Maynard and Bleecker Drive SHP’s Strong Season

After last year’s impressive 23-4 season that ended in the NPA Semi-Final in a three-point loss to Don Bosco, there was uncertainty about the 2022-2023 team. First was the point guard position. Last year, the leader and the starting point guard, Myles Thomason ’22, was dynamic for the Pirates. Myles played the point guard position flawlessly, innate with the ability to drive to the basket, pull up from mid-range, find the open man, and play lockdown defense. With Myles graduating, there was an empty hole in the starting lineup. In addition, the Pirates lost their leading scorer, Nick Dunneman ’22. Nick was an all-around athlete, a superstar wide receiver on the football field, and an unbelievable guard on the hardwood. The basketball team lost their number-one scorer and go-to on offense, with Nick graduating.  

However, it is safe to say the 2022-2023 squad silenced the noise and played quality basketball. The Pirates are currently 13-2, 7-1 in conference play, and sit #8 ranked in the NJ rankings. In the first half of the season, the team picked up quality wins over Notre Dame (CT), Arts, and Hudson Catholic. Recently, the Pirates have dominated with impressive wins over Rutgers Prep, East Orange, and county rival Montclair Immaculate. So far, the Pirates have only lost two games: 54-51 vs. Arts and 52-44 vs. Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Prep has five games left in the regular season before the Essex County Tournament and the State Championship Tournament.  

Two players have been critical reasons for the Prep’s success. First, Ethan Maynard ’23. He is a name you would not recognize from last year’s team as he did not see many minutes as a junior, but as a senior, he has been unbelievable. Ethan has filled the shoes that Myles left and has been an ideal point guard for Coach Williams. Ethan has the ability to take over games completely. For instance, against East Orange, Ethan scored twelve points in the 4th quarter and played perfect defense to help lead The Prep to a 4th quarter comeback win. In addition, Ethan was superb against Montclair Immaculate, dropping seventeen points and scoring a buzzer-beater to win the game with no time on the clock. Ethan’s playmaking skills are unbelievable, and he has been a standout player who is starting to get recognition across the state. Another guard who has been stellar for the Pirates is Jackson Bleecker ’23. Jackson, a standout junior last year, has continued to impress all on the hardwood with an impressive senior year campaign. Jackson has been deadly behind the arc resulting in numerous clutch threes for the Pirates. As of late, Jackson has shown the state why he is one of the best, scoring nineteen points in the comeback win vs. Montclair Immaculate and eighteen in the impressive win over Rutgers Prep. Ethan and Jackson’s performances are vital reasons for The Prep’s success this year.