Vernon Township High School senior Ben Jurewicz was in the right place at the right time.
He scored on a put-back that just beat the final buzzer as the fifth-seeded boys basketball team earned a stunning 56-54 victory over top-seeded and No. 19 ranked Phillipsburg in the semifinal round of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 10 at Wallkill Valley Regional High School.
With the win, Vernon will aim to win its first tri-county championship against third-seeded Hunterdon Central at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Centenary University in Hackettstown.
Phillipsburg had its 20-game winning streak snapped and fell to 20-2 with the loss.
Vernon’s Alex Fessel shot a three-pointer in the final seconds that bounced off the rim but was rebounded by teammate Michael Pecoraro, who put up a shot that went to the other side of the basket.
Jurewicz then swiftly caught the ball and banked in the game-winning shot as the buzzer sounded, providing the Vikings with the upset decision.
Fessel finished with a team-high 23 points, followed by Jurewicz (12 points) and Dhamir Morfe-Chess (11 points). Matthew Scerbo Jr. had a game-high 30 points for Phillipsburg.
Vernon has won eight of its past nine games to improve to 14-6 this winter.
Here’s how other Vernon teams fared last week:
Grace Dobrzynski had 18 points and six rebounds; Jonnah Castillo added 17 points, 14 rebounds and three assists; and Monica Curry collected 13 points, three rebounds, four steals and three assists to pace Vernon to a 62-49 decision over Wallkill Valley at home Feb. 10.
Dobrzynski is averaging 12.7 points per game to lead the team in scoring, with Castillo (12.4 ppg) right behind.
Vernon (13-7) is scheduled to play host to Veritas Christian at 7 p.m. Feb. 16.
Vernon closed out its regular season with a 12-2 loss to Clifton on Feb. 10 at Skylands Ice World in Stockholm.
Luke Zabriskie scored a goal and assisted Drew Shawgo’s goal in the first period as Vernon held a 2-1 lead.
Zabriskie has tallied 35 goals and 19 assists for Vernon (6-12) this winter.
Sophia Haw finished fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02 to lead the Vernon girls track team at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey, Section 1, Groups 2 and 3 sectional championships Feb. 10 at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
The individual portion of the season is set to begin this week with the Vernon contingent wrestling at District 4 on Saturday, Feb. 17 at High Point.
Other competing teams include DePaul, Kittatinny, Newton, North Warren, Sparta, Wallkill Valley and West Milford.