Bordentown High boys’ basketball shoots for big year after hot start

Bordentown Regional High School's Osvaldo Urena moves the ball up court in a Jan. 16 home game against Pennsauken High School. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

Talent is not the only trait that has resulted in a successful boys’ basketball season this winter at Bordentown Regional High School.

Bordentown has won eight of its first 10 games and its coach, John Myers, is confident that his well-balanced team can reach elite heights.

“I expect that we have a fighter’s chance at a state championship,” Myers said. “This team is the ultimate of teams. Whatever the weakness of one player is, it’s the strength of another. We really need each other to be successful… [The team has] taken it to – ‘this is the goal; being better every day.’ They all have weaknesses, but some other players on the team provide the strength that another doesn’t have.”

His belief comes one season after Bordentown won the Burlington County Scholastic League’s Patriot Division title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Central Jersey, Group 2 state sectional tournament.

Although Bordentown is off to a hot start, Myers explained that the team’s season began well before the first scheduled game against Medford Technical High School on Dec. 19.

With the depth of talent he believes he has this year, Myers prepared his squad eights weeks prior to the Medford game with conditioning and weight lifting sessions.

Bordentown would then go on to defeat Medford Tech on the road, 68-61, and proceeded to earn multiple key victories, which included a 79-51 road victory over Burlington Township High School on Jan. 7; another 59-47 triumph away  against Northern Burlington County Regional High School on Jan. 13; and a solid 65-57 road victory against Rancocas Valley Regional High School on Jan. 14.

As the offense is paced again this season by seniors Gavin Shiver and Jordan Martin – two top scorers for Bordentown last year – Myers said the team’s early season dominance hardly came as a shock to him.

With players like Osvaldo Urena, Roshon Vankline, Logan Saranin and Aiden Kennedy, who all bring varsity-level experience to the team as well, the depth of the Scotties is proving them to be real contenders in Burlington County.

“This is what I expected; I didn’t have any surprises,” Myers said. “Last year, they played a lot of minutes, so this is what I expected. I expected them to be this and better.”

After Shiver and Martin combined for a total of 744 points last season, the duo are already leading the team with more than 400 points in the first 10 games, and are backed up with offensive production as well from the likes of Urena and Vankline who have a combined 166 points in the same stretch of the schedule.

Myers said that while his team’s offense may be a bright point this season, he explained that his defense can be even hotter at times.

“We have the ability to score points in bunches because we have scorers, but what has really been carrying us when we go on our runs is our defense,” he said. “In spurts, the defense has been stifling.”

Bordentown’s defense has already been on display this early in the season, particularly when they held Northern Burlington’s top scorer Lorenzo Repack to just nine points in the Jan. 13 matchup.

Myers noted that another solid effort to shut down Rancocas Valley’s offense in the Jan. 14 matchup has showcased his defense’s talents as well.

“When they really buckle down defensively, they can do some special things,” he said.

Although the Scotties have taken hold of their strengths so far this season, the coach said he was mindful of one thing the team still needs to work on to attain a successful year – “focus.”

“Last year, when things did not go our way, we imploded,” he said. “This year, in five or six of our games, we have gone into the fourth quarter in a close game, down or tied, and we have not imploded. That’s the key, but we need to sustain that.”

As Bordentown begins to near the halfway point in the season, there is still plenty of ball left to be played, so Myers said its his aim to keep his team playing as a unit to conquer any opponent.

“We are only a third [of the way] into the season, and we have a lot of time left,” he said. “So, how do we mature, because the goal is a sectional and state championship. If they play as a team, they can beat teams with more talent.”

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