Irvington HS boys’ basketball team seeks successful season

Nasir Johnson is expected to be the Blue Knights’ top scoring threat after a strong freshman season last year. Photo by Steve Ellmore.

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IRVINGTON, NJ (updated Tuesday Dec. 20, 12:01 p.m.) – The Irvington High School varsity boys’ basketball team, under third-year head coach Elias Brantley, hopes to improve on last year’s 9-16 record.

The Blue Knights also are looking to qualify for the state tournament.

The returning players are sophomore guard Nasir Johnson, senior guard/forward Pious Palmer, junior forward Kevin Kirkpatrick, senior forward Reggie Tyndall, junior guard Andrew Sylvestre, and senior guard/forward Aquill Moody.

As a freshman last year, Johnson was the second-leading scorer for the Blue Knights with an average of 9.8 points per game to make Honorable Mention on the All-Super Essex Conference-American Division. Johnson, who is expected to be the team’s top scoring threat, and Palmer, the Blue Knights’ “glue guy” as a leader, will serve as team captains, Brantley said.

“The two complement one another well in their roles, with Pious bringing senior leadership and maturity, and Nasir having the experience on the floor,” Brantley said.

Sylvestre will run the offense and is expected to be the team’s top assist man and ballhandler.

The Blue Knights have a strong group of newcomers. They include senior forward Nelson Gedeon, junior guard Rodiny Estime, senior guard/forward Herby Hertilien, junior guard Jiair Buckner, sophomore guard Dameer Vitale, and junior guard/forward Isaiah Bennett.

Gedeon is expected to be the team’s top rebounder.

The Blue Knights’ tough defense will create opportunities at both ends of the floor.

“The team should be pretty good defensively,” Brantley said. “Hopefully we can create some opportunities by getting out and running (fast breaks) more.”

The Blue Knights this season have moved down to the SEC-Liberty Division after being in the American Division, which is the SEC’s top division, for the past few years. “The number one goal of this season is to make the state tournament,” said Brantley. “It would be good to finish in the top 3 of the conference this year.”

The Blue Knights’ season opener at Memorial of West New York was canceled on Saturday, Dec. 17. IHS’ first game was Tuesday, Dec. 20, at home against Bloomfield Tech. IHS visits Columbia on Dec. 22 at 4 p.m.


Dec. 17, at Memorial (West New York), 2:30 p.m. (CANCELED)

Dec. 20, Bloomfield Tech, 4 p.m.*

Dec. 22, at Columbia, 4 p.m.*

Jan. 3, Central, 4 p.m.

Jan. 5, Montclair, 4 p.m.*

Jan. 7, Newark Tech, 1 p.m.*

Jan. 10, at American History, 6 p.m.

Jan. 12, at West Orange, 4 p.m.*

Jan. 17, Barringer, 4 p.m.*

Jan. 19, at Bloomfield Tech, 4 p.m.*

Jan. 24, at West Essex, 7 p.m.

Jan. 26, Columbia, 4 p.m.*

Jan. 31, at Montclair, 4 p.m.*

Feb. 2, at Barringer, 7 p.m.*

Feb. 7, at Newark Tech, 4 p.m.*

Feb. 16, West Orange, 4 p.m.*

Feb. 18, Visions Academy Charter, 1 p.m.

Feb. 23, at Hackettstown, 4 p.m.

Feb. 24, Union, 4 p.m.

*SEC-Liberty Division game