GLEN RIDGE – Coming off a 12-14 season, head coach Liam Carr knows there were both ups and downs to the 2015-16 varsity basketball season for his Glen Ridge High School boys’ varsity team.
As one of the positives, the Ridger coach knows that recording 12 wins despite not having any seniors on the roster and despite graduating six seniors from a year ago, is still an impressive achievement.
“We graduated six seniors in 2014-15 and four of those six received all-conference recognition and we did not have any seniors in our program this year,” he said. “So we knew our kids lacked varsity experience, as well as leadership. Our biggest challenge as coaches is not so much figuring out the X’s and O’s, rather trying to get them to play with urgency.”
That said, Carr points to some of the peaks and valleys.
“Like any season, there are highs and lows. Our expectations as coaches is for our kids to utilize the lows from this past season as a tool to get better. If we want to win more games next season, especially tournament wins, we have a lot of work to put forth this offseason,” he said.
Overall, Carr talked about some of the season’s biggest highlights.
“We had some nice home wins over Nutley, including a buzzer-beater three-pointer by Max Thompson, Cedar Grove in overtime and Oratory Prep. We had two tough wins versus conference foe Technology. The first contest was an overtime win in Newark in which our kids showed some grit and maturity as Technology forced overtime on a three at the buzzer. The second contest was tied at 38 with a couple seconds remaining and taking the ball out full-court. Upon receiving the inbounds pass, Max hit Tyler Liddy cutting up court who only had enough time to launch a half-court shot that gave us a three-point win.
“The final memorable win was versus University Academy Charter of Jersey City in the first round of the state playoffs. We had some injuries down the stretch and the inexperience of a full varsity season caught up with us as we struggled in February. But our kids persevered and showed some maturity as they won, 48-41, and moved onto the quarterfinal round for a second consecutive year.”
Without any seniors graduating from this year’s group, Carr said next year’s group would have four in Ryan Liddy, Max Thompson, Charlie DeLuca and Nick Weber-Zazzu.
“If our kids want to take this team up a couple notches, each player must break out of his comfort-zones and work on the weaker parts of their games,” Carr said.