The first two years of Kathy Glutz’s second tenure as the head coach of the Metuchen High School girls’ basketball team were filled with growing pains.
During her third season back at the helm was where the Bulldogs started to thrive—again.
Glutz saw her young Metuchen squad roll to a 15-11 record this winter and set up the program up for much success in the near future.
“We have a lot of promise on the horizon,” Glutz said. “We’re on the upward track.”
Metuchen’s 2019-2020 squad was filled with a lot of talented underclassmen, led by sophomore Molly Malague.
After being the team’s leading scorer as a freshman, Malague stepped up her game to the next level to have a stellar sophomore campaign for the Bulldogs.
Malague once again led the team in scoring, averaging just over 16 points a contest this winter.
Her all-around game was superb, leading the team in assists, rebounds and steals. Malague amassed 244 rebounds, falling one rebound shy of averaging a double-double for the season.
“We expected her to do big things this year and she did,” Glutz said of Malague’s season. “Being the team’s top-rebounder as a point guard, really speaks to the all-around player she is.”
Joining Malague as the squad’s strong one-two punch in the backcourt was junior Chase Klavon.
Klavon evolved her all-around game a lot this season, said Glutz, adding more tools to her arsenal to go along with her scoring abilities.
The junior finished tied with Malague in assists with 64, while being the team’s top defenders with 62 steals. Klavon sank a team-high 45 three-pointers this season.
Malague and Klavon’s leadership and play from the backcourt will be crucial to the team’s success next season, said Glutz.
The Bulldogs’ frontcourt was led by senior Sam Antin. Metuchen’s lone senior starter tallied a team-high 31 blocked shots and averaged just under nine points a game.
Underclassmen filled the rest of the team’s seven-man rotation.
Sophomore Merin Boucher recorded over both 100 points and 100 rebounds for the Bulldogs, while classmate Carly Pichalski provided solid play off the bench in the team’s frontcourt.
Both Zoey Brown and Charlotte Breen had great freshman seasons for Metuchen and each have the potential to be one of the squad’s top players in the future, said Glutz.
Metuchen started the season off on fire, winning its first five games and rolling out to a 9-2 record.
The team’s hot start, however, faded with Metuchen going on a six-game losing streak and falling to only one-game over .500.
Metuchen rebounded with a solid four-game winning streak going into the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, losing to Dunellen in the preliminary round on Feb. 17, 55-39.
The Bulldogs picked up victories over Rahway High School and David Brearley High School of Kenilworth heading into the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 Tournament.
Receiving the No. 5 seed in the bracket, the Bulldogs got to be the host the No. 12 seed, Raritan High School, in the first round of the state tournament on March. 3.
Metuchen’s season came to an end with Raritan topping the Bulldogs, 70-46.
Winning a combined 13 games over the previous two seasons, Glutz is happy with the team’s 15 victories this winter, but is more proud about the participation the program is developing.
Metuchen was able to fill out a full team at the freshman, junior varsity and varsity level this winter.
“I’m very pleased with our development as a program,” Glutz said. “That’s more important than the 15 wins we had this season. We’ve been able to teach kids from the start about our program’s philosophy and bring them along, so that when they’re ready to contribute at the varsity level, they know what to expect.”
As for next season, Glutz believes her squad has a chance to have a 20-win season and make a deep run in both the conference and state sectional tournament.
The biggest thing Glutz will enforce into her squad will be competitiveness.
“We want to be competitive in every game we play next season,” Glutz said.
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