Secaucus’ Innis, Waters form a perfect 1-2 scoring punch

Right now, they’re on pace to do something that has never before been done in the history of Hudson County girls’ high school basketball.
Sure, it’s only been six games into the new season, but the fact that Shannon Waters and Andrea Innis, both juniors on the Secaucus High School girls’ basketball squad, are both currently averaging better than 20 points per game is certainly newsworthy, because it’s never happened before. No two teammates have ever averaged 20 or more points on the same team in the same season.
“It’s definitely pretty amazing to be part of something like that,” said Waters, who is averaging just a shade under 22 points per contest this year. “To be the first-ever pair in history to do that? That would be pretty cool.”
“When we were freshmen together, we were just trying to establish ourselves,” said Innis, who scored the 1,000th point of her career in a win over Wood-Ridge last Tuesday night and is averaging 21.6 points per game. “Now, we’re juniors and people are expecting us to do what we’re doing. But honestly, I don’t think either one of us pays attention to the point totals. I don’t even know until I look at the newspaper the next day.”
The Patriots are 5-1 in the early going of the season, thanks to the exploits of their junior leaders.
“I’ve been coaching girls’ basketball for a long time [18 years] and this is the first time I can recall two players standing out like this and averaging 20 each,” said Secaucus head coach John Sterling, who had a long career at Bogota in Bergen County before coming to Secaucus two seasons ago. “They’re scoring about 85 to 90 percent of our points. I think it’s quite unique that they stand out this much. They’re a pretty formidable pair.”
And just when you might think there could be jealousy between the two stars, guess again.
“It’s ridiculous to think that way,” said Innis, who was The Hudson Reporter Player of the Year last season as a sophomore. “We are such good friends, both on and off the court.”
“People always ask if there is anything between Andrea and me and I tell them right away that we don’t hate each other,” Waters said. “We’ve been friends for such a long time and I love playing with her.”
In fact, the two are so inseparable now that they know each other’s every move.
“Since we’ve been playing together for so long, we know where each other is on the floor at all times,” Waters said. “We rely on each other a lot and that makes it a lot easier to play. I’m always looking for that outlet pass from Andrea. Like when I know she has a rebound, I just take off and I know she’s going to get me the ball. We just connect like that.”
“There’s a certain way we play together,” Innis said. “Usually, if I’m bringing the ball up, I look for Shannon first. It’s hard to explain, but we always know where the other one is. It’s almost uncanny.”
Sterling likes the way the two players complement each other.
“They play so well together,” Sterling said. “They’re also different players and I think that the variety is good. We need each of those things that they do. Shannon is one who kills herself on the floor at all times. She’s doing sprints, diving after loose balls. It’s all hustle and determination. Andrea loves to play basketball and knows how to. She puts a lot of time into it. It’s really beautiful to see the two of them playing together. I’m very lucky that they complement each other so well.”
And since one can’t go without the other, the sensational Secaucus duo has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Co-Athletes of the Week for the past week, becoming the first pair of athletes honored in the scholastic winter sports season.
Innis had 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the Patriots’ 59-46 win over Wood-Ridge last Tuesday. Waters had 18 points. It’s just all in a day’s work for the talented pair, who both come from strong athletic backgrounds.
Innis is the youngest of four children. Her three older brothers, Chris, Brian, and Kevin (currently a standout football player and wrestler at St. Peter’s Prep) were all athletes, although Andrea is the only one to play basketball.
“I think since we all took a liking to sports, it made things easier in the house,” Innis said. “When I tried out for basketball, I found out that I really liked it and stuck with it.”
Innis also plays softball at Secaucus.
Waters is a three-sport athlete (volleyball, basketball and softball) at Secaucus, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Courtney , who also played the same three sports before going on to FDU-Florham.
“Courtney really helped me a lot and was a big influence on me,” Waters said.
While it’s clear that basketball is Innis’ bread-and-butter, Waters isn’t sure what her best sport is. She is a standout pitcher in softball and her volleyball skills have no peers.
“I really don’t have a favorite,” Waters said. “It’s whatever sport I’m playing at that time. I like all of them. Every season, I have fun.”
Sterling is just fortunate to have both – and will have them back again next year for their senior seasons.
“It makes my job that much easier, knowing that I can count on them so much,” Sterling said. “The only thing I have to worry about is foul trouble. If one gets into foul trouble, we’re in trouble. But when they’re both out there, things go so smoothly. Both work extremely hard all the time and both are shouldering a pretty big load.”
But they don’t mind. They’re friends and they’re having fun.
“It is a lot of fun and the work is paying off,” Waters said.
“We’re now working with the freshmen,” Innis said. “They’re inexperienced, but they’re working hard and they’re aggressive. We’re just trying to help out.”
And help carve out a little piece of Hudson County basketball history at the same time. – Jim Hague

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