That is the one quality the Northern Burlington County Regional High School boys’ basketball team has consistently displayed this season.
As Northern Burlington comes down the final stretch of the regular season, the team finds itself in a close race for the Burlignton County Scholastic League’s Patriot Division title with Bordentown Regional High School.
As of Feb. 10, Northern Burlington sports an 11-9 record while the Greyhounds are 5-2 in the division.
The Greyhounds’ success this winter is a step up from last year when the squad posted a 12-14 overall record. Northern Burlington was knocked out in the first round of the 2019 Central Jersey, Group 3 state sectional tournament with a 73-56 defeat at the hands of Wall Township High School in Wall.
With Northern Burlington on pace to post a winning record this season in addition to having offensive standouts on the court, coach Gene Darling declared that there has been no shortage of effort among his squad.
“They are hard workers, and it’s the second year with a young team,” Darling said. “It’s about getting some of the concepts we tried to instill last year. It comes down to just playing basketball, which is nicer this year than always teaching on a nightly basis. They are great players, and they compete on a nightly basis to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Alongside the team’s consistent game-to-game efforts, Darling pointed out that the team has showcased multiple talents this season. The Northern Burlington coach particularly pointed to the squad’s ability to overcome difficult defensive situations as well as highlight the offense’s versatility.
“We are playing basketball, and we aren’t easily trapped this year,” Darling said. “We are handling it. We have seen everything and have been a part of everything, so it has just been a strength of ours to understand what we need to do.
The coach also explained.
“We can do a little bit of everything. We can score against traps, and we can break down a zone.”
Those scoring threats for the Greyhounds have come off the heels of multiple key players this year from the likes of senior leader Lorenzo Repack as well as sophomores Drew Weyers and Marcus Gaffney.
Not only has Repack led the Northern Burlington offense this winter, he is also a leading scorer in Burlington County with more than 420 points posted as of Feb. 10. Meanwhile, Weyers and Gaffney have already combined for more than 260 points this season to stifle opposing defenders.
On the defensive side of the court, senior Adam Walton has been a pivotal presence around the rim as well with more than 60 rebounds and 100 points scored this season.
Although the Greyhounds have taken their play to a new level this winter, the Northern Burlington coach said the team can still improve in other areas to pressure more opponents in the wake of playoffs.
“On a nightly basis, we would like to see the team be a bit more aggressive inside and getting to the foul line more consistently,” Darling said. “We want to create a dual threat, inside and out.”
As Northern Burlington prepares to close out their regular season though with hopes of a playoff run, the coach explained that no matter the end result on the scoreboard, he is most notably proud of the team’s competitive spirit.
“Their willingness to compete. I’m never needing to coach effort,” he said. “That is when I enjoy coaching. It’s at its best when I don’t have to beg a kid to play hard. We think we are doing a good job of preparing when we look at tape and see teams live. We just want to make some noise and try to go on a little run.”