When the Hudson County Schools of Technology decided to end their athletic programs in July of 2010, Sybil Lynch thought her adolescent world was coming to an end.
After all, Lynch had already established herself as a three-sport standout at High Tech High School in North Bergen. Lynch was beyond comfortable at High Tech. It was home.
“Honestly, when the sports teams were eliminated, I was devastated,” Lynch said. “Those girls weren’t only my teammates. They were like my sisters. We bonded together in every way. I was so upset by it. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I just couldn’t picture myself with another team.”
As part of the athletic programs’ demise, the student/athletes were given the opportunity to play sports at their respective home districts while still attending the Schools of Technology.
So that’s what Lynch, a Hoboken resident, was going to do. She was going to remain enrolled at High Tech while playing sports at Hoboken.
“My hometown is Hoboken and I did know a lot of the girls from playing recreation,” Lynch said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get the chance to play for High Tech anymore. I knew I still wanted to play.”
But it was going to take a major adjustment for Lynch, especially attending school in North Bergen, then having to get to Hoboken in time for practices and games.
“It is trying,” Lynch said. “I usually end up being late for practice and I hate being late. It was learning to play at a different pace. It was a whole new coaching staff. It really was a major adjustment.”
Hoboken head girls’ basketball coach Ryan Sorafine saw Lynch perform at High Tech and knew she would fit in nicely with the Red Wings.
“We played against her and knew that she had outstanding quickness,” Sorafine said. “She was always a step ahead of everyone else. She would get the ball in transition and go. She had a lot of energy. She had an eye for the game and had great anticipation for the ball.”
Lynch fit in very well during her first year with the Red Wings last season. She averaged a little better than 15 points per game, establishing herself as one of the finest guards in the county.
But as the 2011-2012 season began, Sorafine expected a little more from his senior leader.
“I saw that she had the ability to pull up and take a little jump shot,” Sorafine said. “She didn’t have to take it all the way to the basket. She’s also become a better 3-point shooter. That part of her game has come a long way. Her shooting percentage is much higher and so is her confidence level.”
Lynch would like to say that she worked hard on her perimeter game in the off-season, but in reality, she doesn’t enjoy any off-season. She plays soccer in the fall and softball in the spring. She’s also playing club softball for most of the summer months, so she’s constantly on the go.
“I never really focus on one sport,” Lynch said. “I honestly didn’t have a lot of time for basketball, because of my travel softball schedule. It’s one of the best things about me. I just keep going. It’s what I do.”
Lynch’s production has increased this season, as she’s averaging 19 points per game. For a stretch, Lynch was ranked among the top 20 scorers in the state and in a recent win over Union City, a game where Lynch had 25 points, she tallied the 1,000th point of her career.
“I just wanted to win that game so much,” Lynch said. “It’s the best feeling ever. It felt like a dream.”
Lynch, whose top scoring game this season was a 31-point outburst against Hudson Catholic, scored 18 points in wins over Holy Family Academy and Fort Lee and had 15 in a win over Memorial last week.
For her efforts, Lynch has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Lynch has guided the Red Wings to an impressive 8-4 record this season.
“She’s having a big year,” Sorafine said. “I knew she would have a big year. It’s not surprising at all. I think she understands the role of being a senior and a leader and has taken on that role. Last year, she was still getting used to everything. She didn’t know what was expected of her. This year, she’s more comfortable and it shows.”
Sorafine believes that Lynch could play at the collegiate level.
“She’s developed her shooting to where she could play at the next level,” Sorafine said. “She already has the speed and the athleticism. She’s the total package and proves it day in and day out.”
At first, Lynch was not even going to consider athletics in college. She wanted to attend a fashion school, so she was set to abandon her athletic career.
But Lynch has now had a bit of a change of heart and she’s applying to schools with sports in mind.
“Maybe I can play soccer and basketball in college,” Lynch said.
It’s certainly nice to have those kinds of options. So what was once a catastrophe, the ending of the athletic programs at High Tech, have become somewhat of a blessing for Lynch.
“I’m thankful to have this team this year,” Lynch said. “I’m thankful to have these girls as teammates. If my game continues to step up a bit, then who knows what we can do this season. It’s been a lot of fun.” – Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.