But now, it appears as if there is another dominant team on the horizon coming from little old Guttenberg. It looks as if the Klein School girls' team is ready to make their mark as a hoop powerhouse as well.
Last week, the Klein School girls' team capped a brilliant undefeated season by defeating Lincoln School, 31-24, at North Bergen High School to capture the North Bergen Grammar School League championship. The Klein School team won all 13 games this year, the first girls' team in the school's history to go undefeated.
Flavia Rios is in her second year as the Klein School head coach. A former player at Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi, Rios took over the program a year ago and quickly realized that Guttenberg is indeed a hotbed for basketball talent.
"In the beginning of the season, even though the girls were all new to each other, I knew that they had talent and could go pretty far," said Rios, who teaches grades five through eight as an aide. "I knew that they could be a pretty good team if they put it all together, but I never could have expected that they would have an undefeated season. I'm really speechless. I'm so proud of them. It's a big accomplishment. Winning all 13 games is very difficult, especially in a good league like the one we play in."
Rios said that she especially likes the way her starters, eighth graders Lorena Alba, Diamond Dunston and Yessenia Cruz, along with seventh graders Michelle Avellar and Ashley Zazzona, play together as a team, which is the true sign of a champion.
"They are all able to work together and do everything together," Rios said. "Lorena is great with her rebounding. Diamond is such a good scorer and has the ability to take over the game. She dominates when she wants to."
Rios also likes the way the Klein girls play defense.
"I think the team defense is the strong point," Rios said. "They really get after the other team. Once they were able to steal the ball, it was theirs and they were off. They're very aggressive and like getting out on the fast break. Once they started winning, they wanted it all."
Rios said that she didn't think the team had a disadvantage, coming from little Guttenberg and facing all the bigger North Bergen schools.
"They were able to handle the challenges," Rios said. "They really worked hard for this."
The Guttenberg town council will honor the league champions with a proclamation at the next scheduled meeting. They also plan to honor the national champion Guttenberg Twirlers as well that evening.
"I'm very excited about it and I know the girls are, too," Rios said. "I think they're pretty proud of themselves. I think when [Assistant Principal Joe] Forenza told them that they had a chance to make history by going undefeated, that made them excited as well."
Rios said that a number of her players will be able to go on and become successful high school performers, much in the same fashion that many of the boys from the school have done, like Miles Beatty and Rafael Hernandez, who currently play for the NJSIAA Parochial B state champion St. Anthony Friars.
"I definitely think some of them can play in high school," Rios said. "[North Bergen] high school coach [Dan Riordan] has already spoken to some of them."
Sure sounds like the girls of Klein School are definitely ready to make their mark on the rest of the basketball world as well, following in the footsteps of their basketball brethren.