Rebel Basketball...the Beat Goes On!

Rebel Basketball...the Beat Goes On!
Gretchen Lee

Rebel basketball is B-A-C-K and for REBEL fans, it has proven again to be a great ride so far this season.

Last year, Saddle River Day opened some eyes with, by far, the most successful season in the history of its boys basketball program highlighted by a run to the Bergen County Jamboree quarterfinals. However, in their only two losses of the season, the Rebels felt they were exposed defensively. For this year's version to be equally as successful, if not more so, they needed to make on-the-ball defense within a team concept a top priority. Senior Connor Cyran recently reached the 1,000-point mark and has been instrumental for the Rebels on both ends of the court.

With the Bergen County Jamboree starting this weekend the Rebels are once again streaking into county tournament play, this time on the backs of a rock-solid defensive effort and some sharp three-point shooting to boot. They are currently 13-2 overall. The Rebels received a #13 seed for the Jambo and will play Dwight Englewood (#20) at Indian Hills High School on Saturday, 2/1; 2:30 game time.

For the girls program, the beat goes on, despite graduating four players with the Class of 2019 that are now playing at Division I colleges: Duke, University of Michigan, Arizona State University and St. Francis Brooklyn. Cracking the rotation of the most talented collection of players ever assembled in the history of Bergen County girls' basketball last year as freshmen, Saddle River Day's Saniah Caldwell and Cierra Pearson knew their roles: follow the seniors' lead, make the simple play and do not take any chances. With those four DI players graduated, the now-sophomore duo had to grow up fast and take on more leadership. It is something they both have mentally and physically prepared for this season with dividends of their maturation showing quicker than expected. No doubt, this year's team has a totally different look. The entire roster is filled with sophomores and freshmen with the exception of the NYU-bound Janowski. Based on hustle mixed with rock solid on and off-the-ball defense, the Rebels pride themselves on smothering their opponents into submission. So far, it is working.

The Lady Rebels are currently undefeated in state play. They received a #2 seed in the Bergen County Tournament behind IHA and are currently ranked #10 in NJ state. On Saturday, 2/1, they will play Park Ridge (#15) at Old Tappan High School; 10:30am game time.