High expectations for Old Bridge boys’ basketball squad this winter

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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball team senior guard Sean Williams dribbles the ball at the top of the key during the team's practice on Dec. 3.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball player Chris Wyer takes shot from the corner during the team's practice on Dec. 3.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball coach Jim Macomber surveys his team's practice on Dec. 3. Old Bridge went 21-5 last season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball player Ryan De La Cuesta pulls up for a jumper by the baseline during the team's practice on Dec. 3.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball team senior guard Sean Williams dribbles the ball at the top of the key during the team's practice on Dec. 3.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball player Chris Wyer takes shot from the corner during the team's practice on Dec. 3.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball coach Jim Macomber surveys his team's practice on Dec. 3. Old Bridge went 21-5 last season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School boys' basketball player Ryan De La Cuesta pulls up for a jumper by the baseline during the team's practice on Dec. 3.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

 The 2018-2019 season showcased another strong winter for the Old Bridge High School boys’ basketball team.

Recording the most victories that the program finished with in the last nine years when the Knights posted a 21-5 mark, Old Bridge is looking to build off last winter with another great year for the 2019-2020 campaign.

“Our expectations are high for this season,” said Old Bridge coach Jim Macomber. “Our program has continued to get better over the past five seasons. We’re looking to keep that rolling this year.”

The Knights will rely on their three senior captains Sean Williams, Ryan De La Cuesta and Jaden Cabana this winter.

Williams and De La Cuesta are returning starters for the Knights, while Cabana brings back a lot of experience with being an impact player in the rotation during the latter half of the season after transferring in from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City.

Williams, who transferred in last season from St. Joseph Regional High School in Metuchen, was the team’s fourth leading scorer last year behind Julius Belton, Jared Meyer and Mike Oliva, who are all lost to graduation.

The senior will be joined by junior Lucas Grissett to form a solid backcourt for Old Bridge. Grissett will handle the point guard duties. 

De La Cuesta was second on the team in three-pointers made last season and will play as a small forward. Cabana will slide into a starting role in the Knights’ frontcourt, providing Old Bridge a lot of versatility with his athleticism and defensive prowess that helped the team greatly last winter.

Juniors Peter Gamba and Chris Wyer both return with varsity experience for the Knights.

Gamba gives Old Bridge a lot of length out on the wing with his 6-7 frame and has a nice jump shot from the outside. 

Wyer has varsity experience by coming off the bench the past two seasons and will join Cabana as a starter in the Old Bridge frontcourt.

“We have a sound nucleus of guys coming back that hopefully will propel us to continue to have success this season,” Macomber said. “They’re battle tested. They know what it takes to win.”

Despite going 21-5 last season and winning the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Red Division, the Knights came up short in the conference and state sectional tournaments. 

Old Bridge was upset in the GMC tournament’s quarterfinals by New Brunswick High School in a one-point loss, and fell victim to another conference foe in Monroe Township High School during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional bracket, losing to the Falcons, 52-50.

In four of its five losses last season, Old Bridge lost by two or less points.

The Knights will look to repeat as Red Division champion again this season and have their eyes set on advancing to the final rounds of the county and sectional tournaments.

“Making it to the end of the county tournament is always a goal of ours,” Macomber said. “We had a tough break last year, so hopefully that’s in the back of our kids minds and will set a fire in them to make up for it this year.”

Being in their early stages of preseason practices before serving as th3 ehost to South Biunswick High School in its season opener on Dec. 20, Macomber has the Knights focused on competing in their practices and playing harder then the guy next to them.

“We’re a true believer in that the team that plays the hardest normally comes out on the right end,” Macomber said. “Put that together with knowing what your doing out there on the court and we feel we’ll be ok.”

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports