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Maroon and White basketball camps beneficial to district teams

By Tim Morris

When late November comes around and the first practices for the high school basketball season begin, coaches already have a good idea of what they have.

Thanks to camps like Red Bank Regional High School’s Maroon and White War at the Shore Team Camp, coaches have seen their teams in competition and have a good idea of what they need to do to get ready for the season.

The girls camp, which ran from July 27-29, was attended by 25 teams — among them were NJSIAA Tournament of Champions (TOC) winner St. John Vianney High School, TOC runner-up Manasquan High School, Group III runner-up Middletown High School South, Red Bank Catholic High School, Neptune High School, St. Rose High School and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.

Teams from out of the area teams were Roselle Catholic High School, Pascack Valley High School, Dumont High School and Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School from East Elmhurst, New York. They provided Shore Conference teams with competition against teams they rarely see.

The camp is NCAA sanctioned, which meant that college coaches were in attendance to watch and evaluate the players.

However, for coaches like Marlboro High School’s Brad Hagensen and Colts Neck High School’s Glenn Jansen — whose teams won Central Jersey, Group IV championships in 2015 and 2014, respectively — as well as Freehold Township High School’s Mike Stoia, the camp was an opportunity to see their teams play together for the first time since March.

With many newcomers that includes freshmen, Hagensen welcomed the chance to see his young club play as a team for the very first time. They’ve been holding workouts and practices throughout the summer. However, the Maroon and White camp was the first time Hagensen got to see his team play against opposing teams. The five games the Mustangs played were against the likes of St. John Vianney and Red Bank Catholic, and it helped the coach evaluate his players individually and how they played together as a team.

Hagensen pointed to experience and playing against good competition as benefits of participating in the tournament.

“It shows us where we are. … We’re a very young team with three freshmen and three sophomores,” he said. “It’s great experience for the freshmen. Our three sophomores will have increased roles this year.”

The games gave Hagensen the chance to see his players in game situations and focus on what they need to do to improve.

One thing that Hagensen knows heading into the 2016-17 season is that he can count on his senior point guard, Molly Weiss.

“Molly Weiss is doing a great job leading,” he said. “She’s our senior. She’s like having a coach on the floor.”

Marlboro was post-oriented last year but with the graduation of center Tatum Evans, the coach used the camp to run a new offense.

“We’re going to be a more perimeter offense,” Hagensen said.

That makes Weiss’ role even more important.

Jansen has a more experienced Cougars team returning this coming season. Many were playing AAU ball during the summer, and the camp was the first time they’ve been together.

“This Maroon and White camp is a great opportunity for my girls to play together,” he said. “It’s a great local venue for my girls to shine after all of the countless hours they’ve devoted to becoming better players and teammates since March.”

Freehold Township has been a regular at the camp, which is in its eighth year this summer. Like Colts Neck, the Patriots are an experienced team of seniors and juniors. The camp was an opportunity for the Patriots to measure their offseason work and what they’ve done well and what they need to work on.

“We use [Red Bank Regional] to gauge how successful our summer workouts have been and to build chemistry,” Stoia said. “[Red Bank Regional] always offers us great competition.

“Overall, it is a great week to get together as a team and compete against other schools.”

Stoia noted that his club’s 3-1 record had the players excited and looking forward to the upcoming season.

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