His team had just won its 13th straight game, defeating Snyder, 62-41, yet Hudson Catholic boys’ basketball head coach Nick Mariniello was not pleased with the way his team performed.
“I just don’t think we’re hitting on all cylinders just yet,” Mariniello said. “I know it’s late in the year, but we have to turn it up. I’m trying to get my team ready for what lies ahead.”
Of course, the Hudson County Tournament is just two weeks away, but before then, the Hawks have to face Newark East Side, currently 14-0 and the top ranked team in New Jersey. They also have a rematch with neighboring rival Marist on the schedule before the county tourney.
“I just wasn’t happy [Tuesday],” Mariniello said. “I wasn’t happy during the game and I wasn’t happy after it. We’ve been involved in enough basketball games now to realize that we have to prepare for every game the same way.”
Marinello does have a young team, featuring few seniors that contribute.
“I know we have a young team,” Mariniello said. “We’ve created a situation where we’re constantly raising the bar. We have to play the best against the best. I have high expectations in our program.”
The Hawks are the two-time defending Hudson County Tournament champions and will look to make it a “three-peat” in a few weeks. Mariniello was asked if he was perhaps a little spoiled by the program’s past success.
“As coaches, we do get greedy,” Mariniello said. “I want to put these guys in the same position to leave the same legacy as the guys before them. I just want them to play the right way.”
Mariniello said that he is pleased with the play of his starting backcourt, namely senior J.R. Lynch and junior Nassir Barrino.
“They’ve been terrific,” Mariniello said. “They’ve been solid all year.”…
In the early stages of the season, the Patriots of Secaucus were going through some rugged times, losing their first six games and posting a record of 1-7 after eight contests.
But recently, the Patriots have suddenly turned things around, winning five of their last eight games to improve to 6-10 overall. It’s not exactly world beater status, but it’s certainly better than the alternative.
“We’re playing a lot better,” Secaucus head coach Carlos Cueto said. “The kids are buying in and playing their tails off in every game. We’re competitive in every game.”
Cueto said that the Patriots had a tough go early.
“We had a tough early season schedule and Christmas schedule,” said Cueto, the former Union Hill head coach who is in his second year as the head man in Secaucus. “I think that hurt us as a young team. We’re playing basically all sophomores and they’re beginning to play well.”
Senior Colby Iyer has been a mainstay for the Patriots, averaging 15 points per game.
“He carried us early in the season,” Cueto said of Iyer, who is also a standout on the Secaucus soccer team. “He carried us when everyone was down.”
Iyer had 24 points in a huge 57-51 win over Lyndhurst last week.
Sophomore point guard Jovin Ramos has been playing well of late. Ramos hit a clutch 3-pointer to defeat Leonia Tuesday night.
“It was just a matter of time,” Cueto said of the turnaround. “They had to get used to playing together. We have only two kids who played varsity last year, so it took some time for them to come together.”…
Before the loss to Hudson Catholic Tuesday, Snyder had been playing much better, winning five straight since Isaac Neal became eligible. The former Lincoln player had 16 in the Tigers’ 68-46 win over Ferris last week. Snyder is now 10-5 on the season…
The flood damage that ravaged the Bob Hurley Court at St. Anthony’s home gym in the Golden Door Charter School will cause the Friars to play on the road for the remainder of the season, including upcoming NJSIAA state playoff games. Sure, the Friars will make the most of P.S. 7 in Jersey City as a home court, but it’s not the same and certainly not what legendary coach Hurley wanted as the playoffs begin. The Friars worked hard to get a higher seed in the tourney and now the home court that comes with the higher seed is gone…
Is there any girls’ basketball player in the county playing better than Lincoln’s sensational forward Kiante Johnson?
Johnson merely had 30 points and 14 rebounds and 27 points and 12 rebounds in two wins over Marist, had 24 points and 14 rebounds in a win over St. Dominic, had 18 points and seven rebounds in a win over Hudson Catholic and 16 points and eight rebounds in a win over St. Anthony.
For the season, Johnson is now averaging 19.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. That’s called consistency…
In closing, Jersey City lost a true boxing legend last week when former light heavyweight contender Jimmy “The Cat” Dupree passed away at the age of 77.
Born in South Carolina, Dupree moved to Jersey City when he was 15 years old and never left. He became a professional boxer in 1961 and worked his way up the ranks to where he was the No. 1 light heavyweight contender in the country, taking on such foes as Vicente Rondon and Mike Quarry.
Dupree retired from competitive boxing in 1975 with a stellar record of 49-7-2. Upon retirement, Dupree opened a gym in Jersey City and taught hundreds of kids to box and even worked with Jersey City Recreation in teaching kids to box.
Dupree also became known as “The Man Who Runs For A Cause,” running for several worthy charities over the years, including a famed run from Jersey City’s City Hall to Newark’s City Hall to raise money for sickle cell anemia.
A true man for others, Dupree, a member of both the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, will be sorely missed…
Hudson Reporter Boys’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (12-3). 2. Hudson Catholic (16-2). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (16-2). 4. Bayonne (11-6). 5. Marist (11-5)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. Lincoln (14-2). 2. Bayonne (14-2). 3. Secaucus (11-5). 4. North Bergen (14-3). 5. Marist (10-6)….—Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.