By Warren Rappleyea
After winning 10 of its first 11 games, Sayreville War Memorial High School’s boys basketball team is looking to bounce back after losing two straight.
“You’re always going to have some adversity during the season. It’s how you react to it that matters,” Bombers’ coach John Wojcik said. “We had a bad quarter in each of those losses and it forced up to play catch up. As a result, we weren’t playing the same style that helped us succeed. We have to get back to getting transition baskets and taking high-percentage shots.”
Sayreville is coming off a tough, 59-50 loss to Old Bridge High School Jan. 16, as well as a 58-45 loss to Woodbridge High School Jan. 14 in a game where the Barrons parlayed a 20-4 run in the second quarter into a comfortable win.
The good news for the blue and gray is the continued emergence of 6-foot-8 forward Jahsin Floyd. The junior has been a solid presence underneath the rim, where he averages nearly 10 rebounds and four blocks. More important, Floyd has picked up his scoring this season and is now averaging 13.5 points and is coming off an 18-point performance in the loss to Old Bridge.
Junior guard Ryan O’Leary has been the Bombers’ primary scorer. He recently tweaked a hamstring and his play has suffered. The transfer from South Amboy gamely tried to play through the injury and managed to score 25 points over the two losses. Wojcik said O’Leary’s injury is improving and he should be at full strength shortly.
“We need a third guy to step up because other teams are concentrating on Jahsin and Ryan,” the Sayreville coach said. “We have the guys who can do it.”
The Bombers have been bolstered by the return of Jayson DeMild, who was injured during the football season. The 6-foot-2 guard returned to the lineup for the Woodbridge game and is beginning to round into playing shape.
Sophomore guard Elijah Clark has sown promise as well, and is coming off a 14-game against Old Bridge. Senior Zach Alessi and junior Henderson Mautes, both guards, can also put the ball in the hoop.
Sayreville was scheduled to visit Edison High School Jan. 19 and was slated to be at Colonia High School Jan. 21 in Greater Middlesex Conference White Division games. Wojcik’s team defeated both schools earlier in the season. The blue and gray will host East Brunswick High School in a non-conference matchup Jan. 23.
“This is an important week for our team,” Wojcik said. “We’ve kind of hit a midseason hump and we have to get over it. I’d rather have it happen now, though, than in February when the tournaments start. So this week will give us a chance to get back on track and help us figure out where we stand and, hopefully, get us moving again as we prepare for the postseason.”