Friday, February 5, 2016

Basketball: Okoro leads Gloucester past Holy Cross

Stefano Okoro scored 32 points Thursday to lead Gloucester to a 57-42 victory over Holy Cross.

Basketball: Okoro leads Gloucester past Holy Cross



By Phil Anastasia

Lots of guys can dunk in the open floor.

That's regular explosion.

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Not many guys can dunk off a half-court set.

That's remarkable explosion.

Senior guard Stefano Okoro scored 32 points Thursday to lead Gloucester to a 57-42 victory over Holy Cross in the first round of the Audubon Holiday Tournament in boys' basketball.

Junior forward Chris Walmsley scored 17, including five three-point jumpers, and senior guard Justin Smith dealt six assists for Gloucester (3-1), which advanced to face Audubon in Friday's title game.

Senior forward Brandon Rowe scored 11 for Holy Cross (2-2).

"That was a soft effort on our part," Holy Cross coach Barry Harper said. "But don't take anything away from Gloucester. That's a solid club and they have a special player."

The 6-foot Okoro was 13-for-18 from the field and 3-for-3 from the foul line. He collected six rebounds and three steals, threw down three dunks and made a trio of three-point jumpers.

"We're going as far as he takes us," Gloucester coach Kevin Hagan said.

Okoro's first basket was his most impressive. With Gloucester running its half-court offense, he took a pass on the left wing, beat his man with a jab-step move, took one dribble and rose up for a two-handed slam in traffic.

"That was a huge moment for me," Okoro said. "That got us off to a great start."

Hagan said Okoro's first basket "set the tone for the game."

By the end of the first quarter, Okoro had 14 points with two dunks, two three-pointers and a pair of steals.

Okoro is a four-year starter. He  is on pace to become Gloucester's No. 2 all-time scorer, behind 1998 graduate Keith Gorman. Okoro has worked during the course of his career to improve his ball-handling and outside shot.

He was 3-for-3 from distance against Holy Cross.

"He can go to the basket with anybody," Harper said. "I didn't realize he was that smooth from three-point range."

Okoro has drawn recruiting interest from Rider, Boston University, Maine and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

"He definitely can play at the next level," Harper said. "He's a heck of a player and he's a gentleman."

Holy Cross 15 11 6 10 -- 42
Gloucester 19 17 9 12 -- 57

HC: Dan Schmid 6, Greg Kousoulos 7, Phil Cunha 6, Logan Hill 2, Brandon Rowe 11, Jorsan Walker 5, Brendan Simmons 5.

G: Stefano Okoro 32, Justin Smith 0, Tom O'Donnell 4, Chris Walmsley 17, Tyler Whitcraft 4.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at

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