Bombers look to rebound from Buc Classic defeat



Sayreville War Memorial High School’s boys’ basketball team got out of the gate with four straight victories to open the season before finally dropping a game to Ranney School at the Albert E. Martin Buc Classic in Red Bank Dec. 28.

Hampered by foul trouble, the Bombers fell to Ranney, 71-59, despite 22 points from Ryan O’Leary and 14 from Hendersen Mautes, both junior guards. Following the loss, Sayreville was set to meet Central Regional High School Dec. 30 in the consolation game.

Coach John Wojcik was looking for a quick start to help build confidence this winter after the Bombers went 12-14 a year ago. “We got what we wanted with a 4-0 start, now I want to see how we bounce back from a loss,” the Bombers’ coach said. “We can take a lot of positives out of the Ranney game; overall, we want to be aggressive. Still, we had our chances. It didn’t help that we didn’t have a good night from the foul line.”

Sayreville, which has only three seniors on its roster, has proved to be a handful for its opponents. The blue and gray got off and running with a comfortable 54-33 victory against Edison High School on opening night Dec. 18. Sayreville controlled the action from start to finish, as Mautes scored 18 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the offense. Big man Jahsim Floyd added seven points and 10 rebounds, and Ryan O’Leary provided 14 points.

On Dec. 19, Sayreville played in the Friends of South Amboy benefit to raise funds for former South Amboy Fire Chief Kenneth Walczak, who is battling an illness. The Bombers went up against the host school in an exciting game that went Sayreville’s way, 59-57, when O’Leary nailed a jump shot with time running out.

Wojcik’s team jumped to a 21-12 firstquarter lead, but the Governors gradually clawed their way back into the game. O’Leary, who transferred from South Amboy, led all scorers with 32 points, including four 3-pointers.

The blue and gray had another close game against Colonia High School Dec. 22. Sayreville outscored the Patriots, 17-13, over the final eight minutes to come away with a 48-45 victory. Floyd came up big, pumping in 21 points and hauling in 10 caroms for the Bombers. O’Leary added 16 points and made an impressive steal late in the contest to seal the victory.

In the opener of the Buc Classic Dec. 27, O’Leary again led the way, scoring 21 points and adding seven steals as the Bombers got off to a 16-4 start and never looked back against Shore Regional High School. The final score was 46-24.

Wojcik noted the emergence of O’Leary and Mautes as scoring threats and the continued development of Floyd have all played key roles in his team’s success. The coach also credited sophomore point guard Derek Astarita.

“Derek’s been a catalyst for us,” Wojcik said. “He doesn’t score a lot of points, but he sets the tone with his hustle, effort and defense.”

In addition, the Bombers are expecting 6-foot-4 Jayson DeMild to join the lineup in the coming weeks. The junior forward is recovering from an injury he suffered during the football season.

“Our guys have shown that they can adapt,” Wojcik said. “We played some tough scrimmages [against Rahway High School, South Brunswick High School, William L. Dickinson High School and Hamilton High School West], and those were valuable learning experiences. Now, we’ll see how they bounce back to a loss. It’s all part of the process, and they have to learn to do it.”