Valeriano reaches 1,000 points as Colonia defeats Cranford

Photo Credit: Frankie Brock
Seen here is three-year starter, Luke Valeriano (#1), celebrating his 1,000th point with his teammates.

By: Zachary Kaye, Reporter/Editor

On February 26, in the first round of the State basketball tournament, the Colonia Patriots were able to take down Cranford High School 56-36, and now are moving on to the quarterfinals.

Fans who were at this game not only got to see the Patriots pick up a huge win. They also saw three-year starter, Luke Valeriano, cement his name in Colonia history by scoring his 1000th career point. This feat has been accomplished by only a few other Patriots. The most recent being 2016 graduate Chase Barneys. Valeriano said, “I have been dreaming of that exact moment since I was in the eighth grade. It took a lot of hard work, and a lot of dedication, but it is truly an amazing feeling.”

In addition to just that, Valeriano would go on to finish with 14 total points, and a few assists as well. Valeriano finished by saying, “I just want to give a huge shoutout to all of the teammates that I have played with over these past three years. Also, thank you to Coach Rodriguez and Coach Hall, who always had my back.”

Along with Valeriano’s unforgettable night, fellow all-conference selection, Chad Baker, was spectacular as well. Baker was able to finish with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and seemed impossible to guard all night. Baker, who was recently selected to the North-South Senior All-Star game, really took over when he had too. The 6 foot 6 forward was always stopping Cranford’s momentum and getting the “Colonia Crazies” excited when doing it.

On the other hand, Hunter Goff was one of the lone bright spots for Cranford throughout this game. He was able to grab a few rebounds and score nine out of 36 total points for the Cougars. Credit should go out to Colonia’s coaching staff, led by Coach Rodriguez, for putting together a great defensive game plan.

Outside of just the dynamic one-two punch Valeriano and Baker provide for the Patriots, Senior guard Tommy Mitch was able to do a little bit of everything. He would go on to finish the game with nine points, three assists, and four steals. Cranford could not seem to make a pass without Mitch getting in the way. Also, seniors Chris Sica and Tim Rodriguez were able to contribute on the defensive side. They really made it difficult for Cranford to get anything going.

Colonia will now be moving on to the semifinals of the tournament. After beating fifth-seeded Snyder by a score of 54-44, they will face top-seeded Rahway high on March 2, 2019. The Patriots will be hungry for revenge, after falling just one point short to the Indians earlier in the season.