MAHWAH, N.J. -- With just one player firing on all cylinders, Bergen Catholic was no match for Don Bosco Prep on Tuesday night.
The Ironmen used a hot start to the second half and kept the Crusaders' junior star Sean Banks under wraps in posting a 51-43 home victory over their North Jersey parochial rivals.
Don Bosco opened the second half with a 16-5 run, capped by a Trevoy Chambers three pointer, to take a 35-24 lead with 2:30 to play.
The Ironmen extended that lead to as high as 13 points in the fourth quarter, before Bergen Catholic mounted a frantic challenge in the final minutes.
The Crusaders sliced the deficit to 45-40 on a basket by guard Joe Sandberg with 2:13 to play, and had a chance to cut it to three moments later. But Banks, who struggled for much of the game after sitting out the first quarter, missed a pair of shots in close with 1:40 to play.
Don Bosco was then able to hit just enough free throws in the final minute and a half to keep Bergen Catholic at bay.
Guard Mike Wasilenko paced the Ironmen attack with 15 points, and Chambers added 12. Freshmen forward Terrell Biggs and junior forward Danny Falcon added eight points each in a balanced attack.
Sandberg carried the Crusaders with a 20 point effort, but Banks was held to just seven. Small forward Danny Gentile added eight points in the loss.
"We need to play better as a unit," said Bergen Catholic Head Coach Joe Dionisio. "Joey [Sandberg] pretty much is our one guy right now."
Banks sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons, and after the first ten minutes of play, the Crusaders trailed 17-7. Bergen Catholic clawed back and forged a 19-19 tie at the break as Gentile, Banks and Sandberg got it going in the final six minutes of the first half.
But Don Bosco came out stronger in the third quarter, and the lead that they built proved to be too much for B.C. to overcome.
"I thought that they played harder than us," Dionisio said. "I understand that we are ranked because of last year, but we have yet lot to prove anything this year."
Both teams, which are jockeying for seeding in next month's Bergen County Jamboree, are now 8-4 on the season.