High Point basketball team gearing up for sectionals

| 24 Feb 2014 | 01:14

Nobody knows for sure what will happen once the NJSIAA sectional basketball tournaments get under way across New Jersey next week.

Obviously, there are some dominant programs that are clear favorites to win a sectional crown and maybe go all the way to a state title. Other sectional brackets are too close to call and any of a number of teams can emerge victorious.

The High Point High School boys' basketball squad has earned a spot in the North I Group II sectional tournament this season as the fourth seed. Regardless of how far the Wildcats advance in the bracket, they can be secure and proud, knowing that they played the game with dedication and gave an honest effort out on the court.

On Tuesday, March 4, the Wildcats begin sectionals with a home game against No. 13 seeded Hopatcong.

Of course, High Point head coach Jesse Strehl wants to see his team make a great run in the postseason, but he is also quite aware that the student-athletes on the roster have already achieved a significant amount this winter.

“We have already won the Wallkill Christmas Tournament and reached double digit wins, two of our early season goals," Strehl said. “We had hoped to reach the semifinals of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament, but fell to North Hunterdon in the opening round by one point. For the rest of the season, we hope to keep improving every day and try to advance in the state (sectional) playoffs.

“Our team defense has improved the most [as the season progressed] and is one of the keys to our improvement this year. Our offensive execution has also gotten better. We are striving to play our best game each and every night. We want to play our best basketball at the end of the season so we can keep playing as long as we can."

Members of the class of 2014 have done a great job of being positive leaders throughout the season.

“All of the seniors have done an excellent job of setting an example to the underclassmen,’’ Strehl said. “Kevin Lawson, Matt Rittweger, Mike Zukswert, Tim O'Malley, Kyle Adams, Adam Walton and Brandon Potucek are our seven seniors. They have shown the commitment, dedication and hard work needed to have a successful season.

“Potucek has really evolved into one of the keys for our team. Adams and Walton have gotten the most attention in the papers, and rightfully so, but the intangibles that Brandon brings to our team are equally important. Also sophomore Brad Smolen has made big strides from the beginning of this year and is starting to become an offensive weapon for our team as well as playing great defense."