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Hawks look to improve hoops record in new year

By Jimmy Allinder

J.P. Stevens

Jamyra Maye is a guard for the John P. Stevens High School girls’ basketball team and one of the most improved players in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC).

The senior has averaged 17.3 points in the Hawks’ first four games — a significant increase over the eight points she scored per game as a junior. The problem is the four other starters have contributed about the same total points per game (ppg), which is why J.P. Stevens lost its first three games before it won one, 63-17, over Abraham Clark High School Dec. 28 at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School Holiday Tournament. The Hawks faced Hillside High School Dec. 30 for the championship.

Now that it’s 2017, J.P. Stevens faces a daunting schedule for the remainder of the regular season loaded with games against fellow GMC Red Division opponents. The Hawks visited crosstown rival Edison High School Jan. 3 and host Old Bridge High School Jan. 5.

J.P. Stevens’ three defeats have all been to division foes: Monroe Township High School, 55-39, in the season opener; East Brunswick High School, 65-54; and South Brunswick High School, 50-41.

“We lost Molly Yelencsics (13 ppg) and Rebecca DiSerio (six rebounds a game) due to graduation,” head coach Amy Bonk said. “But our expectations are to stay together, play tough and never give up. We hope to improve our record from last year (12-11 overall).”

Maye is joined in the starting lineup by senior guard Laya Paladugu (8.3 ppg); senior swing Lipi Paladugu (4.5 ppg), who is back from a knee injury last season; sophomore forward Kayla Gatling; and sophomore point guard Disha Prabhudesai, who has filled in for senior Julie Siecinski, who was scheduled to return following the holiday break after suffering a sprained ankle.

Newcomers are seniors Angela Dooley and Brianna Zederbaum, juniors Athena Bollera and Christina Rusk, sophomore Syann Caldwell and freshman Nia Scott.

Edison

It’s been a busy but successful start for the Edison High School wrestling team.

The Eagles were victorious in their first four dual meets and finished first in their own tournament Dec. 17. They also participated in the John Goles Tournament at Warren Hills Dec. 28. Edison returned to action Jan. 4 when it faced perennial GMC powerhouse South Plainfield High School.

Among the most successful Eagles are heavyweight Jack Karvaski (4-0 with four pins), 106/113-pound Michael O’Brien (4-0 with three pins and a technical fall), 220-pound Christopher Cuevas (3-0 with two pins), 170-pound Matthew Johnson (3-0), 126/132-pound Julian Burke (3-1 with two pins and a technical fall), 152-pound Pete Tomasino (2-0) and 160-pound Robert Firestone (2-0).

Other members are Tom Shields (106 pounds), Michael Rodriguez (113/120), Alexis Reyes (120), Ryan Maurath (126), Jhon Botero (132/138), Henry Maurath (138), Ryan Naiduk (145), William Goggel (182) and Dean Escobar (195).

Bishop Ahr

The Bishop George Ahr High School wrestling team cannot be accused of scheduling soft opponents.

The Trojans are 2-3 in dual matches, but the losses have been to Old Bridge High School and Edison — two of the GMC’s best — and Shore Conference power Howell High School.

After participating in the Bear Invitational Dec. 28, Bishop Ahr met Piscataway Township High School Dec. 30 and North Brunswick Township High School Jan. 4.

Despite the dual-meet record, Bishop Ahr’s lineup features a number of wrestlers who have performed well. Dylan O’Connor (132/138 pounds) is 6-1 with two pins and placed first in the Nottingham Tournament, David Loniewski (120) owns the same record, Michael DiSantis (220) is 4-0 with three pins and Gaven Ringwood (126/132) is 4-1 with a major decision and two technical falls.

One of the Trojans’ strongest wrestlers is Andrew Brazicki (220), who is 3-0 in limited action. Brazicki was 25-6 last season and qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament finals in Atlantic City.

The roster also includes Cristan Diaz (106 pounds), Seth Acosta (113), Giuseppe Capasso (138/145), Jeffrey Schwartz (145), Robert DeSantis (152), Luke Vizzoni (160), Devin Merle (170) and Nick Jensen (182).

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