TETERBORO/HACKENSACK, NJ - Fifth-year Bergen Tech head basketball coach Michael Mongelli is looking to turn things around for the first time is his run at Bergen Tech.  

Taking over a 3-19 squad in 2016-17, Mongelli recorded a 13-12 season his first year, picking up win the Bergen County Jamboree and making the state tournament.  A 14-12 season in 2017-18 included a loss in the Jamboree but a win in the state tournament.  In 2018-19, the Knights jumped out to 16-8 overall, beating Hasbrouck Heights in the Jamboree and winning a game in the state tournament.

In 2019-20 the team struggled, as the core of the previous three seasons had graduated, suffering a 1-22 season while going 0-10 in the Big North Liberty Division.

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“Our division is a nightmare every night,“ Mongelli stated. "There is no easy game." He noted that the schools in his division, Paterson Kennedy, Eastside, Clifton, Passaic, and Passaic County Tech, are big schools known with strong basketball programs. In 2020, division champion Paterson Kennedy was eliminated in the NJSIAA Group IV semi-final round by Elizabeth.  

Despite the record, the team was not a complete disaster, remaining close in most of their games despite playing a very young lineup.  

“We were just a little bit short,” Mongelli stated, noting that he felt his young players all picked up valuable experience.  “And it was never a bad year.  Sometimes when you get in one those situations everyone can’t wait for it to be over. But it was never that way. Every day, they showed up ready to practice, ready to play, and play hard for 32 minutes.”

So he returns an experienced group of players, led by seniors Evan Nicholas (6’1) and Ryan Jordan (5’8), both four-year varsity players, Mongelli called the duo “great leaders”. They will both start in the backcourt as the Knights run primarily four guards around a big guy.  Jordan was a first team Big North All Liberty team selection in 2019-20.  

The big guy in the middle will be the team’s other senior in Andrew Dragoslavic (6’2.)  The three will be joined by junior Josh Acosta (5-10) in the opening night starting lineup.  The fifth spot has not been decided, with a pair of talented sophomores, Nathan Tuason (5’10) and Dominick Generio (6’2) in the lead for the final spot.   

Due to the pandemic, there is limited time for players to showcase their skills in practice and jump up the depth chart.  It is a problem that all schools will have this season.

Depth will come from juniors Jorge Ventura (5’6) and Brandon Lee (6’0), as well as sophomores Zachary Mosca (5’9), Caleb Rhee (5’8.)   

Mongelli is high on a pair of freshmen who he is carrying on the varsity roster in Miguel Manalang (5’6) and Devon Pierce (6’0.)  Both are talented players who just need to learn the Bergen Tech system.

“You can tell they are advanced in their skills,“ said Mongelli.  

Mongelli, noted that since Bergen Tech has students from all over the county who have to test to get into the school, there is no feeder program, no continuity in the basketball backgrounds of players when they enter the school.

The Bergen County Tech team draws its players from all the Bergen Tech campuses, but plays its home games at the Bergen County Tech campus in Teterboro.

The Bergen County Tech team draws its players from all the Bergen Tech campuses, but plays its home games at the Bergen County Tech campus in Teterboro.

Date Time Opponent Location
1/26/2021 04:30 PM
Clifton
Clifton High School
1/28/2021 04:30 PM
Eastside
Bergen County Technology Schools
1/30/2021 01:00 PM
Saint Joseph Regional
Bergen County Technology Schools
2/1/2021 04:30 PM
Ridgefield Memorial
Bergen County Technology Schools
2/2/2021 04:30 PM
Paterson John F. Kennedy
Bergen County Technology Schools
2/4/2021 07:00 PM
Cliffside Park
Cliffside Park High School
2/6/2021 07:00 PM
Passaic Valley
Passaic Valley High School
2/9/2021 04:30 PM
Passaic County Technical Institute
Passaic County Technical Institute
2/11/2021 05:00 PM
Passaic
Bergen County Technology Schools
2/16/2021 04:30 PM
Clifton
Bergen County Technology Schools
2/18/2021 07:00 PM
Eastside
Eastside High School
2/23/2021 07:00 PM
Paterson John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy High School
2/25/2021 04:30 PM
Passaic County Technical Institute
Bergen County Technology Schools
3/4/2021 04:30 PM
Passaic
Passaic High School

 

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