Hockey and Basketball Previews

by James Stewart, Sports Beat Manager

McInnis Cup champs make long-awaited return to the ice

The McInnis Cup champions will make their long awaited return to the ice on Dec. 3 vs. Summit High School at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ. Last season despite not having a state tournament, the Panthers made the most of the season by qualifying for the McInnis Cup championship as the number five seed. The Panthers would then defeat Summit, Westfield, and Livingston to capture the title in just their second year as a member of the NJIIHL.
The Panthers just wrapped up a very successful pre-season with a record of 3-1, with the only defeat coming at the hands of private school power, St. Peter’s Prep.
The reigning McInnis Cup champs will once again be led by a strong group of upperclassmen on both the front and back lines. A senior class led by Andrew Brassil and captain, Quinn Visokey will look to continue the success that the Panthers have found over the past several seasons. Junior captain, Colin Redmond and junior, Finn Whalen will continue to make large contributions on the ice, alongside sophomore Brady Peck, who had a fantastic freshman year last season. With a full schedule, the Panthers look to not only defend their McInnis Cup title, but capture a state title as well.
“I think that we will be a very strong team this year. I think we are going to surprise a bunch of teams again this year, by making another run at the McInnis Cup, and making a statement in the state tournament,” said Redmond.

Boys basketball looks to experienced senior class for leadership

Amongst a preseason shutdown due to COVID-19, no county or state tournaments, and a shortened season, the boys basketball team still found great success on the court. A strong senior class led the way last season for the Panthers, who finished the year at an outstanding 13-2. The teams two losses came to Garfield and Mahwah, and the losses were by a combined seven points (1 point vs. Garfield and 6 points vs. Mahwah). Despite losing six seniors, and all five members of last year’s starting lineup, the Panthers will look to reload this season rather than rebuild.
Another strong senior class will look to lead the Panthers, guards Colin Boisits and Ryan Burke will look to be the backbone of the Panther backcourt. Fellow seniors Brendan Sullivan, Will Consoli, and Kenneth Vergel de Dios are three other key contributors that can get to the basket with ease, but also step behind the three point line and knock down shots with consistency. The Panthers’ season tips off on Dec. 17 at Elmwood Park High School at 7 p.m. Despite losing the entire starting five, and coming off of a season that was unlike any other, hopes are still high for the Panthers who look to return to, and make deep runs in both the county and state tournaments.
“I think this is going to be a very successful season for us as a team. We lost several contributors, but we have a very talented junior and senior class, and I think a lot of teams will be shocked when we play them” said Sullivan.

Led by star senior, girls basketball looks to continue success

The Panthers girls basketball team also dealt with a shutdown last year during the COVID-19 shortened winter season, but was still able to post an impressive 7-4 record. Last season, all four losses for the Panthers were very close games, with their largest margin of defeat being just six points. The Panthers had four seniors graduate from last season’s team, but bring back lots of depth with 10 returning players from last season’s varsity roster.
Star senior, Katie Weber is expected to carry the load offensively this season for the Panthers. Weber has been a varsity player since her freshman year, and had scored over 200 points in each of her first two seasons, prior to last year’s COVID shortened season. Junior Emma Mittelman will also look to play a big role for the Panthers this season who will look to several other juniors, and even some sophomores to continue the great depth that the Panthers have had over the past few seasons.
The girls will also open up their season on Dec. 17 against Elmwood Park at Glen Rock High School at 6 p.m. The Panthers have high hopes coming into the season, and expect to continue to compete at a high level in the NJIC.