Varsity Basketball Update


Image courtesy of Oratory Prep

Emmett Gaffney, Editor in Chief

Early-mid January usually marks the beginning of conference play for high school basketball. Fresh off a dominant win over Rahway, OP sits at 5-2 in the still-young season.

However, now is not the time to get comfortable. The Rams begin a tough stretch of conference opponents. In the coming weeks, OP will face off against teams like Governor Livingston, Summit, New Providence, and Cranford (again). For now, the focus for Daugherty and the team is on Jonathan Dayton. The Rams and Bulldogs tip-off at 1 PM on Saturday 1/15. After that, OP hosts GL and Cranford, before embarking on a 5-game “road trip.” There, OP will have rematches against Hillside and Rahway (OP defeated both) and see New Providence, Summit, and Scotch Plains for the first time.

Standings-wise, OP is sitting pretty. With the aforementioned win over Rahway, the Rams will leapfrog both the Indians and Cranford Cougars for sole possession of the first place in the Mountain division of the UCC. This sets up a very interesting rematch versus Cranford on Saturday 1/22.

I think it is fair to say Greg Jones has led the way thus far for OP. Jones leads OP in scoring and dishes out his fair share of assists in the process. But Jones also brings a veteran presence to the floor. Although only a junior, Greg plays point guard for OP, spearheading the Rams’ offense. His fellow classmate Mike Pirone has also been dominant for OP. Pirone can really do it all. He can get to the rim, shoot the three, and run the offense. Pirone leads OP in steals and assists. Senior Tommy Conniff also brings an anchoring presence to the team. The future Lehigh Mountain Hawk mans the paint–on both sides of the court– for OP. Unsurprisingly, he leads the team in blocks and rebounds.

Enzo Canali and Alex Werbaneth have also been consistently solid for OP. Canali works in tandem with Conniff down low, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots, and scoring layups. Werbaneth– a fan-favorite among the Rowdies– can shoot the three and add depth off the bench for OP.

Asher Bradley has been a huge spark plug for OP. A freshman, Bradley works in sync with Jones in the backcourt. It will be interesting to see how Daugherty utilizes the frosh going forward.

Atop the UCC Mountain division, OP still has a long road ahead of them. They will surely have their fair share of close games and tough opponents. In the coming weeks, we will see if the Rams can continue to build up momentum and make a run into the state and county tournaments.