PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- When Paterson Catholic announced last spring that it was closing its doors for financial reasons, Kyle Anderson and Myles Mack were left without a school or a basketball team.
The 6-foot-8 Anderson and his family were the first to pick St. Anthony as their new destination in late April.
More than a month later, in early June, the 5-9 Mack followed Anderson to the Jersey City school.
"I was thinking God has something in store for everyone, so I thought coming here we were going to do something very good this season," Mack said.
Now, nearly a year since PC announced it was closing, Anthony and Mack have led St. Anthony (31-0) to the brink of the school's 11th Tournament of Champions titles and fourth mythical national title.
Having destroyed Cardinal McCarrick 75-28 in the New Jersey Non-Public B final on Saturday, the Friars will enter the Tournament of Champions as the No. 1 seed and will receive a bye into Friday's semifinals.
Hurley gave his players the day off on Sunday but spend the afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center scouting the public school championship games.
"We want to outwork everybody," Hurley said Sunday. "We're scouting games today where teams we don't even know they're going to get to us. You scout everything so you have more information and you'll be more prepared."
In the win over previously unbeaten St. Patrick in the North Non-Public B final on Wednesday, Anderson and Mack combined for 30 points and took the game over in the fourth quarter by pushing the tempo in transition.
Anderson then put up a game-best 22 points against McCarrick to earn game MVP honors.
"It's a difficult situation for them because they left a school that closed to come in," Hurley said. "I think they've adapted very well. The most difficult part of this is that we have kids here that can play and we've had to figure out all year how to use everyone, how to use Jerome [Frink], how to use Lucky [Jones], how to use the kids off the bench, how to use Jordan [Quick], while these two were trying to figure out how I like to play.
"And I think that's why we're so dangerous right now. We've gotten to a point where we kind of figure out how we can play. And we're dangerous because of them and what the other kids can do."
The state championship has been especially meaningful for Mack and Anderson, who lost to St. Patrick in the state tournament in 2009 and then fell to St. Anthony in the North final in 2010.
"Being on the other end, the last two years losing to St. Pat's and losing to St. Anthony with Paterson Catholic, I just felt like me and Myles did it for our Paterson Catholic family who didn't get to do it in the past," Anderson said. "So it was real emotional for me."
Hurley is now two wins from his second undefeated season in four years. The last time St. Anthony went undefeated was in 2008.
That team produced six seniors and one junior who earned Division 1 scholarships.
This current team isn't as loaded, but in the Rutgers-bound Mack, and Anderson, who is being courted by the likes of Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina, St. Anthony has two special players.
Now, they are just two wins away from a state and national championship.
"Coming to a good coach, coach Bob Hurley, I knew we would eventually get to this point in the next two years," Anderson said.
"But we still got a couple more games to go."
NJSIAA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS (Courtesy The Star-Ledger)
At Poland Spring Arena, Toms River
5-Newark Central vs. 4-Paterson Eastside, 6
6-Asbury Park vs. 3-Plainfield, 8
At Monmouth University, West Long Branch
Winner of Plainfield-Asbury Park vs. 2-St. Augustine, 6
Winner of Newark Central-Paterson Eastside vs. 1-St. Anthony, 8
MONDAY, MARCH 21
At Izod Center, East Rutherford
Semifinal winners, 8