The Bordentown Regional High School boys’ basketball team may have claimed back-to-back division championships this season, but there is still more work to be done.
Bordentown finished with a 6-2 record in the Burlington County Scholastic League’s Patriot Division. Northern Burlington County Regional High School placed second at 5-3.
Now fifth-seeded Bordentown will prepare for the Central Jersey, Group 2 state sectional tournament. Bordentown will be home to 12th-seeded South Plainfield High School on March 3. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Bordentown’s championship this season was not only followed by a division title in 2018-19, but it’s also the squad’s fourth league crown in the last five seasons.
Although the Scotties clinched a state playoff berth, coach John Myers said the team is going to have to stay focused in the closing weeks of the regular season in anticipation of a playoff run. Myers explained that the team has already held practices aimed to build up his squad.
“It’s my job to make sure they are engaged and energetic,” Myers said. “We had a competitive practice with everything from sprints, charge drills, and rebounding to four-on-four play. What we did was give out points, but no negative points. They were all positive. They could get points for defensive and offensive rebounds, points for a charge or even when I’m talking to them and they look me in the eye.”
The Bordentown coach said that these practices will serve as a preparation to get his players in a mindset where individual battles and moments can lead to better play.
“They get points for doing all the little things that you do to get out of the quagmire you are in,” Myers said. “I have been graced with players who have talent, but the focus now is how we figure out to use it because when you get into the playoffs, you have other teams with equal talent.”
In addition to practice, Myers explained that the build up and excitement of playoff basketball in high school can potentially overwhelm a player’s mental approach during the game. The Scotties’ coach said that in an effort to stymie those situations, his focus is for players to make the next play.
“We want to make it so simple where it becomes, ‘Win the moment,’” he said. “I want them to win the competition they are in. If it’s a foul shot, win the foul shot competition. Players can get so caught up in the hype of playoff basketball when all they can really control is the moment they are in. When you are down by eight points, what are you going to do? It’s the next play. The next stop, shot, deflection or rebound.”
As Bordentown prepares these upcoming weeks for the South Plainfield game, the squad will likely call on multiple key players to step up come playoff time.
The Scotties have been led this season by power forward, Jordan Martin, as well as support from Gavin Shiver, Osvaldo Urena and Roshon Vankline.
Martin has already been a positive presence at the rim for Bordentown and the Burlington County Scholastic League this season with more than 425 points scored while Shiver has raked in more than 380 points. Urena and Vankline have also pitched in around the paint with more than 345 combined points this winter.
Martin and Shiver were particularly effective during last year’s winning season as well when the duo combined for more than 700 points.
While the pairing has certainly contributed to multiple championship seasons for Myers’ tenure in Bordentown, he noted that his whole squad has displayed qualities both on and off the court beyond the scope of winning.
“When every player on the team scores and those last two players score, my team celebrates as if they just scored their 1,000th point,” he said. “All of them are really proud that those two players have the feeling of their life to score in a high school basketball game. You don’t see that a lot. That’s what I’m most proud of because that’s not taught. That’s them. That’s their character.”