Memorial’s dramatic hoops turnaround
Suber leading Lincoln girls; big win for the Friars
Jan 26, 2014 | 3278 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TORRID TIGERS – Senior forward Jimmy Rodriguez has been a major reason why Memorial has turned its boys’ basketball season around, winning four straight and six out of seven.
TORRID TIGERS – Senior forward Jimmy Rodriguez has been a major reason why Memorial has turned its boys’ basketball season around, winning four straight and six out of seven.

The beginning of the boys’ high school basketball season wasn’t kind at all to the Tigers of Memorial High School.

The Tigers suffered tough lopsided losses to St. Peter’s Prep by almost 40 points and Bayonne by 30.

But the Tigers have enjoyed a huge resurgence over the last two weeks, winning four straight games and six of their last seven to improve to 7-5 overall.

The latest win was a 66-54 conquering of Newark West Side, a solid win against good competition.

Senior Jimmy Rodriguez, who is also a football and baseball standout, scored 17 points in the win over West Side. Rodriguez is one of the best all-around athletes in the county.

The Tigers have displayed excellent scoring balance in their recent surge. Manuel Rivera had 13 in the win over West Side, with Yagiz Kulark adding 11, Marcus Vegas scoring 10, Max Martinez adding eight and Chris Fernandez tossing in six points.

Coach Ryan Raparelli has to be pleased with the way his team turned around their fortunes and now appear headed to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group IV playoffs….

The Lincoln girls’ team, the two-time defending Hudson County Tournament champions, appears poised to make a run at a “three-peat,” thanks to the play of senior guard She’Kinah Suber, who has been downright spectacular of late.

Suber has been averaging close to 20 points per game, including 22 in a recent win over University Charter.

“She knows we need her,” said Lincoln head coach Tommy Best. “She’s been on a little tear right now. But she’s a scorer and can shoot the ball. She has qualities that give defenses problems. She’s not doing anything I didn’t think she was capable of doing.”

Best knew that he needed someone to pick up the scoring slack after the graduation of two-time Hudson Reporter Player of the Year Breana Bay.

“Without a doubt, She’Kinah has stepped into the shoes left by Bay,” Best said. “She has been the second option all season [with forward Kiante Johnson holding that role] and she might be the first. It’s a big plus for us, because we need someone who has that mentality to score. It makes us that much tougher to face.”

Pamela LaRocco and Antoinette Shiloh have played well in recent games for the Lions, who currently own an impressive 10-2 record…

The St. Anthony boys’ team improved to 9-1 with a solid 45-38 win over Blair Academy, a post-graduate institution that has sent countless players to major college basketball, including current NBA stars Luol Deng and Charlie Villanueva.

The Friars had two ingredients to success _ namely stingy, relentless defense and the play of senior guard Tarin Smith, who has emerged as the team’s leader. Smith scored 15 in the win over Blair. He’s playing himself into a big-time college prospect.

Markis McDuffie, a lanky junior who is also a college prospect, scored 12 in the win over Blair….

Hudson Catholic’s boys improved to 10-2 with an impressive 65-53 win over St. Mary’s of Elizabeth in the Martin Luther King Roundball Roundup.

Junior forward Sammy Friday, who is enjoying a sensational season thus far, had 20 points and 13 rebounds in the win and Safee Abdus-Sabur had 21 points and 10 rebounds in that game. It looks as if Friday and Sabur are providing the Hawks with a solid 1-2 punch down low, one that may be tough to beat…

The Snyder girls’ team hasn’t had a lot to cheer about lately, but the Tigers received great performances from Janaya Shipman (23 points, 12 rebounds), Briana Berry (24 points) and Sasha Geathers (14 points, six assists). If the Tigers received that on a regular basis, they could be dangerous….

Congrats to friends Ed Lucas, Sean Drennan and James Morley, who had milestone birthdays recently. Lucas, the highly respected sportswriter and sportscaster, who dedicated most of his life to the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, turned 75 and his wife Alison threw him a big birthday bash.

Drennan and Morley form a great tandem coaching the Dickinson boys’ squad. In a span of three days, Drennan turned 40 and Morley turned 30…

With a sense of sadness, I report that Tom Bragen passed away last week. Bragen was a fixture at many different Jersey City sporting events and was a close friend to the aforementioned Lucas, serving as Lucas’ eyes as the two would go to places like Yankee Stadium and CitiField.

Bragen was also an avid fan of St. Peter’s College (now University) athletics and we would speak often about the Peacocks, since I once worked in the athletic department there. Tom had a huge heart and went out of his way to help anyone and everyone. It’s a big loss to Jersey City…

Need a local angle for the Super Bowl? Well, Denver Broncos’ linebacker Robert Ayers spent most of his young childhood in Hoboken, playing recreation football and was a student at Hoboken High School as a freshman, a member of the Red Wings’ state championship team in 1999.

Ayers moved with his family to South Carolina after his freshman year at Hoboken.

So there’s a Hoboken angle for the Super Bowl, with the Broncos having one of our own on the roster. He’s coming back home for the game of his life.

We will have more about Ayers in next week’s Tidbits prior to the game…

Hudson Reporter Boys’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (9-1). 2-Hudson Catholic (10-2). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (10-2). 4. Bayonne (8-4). 5. Marist (8-3)…

Hudson Reporter Girls’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Lincoln (10-2). 2. Bayonne (10-2). 3. Secaucus (9-3). 4. North Bergen (9-3). 5. Marist (8-5)…--Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.
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