By Josh Lashley
A positive trait the Pequannock High School basketball programs (boy’s and girl’s teams) and the wrestling program have in common is that they don’t suffer from stagnation.
The coaches and student-athletes participating in the sports listed above for the Golden Panthers are using every practice and each and every game as an opportunity to improve their skill in order to build momentum and confidence-which is crucial in the athletics.
Let’s take a closer look at each team:
PEQUANNOCK GIRL’s BASKETBALL:
The Golden Panthers return sophomore point guard Reagan Russo from a 2017-2018 squad that finished with 10 wins.
“Reagan Russo is our only returning starter,’’ Pequannock head coach Jennifer Baggot said. “Alessandra D’Alessio will be a major impact player. She is a junior and Alessandra is a forward. We have zero seniors and only two juniors in the program this year. We currently do not have any captains. However, we hope to see leadership shine through.’’
Pequannock has a home game scheduled versus Villa Walsh on January 15.
“This season, we hope to build experience and confidence,’’ Baggot said. “We also hope to earn respect within our new Conference. This is a rebuilding year for our team. We graduated nine seniors last year and only have two upperclassmen.’’
PEQUANNOCK BOY’S BASKETBALL:
Among the key returning players from a Golden Panther team that finished with a record of 16-9 last year areSean Glynn (forward, senior), Tom Hardie (center, senior), Giovanni Rubino (guard, senior), Mathew Spatucci (forward, senior), Gary Thompson (guard, senior), Mike Luttenberger (forward, senior) and Harris Bjraktarevic (forward, senior).
Among the newcomers looking to be of positive impact on the varsity roster are Derick Thompson (senior, guard) and Charlie Baldissard (junior, forward).
“Matt Spatucci [is looked upon as a leader],’’ Pequannock head coach Jeff DeBell said. “I hope he leads by example with his hard play.’’
Pequannock is scheduled to host Morris Knolls contest on January 15.
“We would like to be competitive in our new Conference and qualify for the (NJSIAA) State Tournament,’’ DeBell said.
The Golden Panthers returning a solid core of wrestlers from a team that finished with 11 wins during 2017-2018 including Jason Burklow (senior, 220 pounds), Jimmy Pierson (senior, 170 pounds), Tommy Goodwin (junior, 195 pounds), Jack Bauer (junior, 160 pounds), Alex Gallipoli (junior, 145 pounds) and Dom Terry (junior).
Newcomers looking to be of positive influence in the varsity lineup include Julian Garcia (freshman, 106 pounds), Nick Torsiello (freshman, 106 pounds) and Timmy Greff (freshman, 113 pounds).
“We are a very young team led by two seniors who show great leadership in and out of the room-Jason Burklow and Jimmy Pierson,’’ Pequannock head coach Jay LaPaglia said. “The Panthers did a lot of work during the off season such as 6 am lifts, open mats, the Rutgers Wrestling Camp and attended the Hopatcong Duals which we haven’t been to in quite some years. We see ourselves in the middle of the pack (in their Division) and by mid season to be contenders.’’
The Golden Panthers are scheduled to host Hanover Park on January 16.