with 1.2 seconds left to win the game for Eastside. He is a stat line stuffer. Rebound, steals,deflections, assists and eventually double figure points(11). He also really plays defense. This kid is going to be a good Big East player.

First thing I noticed. If Abdul Lewis [East Side, committed to South Alabama] and Chris Silva [Roselle Catholic, 2015 forward target], are legitimately 6'9", then Ish is 6'7" closing in on 6'8". He handles the ball on the perimeter surprisingly well. In fact, because there is no shot clock in NJ hoops, Eastside held the ball to close the first half for the last shot. And it was Ish that dribbled the time away on the perimeter.

So in a nutshell, Ishmael Sanogo is a 6'7.5" combo forward. He must, and this needs work, develop a reliable jump shot. He had good form but bad results the few times he hoisted a 15 footer. However, he lets the game come to him and doesn't force anything. This is a real team player who does what it takes to win. Absolutely loved what I saw.

Other players that caught my eye, we're obviously Briscoe [Isaiah Briscoe, big-time 2015 target for RC],who really surprised me, and Gist [Asante Gist, 2016 target for RC] and [Matt] Bullock. Roselle Catholic, if no one transfers out, is going to be, I think, the top team in NJ/NY next year. They start 4 kids who are going to be High Major D1 players. Briscoe is at another level. Almost looks like a college running back, but he played the point down the stretch. He is a terrific passer. And some of the passes he threw just crackled. He basically got fouled every time he drove and didn't get many whistles. His expression never changes. Stoic, unflappable. He has a complete game. Is another scoring lead guard but absolutely can run a team for extended minutes. He carries himself like he knows he's at another level. And he is. The other surprise for me was Matt Bullock. He was guarded by Sanogo and had to really work for his points. But he got them. With Briscoe not cracking double figures(I believe), Roselle needed points from Bullock and got them. Asante Gist is a sensational ball handler. Can handle any pressure, tough minded, cat quick with range on his jump shot past the three point line."

East Side takes on St. Joseph's (Metuchen) at 8pm on Monday night at Sun National Bank Center (Trenton) in the Tournament of Champions final. St. Joseph's is led by Kentucky-bound center Karl Towns, Vanderbilt-bound guard Wade Baldwin, and uncommitted mid-major guard Marques Townes.