Sayreville hoops looking forward to postseason

Boys squad makes state playoffs for first time since 2004


The Sayreville High School boys basketball team seems to have bounced back from a 2-4 lull thanks to successive victories against South Plainfield and West Windsor North.

The Bombers, 13-5 overall, opened the season by winning eight of their first nine games before hitting a slump that culminated with a loss to Monroe on Martin Luther King Day.

“We weren’t playing well, and that game was a low point for us,” coach Shawn Currie said. “The guys came back the next day and had one of their best practices and they had another good practice the next day. They were determined to get going again.”

Sayreville certainly did, defeating South Plainfield by 29 points on Thursday. James DeMild, the Bombers’ all-purpose forward, pumped in 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead his team. De- Mild played a key role – scoring 18 points and adding seven steals – in Sayreville’s 67-38 win over New Brunswick on Tuesday.

The gritty junior has been a factor at both ends of the floor this winter, averaging seven points and seven rebounds.

“James reallymakes our teamgo,”Currie said. “He does all the dirty work. Night in and night out he comes to play. He really made a statement against South Plainfield.”

The turnaround ensured that Sayreville would qualify for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Currie’s team will look to make its presence felt in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament. Seedings will be determined in about two weeks.

The Bombers have a balanced offense led by senior guard RickyHarding, who averages 18.8 points and 4.5 assists, tops on the team in both categories. Junior guard Paul DeLacosta is next with an 11-point average, followed by 6-foot-9 center Chris Matagrano, who averages 10.1 points.

Harding and Matagrano are two of the Bombers’ three captains, and Currie praised their leadership. The coach also noted that his third captain, guard Ray Rodriguez, has been a vocal and inspirational force despite being sidelined for the season with an ACL injury. Currie said Rodriguez is the team’s top defender.

“All three of our captains have done the job for us,” the coach said. “They get the job done on and off the court. And Ray has been there for his teammates. They’ve all had to step it up with Ray out, and Ray, in turn, has been great in supporting them.”

Another key Sayreville contributor is point guard Lavone Graham, who has shown patience and poise with the ball. He averages five points- and has canned several clutch baskets along the way – and three assists.

The Sayreville bench has been solid as well. Javon Hodges, who spells Graham at the point, has improved with each game, and forward Glenn Cannon has earned more playing time. Both are juniors. Michael Greco, who has battled through an ankle injury, and Robert Pizzi, a pair of junior guards, have also performedwell. Senior forwardsMichael Cunninghamand Jahmer Moodie have contributed as well.

“Our success is the result of all the hard work the guys put in during the offseason,” Currie said. “They deserve the success they’ve had.”

On a different note, the coach noted that at least half of his players made the honor role during the lastmarking period. “That’s what it’s really all about,” he added.

Sayreville returns to action tomorrow when Colonia comes to visit.