Nieskens basketball career at Spotswood comes to emotional end


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The Spotswood High School boys’ basketball team was understandably emotional after its season came to an end in the state sectional tournament, especially with it being the last game for senior leader Abdullah Nieskens.

“I think I’ve had a great career,” Nieskens said. “Coach [Steven Mate] has always pushed me. My teammates have always pushed me. No matter what, we always stick together. This game was a close game. We were right there in it till the end. I just like to thank all my teammates because without them, I would be nothing. I’ve had a great career, and it’s because of them.”

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The Chargers lost to Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, 71-63, in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 tournament on March 1 in Rumson. Nieskens and junior Matt Vento hit some big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to seven points with only a few minutes remaining.

However, the Chargers only made one basket the rest of the way, and Rumson-Fair Haven held on for the victory.

Nieskens finished his Spotswood career posting totals above 700 points, 70 assists and 50 rebounds.

“The season was really fun,” Vento said. “We always had each other’s backs, especially [Nieskens]. Whenever I got down, he picked me up. Whenever I got angry, he was always the guy to calm me down. Compared to last year, no one thought that we would be any good because we lost some kids. We came out here and proved that we worked harder than anybody else out here, and we made a difference.”

Spotswood, which ends the season with a 16-12 record, won its first-round matchup in the sectional tournament with a 72-57 victory at home over Holmdel High School.

Vento knows he will have some big shoes to fill in Nieskens’ place, but he believes he has learned a lot from him.

“I’ve been watching him all year,” Vento said. “I’m definitely going to take a lot from what he was doing. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I’m going to take his example and portray it on some of the younger kids. We got some great kids in there, so I think we can have another good year next year. We just have to do what we did this year.”

Nieskens hopes this will not be his last time playing the sport he loves, stating that he still plans on pursuing his dream of playing at the next level in college.

“I’ve had some coaches come look at me,” he said. “I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but the hope is that I can play in college somewhere.”

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