Pirate Hoops Opens with a Win

On February 4, the Seton Hall Prep basketball team finally began their season against the Blue Devils of Central High School. With COVID moving back all winter sports into January, the basketball season was shortened similarly to the previous fall season. The Prep’s first game had to wait until February, though, due to a COVID breakout in the school as well as a major snowstorm that dropped close to two feet of snow in some areas of New Jersey. As would be expected, the seventeenth ranked Pirates squad came out flat against Central due to their lack of practice time. The team revealed why they are ranked in the top 20 in the state, though, with their grit and determination until the final buzzer.

Throughout the first three quarters of the game, the Pirates played far from their best. Sloppy turnovers and shots gave Central the lead for the duration of the first three quarters. Because of the lack of practice time, the Pirates seemed disorganized and not all on the same page. As the game entered the fourth quarter, the team was able to keep the game close despite their struggles. Many times throughout the game, The Prep brought the lead down to four or five points, but was not able to get over the hump. This would change in the fourth quarter as the team flipped the switch and played to their state ranking of 17.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, down by four points yet again, the Pirates were finally able to grab onto the lead. Improving on their previously loose defense, they finally had the ability to stop the Blue Devils from scoring whenever they pleased. Now that Central was not scoring on seemingly every trip down the floor, the Pirates’ offense could finally take control of the game. The Prep showcased the primary strength of the team: their cohesiveness and reliance on each other. Contrary to previous years of Pirates basketball, which saw superstars such as TJ Gibbs, Jabri Abdur Rahim, and Ashton Miller, the team no longer has one central player to rely on. The 2021 Pirates basketball team must all play and be a major part of the game. This was certainly true in the fourth quarter, as every player on the floor was contributing and leading the Pirates to their first win of the season. By the last minute of the game, the Pirates had gained a stranglehold on the lead and ended up winning the game 47-44.

The aforementioned cohesiveness of the team is highlighted in the final box score of the game. The leading scorer, Nick Dunneman ‘22, had just 8 points, and nine different players scored at least 3 points in the game. Giye Jenkins ‘21 was the leading rebounder with 7, and tied as the leader in assists (3) and steals (2). While far from the highest level they are capable of playing to, the fact that they could earn a win despite an off night shows the resilience of this team. They will need to play better against the tougher teams in the state, but this was a great way for the team to begin their season.