Randolph Varsity Basketball Preview: Boys and Girls Expect Deep Runs
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 • 10:59pm
RANDOLPH,NJ - Tip-off for the Randolph High School Basketball program has finally arrived. With both boys and girls teams coming off fine seasons and returning key players, the outlook is up as they begin their NJSIAA slate this week.
The girls, led by coach Kristin Torres in her sixth season as head coach, went 21-4 last year and graduated three players. This season they return three seniors, but will rely on contributions from underclassmen to go with their veteran scorers; seniors Aliyah Huland El and Sabrina Viscomi, as well as juniors Cynthia Meringer, Kelly McGinnis and cross country star Liz Lansing.
The offense will no doubt be built around the athletic 6-foot-2 Huland El and the double-teams she is sure to draw. Ranked 45th nationally by ESPN and committed to play at the University of Virginia, she is sure to cause problems for the best defenders in the state.
Despite being committed to college ball and a scholarship, Huland El doesn't look too far ahead or take anything for granted. “Nothing is really guaranteed,” she said after a scrimmage against a tough Malcolm X Shabazz squad. “This year we have a different outlook, this year we're taking it one game at a time. . . trying to see what the next play holds, the next possession holds.”
The competition this year will be a bit more of a challenge, but Torres likes their chances to go a few games further into states, after falling last year to Passaic County Tech. “I think the overall (Morris) county is pretty even keel, I don't know if there are any standout teams. So I think we are going to fare pretty well in our conference.”
As for the boys, coach Matt Tighe will take over the reigns for his first full year as head coach after four years with the program. The squad is led by seven seniors and 10 upperclassmen for a veteran squad that Tighe wants to get up and down the floor as much as possible. “We definitely want to run and we're going to pressure teams,” said Tighe, who hopes to create turnovers and score in transition.
Senior Michael Talbert, who is committed to play at Muhlenberg, keyed Randolph's resurgent second-half last season after opening 1-7, ending at 15-14. He is expected to carry a large offensive load and be a force on the perimeter. Pat Archer, a 6-foot-4 forward, is a three-year starter and should be a force inside for the Rams.
Scoring guard Barry Lynch will be relied on to put up points and distribute, and captains of the Rams soccer team Ryan Mahoney and Greg Moserowitz will bring speed, toughness and defense. "I think he's probably the best defender in the town," said Coach Tighe of Mahoney. "He'll probably play a lot of point guard for us. I just can't take him out of the game because defensively hes so good. He plays physical."
If last seasons late surge and run to the Morris County semifinals is any indication for Randolph, success could come in bunches for Tighe and the Rams, and despite only heading up the program for a short time, the rapport is there between player and coach. “I've coached these kids since seventh grade, so there's a lot of chemistry there. I'm excited for them, I think they'll have a great year” said Tighe. “Provided we play as hard think we're going to, we'll be a top four team in the county, and hopefully make a run at that championship.”
The Rams open the season with six games in 10 days. With both the girls and boys teams starting Friday at home against West Morris Central and away at Sparta on Saturday.