For boys basketball team, one down three to go
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Head boys basketball coach Jason Mittelman had described winning the Ridgefield Holiday Tournament as his team’s first goal for the season. And on Dec. 30, 2016, Glen Rock accomplished just that when they defeated hosts Ridgefield.
“We have a set of goals at the beginning of each year as it relates to winning the league, making states, advancing in states, at least one of the county tournaments, and the holiday tournament is the first thing that comes up right away in the season,” Mittelman said.
“This was a big goal we had in the beginning of the season,” said senior co-captain Luke Nuzzo. “We had a meeting, we talked about it, and we wanted to win the tournament.”
Senior co-captain Josh Frissora added, “Winning the tournament was something special, considering this is only the second time the team has won it in the many years we’ve been in the tournament.”
This was Glen Rock’s first victory in the tournament in three years, and while Mittelman stressed the importance of not taking the tournament too seriously as an indicator of how the season will go, it is still important for his team’s confidence heading into what he described as being one of the toughest parts of their season. He also stated that due to the team’s general lack of experience, with Frissora the only returning starter, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Mittelman also credited some of the first-year varsity players for their strong play in helping Glen Rock win the tournament.
“Defensively Zack Fazal has really helped us, specifically in the championship game against Ridgefield. He locked down their top scorer and held him under double digits for the game,” he said. “We have a young junior guard, James Boisits, who’s been making 3-point shots for us.”
Glen Rock first faced Madison in the semifinal, with Frissora recording 18 points, 20 rebounds, and four blocks, along with Boisits scoring 15 points. In the final, Frissora again recorded 18 points, along with 15 rebounds, while Boisits added 11 points, and Nuzzo tallied 8 rebounds as well.
Nuzzo stated that while Glen Rock didn’t play its best game against Madison, the team’s strong work ethic, knowledge of their assignments, and togetherness helped them through the tournament. Mittelman reciprocated Nuzzo’s thoughts, saying that he thought the team was very prepared and worked very hard to win the tournament.
“It was a big pleasure, we were happy, we were excited about it,” Nuzzo said.
Josh Frissora added, “This tournament win gives us momentum heading into our upcoming games and has definitely improved the teams confidence.”
Mittelman also acknowledged that it should help his players’ confidence levels, and that he expected to emerge from the holiday period with a record of 4-1, which Glen Rock did, while also praising Frissora.
“I think we’re very much a team oriented style of play, we don’t run a lot of set plays, it’s more about team offense, but when you have a player who’s one of the best players if not the best on the floor it’s different,” said Mittelman in reference to the senior forward, who averaged a double-double through the first six games of the season.
Nuzzo had a positive outlook for the rest of the season, saying that it had a positive effect on Glen Rock’s standings in the race for a North I Group II playoff spot and a berth in the Bergen County Jamboree.
Mittelman also stated that the team’s main priorities from this point are winning the league, advancing in the playoffs, and qualifying for one of the county tournaments, and that the holiday tournament is behind them.
“It’s one thing and you have to move on, it doesn’t dictate how the rest of the season will go, but it’s one thing down that we can now put in our pocket, it’s ours, no one can take it away from us, but we’ve got to move forward, we have the whole season ahead of us,” he said.