By Anthony Mauro Jr.
Rumson – After a loss to Raritan in the Shore Conference Finals last year, the Rumson-Fair Haven boys’ basketball team looks to come back this year with a vengeance.
“That taste is still in our mouth so we just want to play as hard as we can, together, smart, and with pride. Hopefully the chips will fall where they may,” said head coach Chris Champeau.
The two returning starters for the Bulldogs this season are Jack Donnelly, who was All-Conference and averaged 17 points per game last year, and Jack Curran. “Donnelly is probably the best shooter in the Shore Conference,” said Champeau. Other key players will include 6’6’’ senior J.J. Conklin, point guard Drew Corsi, and Zeke Fendrick.
The team lost three core players to graduation last year. 5’5” point guard Kevin “Pookie” Alter is furthering his basketball skills and education at Navy. Jack Wise now plays football at Duke University, and Jack Keating graduated with the 2011 class as well.
“I think every coach’s goal is to win as many games as you can, but as long as every kid gives it 100% effort and does the best that he can that’s all I can ask. We’re going to be young and scrappy, and hopefully we’ll surprise a couple of people,” said Champeau.
Jack Donnelly has already committed to Hamilton College to play basketball. Also, Jack Curran has committed to Villanova University on a lacrosse scholarship.
The Rumson-Fair Haven girls’ basketball team looks to start anew this season, as all five starters from last year were lost to graduation.
Those five starters are now in college playing basketball on scholarships. Ashley Cooper is enrolled at Holy Cross. Victoria Lesko went to Boston College. Ellie Wilbur is attending the University of Tampa. Nicole Isaacs is now at Manhattan College, and her sister Stephanie Isaacs is at Farleigh Dickinson University.
“We’re going to have several key players this year. We only have one senior on our roster and we have five juniors, two sophomores, and 11 freshman. So, we really don’t have our roster set yet because we’ve only had three practices,” said head coach George Sourlis.
Replacing a starting five that all graduated and received basketball scholarships can be a difficult task, but is one Sourlis is ready to take head-on. “Graduating five seniors and five starters is going to make it a challenge for us, but I also think that with the level of talent we have coming in and the level of people that are returning, I think we have potential for a promising season,” said Sourlis.
Sourlis maintains high expectations for his team and makes his goal for the season crystal clear. “My goal is the same as it is every year here; we’re going to try to win the state title and get 20 wins… Whether we do it or not, I don’t know, we’ll find out, but that’s our goal. Our goal is to win a state title,” said Sourlis.