Colonia boys puts up a fight in season opener


The Colonia High School boys basketball team may have lost its season opener to Monroe High School last week, but it taught area teams a lesson in the process. Despite returning just one starter from last year’s team, Colonia looks to remain one of the county’s top teams once again.

Monroe, one of the preseason favorites to take the county this winter, escaped with a 60- 57 win. Down by double digits in the final quarter, Monroe surged ahead late and held off the pesky Patriots.

“Monroe was a final four team in both the counties and in states last year,” Colonia head coach Chris Chiera said. “They basically have the same guys from last year and return a lot of experience to the floor. For our guys to play that well opening night was a good sign.”

Junior center C.J. Gray led Colonia with 16 points and classmate Matt Wagner chipped in eight. Dave Cole, the team’s lone returning starter from last season, was plagued by foul trouble and was limited to four points before fouling out of the game.

“Matt and C.J. were role players for us last year,” Chiera said. “We have a young team, which is good, and we have some diversity. We’ll have some different starting lineups depending on situations and opponents.”

Junior Moumoud Seleman provided a spark off the bench for Colonia, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds.

“Moumoud played a tremendous game,” Chiera said. “We went up against a very experienced team, and for us to give that kind of effort, especially at the defensive end, was great.”

Sophomore point guard Greg Jones also had a solid game running the floor for Colonia. Jones took only one shot but was a true distributor. He finished with eight assists.

“Greg played great defense and did really well in just his first varsity game,” Chiera said. “He did a nice job, and he will only get better.”

Another sophomore, Jordan McDaniel, has the makings of a nice swingman and finished his first varsity game with four points.

“We had a pretty good lead for most of the game,” Chiera said. “We made some costly mistakes, which was a reflection of our inexperience, but it was still a great game for us.”

Seniors Justin Williams, Nyaer Jackson and Lukas Zeimaitis saw limited time in the loss but are expected to be significant contributors this season.

The team will need all hands on deck this week when it meets national powerhouse St. Anthony High School. The Patriots played host to the Friars at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 before playing in the Ridge Holiday Tournament Dec. 26-29.