When you have all five starters returning, two of whom were First Team Hudson Reporter All-Area honorees and one of whom is the two-time Hudson Reporter Player of the Year, then the expectations for a successful season are especially high.
That’s what Secaucus girls’ basketball coach John Sterling is dealing with this season.
“A lot is expected of this team,” said Sterling, who has guided the Patriots to a 5-2 record thus far. “We can’t worry about what other people say. We have everyone back and have other players stepping up. It’s still early in the season.”
The Patriots are fortunate to have seniors Andrea Innis and Shannon Waters back for their final year. Both earned All-Area honors last season, with Innis repeating as the local player of the year.
Innis is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. She already has 1,500-plus career points and is averaging 22 points per game so far this season. Innis had a masterful night recently against North Arlington, scoring a career-best 41 points, just one shy of the school single-game record.
“It was just one of those nights where she was completely on fire,” Sterling said of Innis. “She scored her points in two-and-a-half quarters. That’s quite a lot of points for one game.”
Waters is also back for another go-round, taking her impressive all-around resume with her. Waters is also a fine volleyball and softball player as well. Waters has tallied 1,300-plus points over her career and is averaging close to 15 points per game this season.
“It’s certainly a blessing, having two players of that quality coming back,” Sterling said. “Andrea has a lot of basketball skills and plays all the time. Shannon is a tough, hard-nosed workaholic athlete. They’re a nice pair.”
But Sterling knows that the Patriots need more production from the others on the roster and that is happening.
“We need big things, good seasons from Andrea and Shannon, but we all have to get better,” Sterling said. “I’m hoping we improve.”
Sophomore Danielle Roesing is one of those improving players. The younger sister of the extremely talented Roesing family, including former Reporter Female Athlete of the Year Cory, is averaging almost seven points per game.
“She has good instincts and is very coachable,” Sterling said.
The Patriots also have received solid play from senior Brittney Mitchell, junior Alyssa Lyngholm and a trio of sophomores, Ariana Simon, Lauren Guillen and Danielle Mitchell (no relation to Brittney).
The Patriots are hoping to do well in the new New Jersey Interscholastic League’s Meadowlands Division, as well as getting a high seed in the Hudson County tournament and NJSIAA state tourney as well.
“We certainly hope so,” Sterling said.
It’s almost mindboggling how no colleges have offered Innis a scholarship. She has some interest from some Division III schools, but this is a talented young lady who could definitely play Division I someplace, especially since she’s a 5-foot-9 sharpshooter with excellent ball handling skills and can play anywhere. Here’s to hoping that she becomes a late bloomer, like Bayonne’s Christy Altamirano was a few years ago…
Hudson Catholic announced that Leonard Marshall would not return as head football coach. The former New York Giants All-Pro and Super Bowl hero led the Hawks to a 3-7 record last season, but was really not a good fit, considering he had no prior head coaching experience and it showed during the course of the year. It was an experiment that the school’s administration hoped would give them notoriety and bring solid players into the school, but it didn’t work at all….
Marist has announced that former Bayonne High and University of Iowa standout Dwayne Williams would be the new football coach. Williams was a long-time assistant at Bayonne High and has paid his dues to get a head coaching shot…
Also on the coaching front, North Bergen native Mark D’Onofrio has decided to follow his friend, Al Golden, to the University of Miami, instead of taking the head coaching job at Temple. Golden was given the job at Miami and took D’Onofrio along with him. D’Onofrio was offered the head coaching job at Temple, but went to Miami instead…
Kenny Martoral has been named the interim boys’ basketball coach at North Bergen High School while Kevin Bianco continues his fight against leukemia. Here’s to hoping and praying that it’s a full recovery for the hard-working and affable Bianco…
Hudson Reporter High School Boys’ Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (6-0). 2. Hudson Catholic (7-1). 3. St. Mary (5-1). 4. Marist (5-1). 5. St. Peter’s Prep (3-2).
Hudson Reporter High School Girls’ Basketball Top Five: 1. Bayonne (4-1). 2. North Bergen (4-2). 3. Secaucus (4-2). 4. Lincoln (4-2). 5. Union City (4-3). – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.