Boys Basketball: MoBeard, Dayton, A Fateful Rematch with Morris Catholic, and More

Ben Colao, Staff Writer

Another two weeks has passed, and with it another myriad of Madison match-ups. Each game possessed its own unique array of complexity, but ultimately speaks to the significant improvement the program has made so far. Even the student section couldn’t be kept out for long, as easing Covid cases has allowed for the temporary suspension of student spectators to finally be lifted (check out their instagram @mhsstu22 for information on themes). So, with that now out of the way, let’s get right into it! 

Despite Tough Fight, Varsity again falls to Morris Catholic – Freshman and JV score Renewed Victories

Last Tuesday, on the 18th of January, the Dodgers traveled to again face Morris Catholic, this time on their own turf. MC’s strong roster – including two former members of the Italian National team – put the Dodgers out to pasture in their season opening match in December, and the hope of enacting vengeance pervaded the Dodgers as they warmed up. However, while Madison certainly put up a far stiffer fight than they did two months ago, the difference in talent and efficiency was again immediately made clear. Shooting guard Marco Restelli again proved deadly from range, scoring nineteen points (fifteen of them from three-pointers), and along with strong performances from Marco Gordils (nine points), Luca Tepedino (eight points), James Taylor (nine points) and Mirko Bramati (sixteen points), the Morris Catholic offense proved too effective to subvert. However, this outcome did not come to pass easily, as Madison worked to play far, far better than their first time sharing the court with MC. Senior Drew Stack led in points for the Dodgers with twenty four points, and several players each had over three rebounds; including seniors Carson Pacheko, Daniel Oyederian, Tommasso Maher, Jack Stuart, as well as juniors Jared Barnes and Colin Melvin (who had five). The final score would stand again as a loss by a significant margin – 76-51 – but it was nevertheless clear to any spectator that the Madison team they watched that day was not the same one seen in December. 

The JV and Freshman teams had, by a somewhat comical contrast, no issue dispatching their respective foes in December, and for the freshmen, this remained true; finishing the game with a final score of 57-22, a differential of thirty five points. However, JV faced stiffer resistance – with the addition of one member of the Varsity squad adding a significant bite to the bark of Morris Catholic’s offense. Despite this, however, the momentum gained by this would be cut short by this new player being face-guarded for the remainder of the game, during which he would only score another two points; allowing the Dodgers to clinch a one point victory and again best Morris Catholic.

Madison shows its Strength in Blazing Victories over Morristown Beard

In many ways, Madison’s game against MoBeard last Thursday, January 20th, was a perfect foil for its rematch with Morris Catholic two days ago. Whereas in that game, the Dodgers were left simply without the capacity to overpower their superior adversary, MoBeard was left similarly powerless to truly challenge a Madison team that was faster, smarter, and stronger. Throughout the game, the Dodgers operated at a high level of efficiency and dominated both sides of the court – with particularly impressive performances from Seniors Daniel Oyederian (Nineteen points, six rebounds), Drew Stack (Thirteen points, five rebounds), Tomasso Maher (Nine points, three assists), and Carson Pacheco (Eight points, three assists). And while MoBeard certainly had a few players who could score – like Max Masino (13 points) – their lack of effective depth in their roster as compared to the Dodgers meant that from early on, the outcome became clear. The increasingly demoralized and exhausted MoBeard team would ultimately crumble against Madison; the final score was 68-47, Madison. 

With regard to the other levels, the freshman team would have even greater ease – defeating Morris Catholic by a whopping 39 points with a final score of 82 – 43. JV did not play MoBeard on the 20th.

The Varsity and JV Dodgers prevail over Dayton; Freshman suffers loss

In similar fashion, the outcome of Madison’s Varsity game against Dayton would also mirror a previous game in several ways; that of the immense confusion and frustration of their loss to Pequannock eleven days earlier. That game was characterized by an unshakeable streak of failed possessions, tired and ineffective defense, and a myriad of moments here and there that always worked against Madison just enough to further harm morale; something which was carried on to an extent in this game. Throughout the first half, Madison exercised their offensive prowess by continually finding open looks, but often simply failed to execute. As such, despite a clear difference in talent, the Dodgers set themselves up for a far tighter match up than their foe had earned entering into the second half. However, to my great relief, the third quarter would be Madison’s to win: Shots began falling left and right, and continued efficiency on defense ensured that there would be no comeback for Dayton in the final minutes of the game. The final score was 47-35, Madison.

Prior to the varsity match-up, the freshman team took to the court, and was ultimately defeated. JV suffered from many of the same issues of the Varsity team early on; failing to execute on offense and continually losing opportunities to capitalize on the many blunders their adversaries made. However, just as Varsity would, JV was ultimately able to pull themselves together and squeeze out a victory over Dayton, with a final score of 58-49.  

Varsity and JV continue win streaks with victories over Glen Rock

On Tuesday, January 25th, the Dodgers would again take to the road in order to face their newest adversary, Glen Rock. Both teams entered the court that day coming off of two straight victories, and were keen on keeping their streaks alive. However, despite their home court advantage, Glen Rock would soon find themselves swept aside as the Dodgers exerted their dominance on both offense and defense. Senior Drew Stack led Madison in points with twenty two (three of them from the three-point line) and eight rebounds, and coupled with strong performances from seniors Daniel Oyederian (thirteen points), Tommasso Maher (ten points) and junior Sean Mariani (eight points). Glen Rock was simply unable to gain any real momentum. By the end of the first half, they would trail Madison 19-23, a lead that would only widen as the Dodgers continued to outscore Glen Rock in both the third and fourth quarters. The final score would be 55-46, Madison.

The trend of building on winning streaks would be duly carried by JV as well when their time to take the court, and they too would emerge victorious in a somewhat dull match largely mimicking the one prior to it. The freshman team would also continue its losing streak, falling to Glen Rock 34-39.

Varsity edges out hard-fought win over Whippany Park to end out regular season, JV suffers frustrating loss

In their final match-up of the regular season, the Dodgers faced off against Whippany Park on Thursday, January 27th at home. Grateful for the lifting of the temporary suspension on student spectators, the STU made a glorious return; packing the stands and making their presence loud and clear throughout the game (I can attest, they made an impact on the court). Both teams played well and fought hard in each quarter, remaining neck and neck heading into halftime; with Whippany Park grasping onto a thin three point lead 27-24. However, as it has gone throughout the season, the Dodgers were far from deterred or demoralized. The third quarter was a defensive slog, in which both teams failed to score more than 8 points, and with Whippany retaining their lead. But while the third quarter would significantly drain Whippany in energy and resolve, the Dodgers only ratcheted up their pace even more. The fourth quarter would see the Dodgers score twice as many points as Whippany Park, granting them a hard-fought and well-earned victory. Senior Drew Stack would again dominate the court, with twenty five points and ten rebounds. The final score was 46-41, Madison.

Striking an unfortunate contrast against the glory of Varsity’s win, JV would come to suffer a terribly frustrating loss. The team failed to generate any sort of momentum, and played in a way Head Coach Curtiss Sallie described as “sloppy.” In brighter news, though, the freshman team would finally break their streak of losses; earning a massive victory against Whippany Park 63-28.

Coming up this week, Madison is slated to face off against Mountain Lakes this Wednesday, February 2nd, as well as their First Round tournament match against Jefferson on Saturday, February 5th. Go Dodgers!