GLEN RIDGE, NJ--He's been the head boys basketball coach at his alma mater for 14 seasons now, and Liam Carr admits that he's never seen a closer-knit squad than the one he led in 2019-2020.
Glen Ridge finished a solid 15-10 this year, with a roster made up of one senior and a host of talented underclassmen.
"These kids were so resilient," said Carr, himself a one-time star player for the Ridgers. "We were very young, but the kids responded well, worked hard in practice, listened and always strove to be better."
The Ridgers finished the season with some impressive home victories against league champion Caldwell, as well as Verona. The team was defeated in the first round of the North 2, Group 1 tournament, in a close game, by Weequahic, which eventually made it to the sectional semifinals.
The lone senior on the team this year was Joe DeLuca, a team captain.
"Joe did a tremendous job as a player and leader," said Carr. "He had an ankle injury in the middle of the season, but battled through it and was a very consistent player. We'll miss him."
Junior captain Sam Trunley had a marvelous year, leading the team in scoring, with over 18 points a game, as well as rebounding.
"Sam really came around, both as a player and captain," said Carr. "He and Joe were tremendous leaders who our kids looked up to. Obviously, he'll be our leader heading into next year."
Sophomores Bryan Moussako, Carter Koenig, Ryan O'Neil and Mike Cifelli also showed marked improvement.
"Bryan really emerged as an all-around player," said Carr of Moussako. "Carter was our number two rebounder and Mike was a gamer. He would usually cover the opponent's best player. His defense was tremendous. Ryan also became a very aggressive rebounder for us.
"I believe Bryan, Ryan, Carter and Mike are all on their way to being talented varsity players."
Aiden Connaghan, AJ Snyder, JD Pine, Matt Van Bloem and Carter Robik rounded out a very good roster. In addition, Glen Ridge's junior varsity team had a good season and Carr is confident some of those players can make an impact on the varsity next year.
"Our team will be the necessary time in during the off-season," said Carr. "As I said, they work hard and I'm really excited about what we can accomplish next season. We played in a good league this year, with teams like West Essex, Caldwell and Belleville. Overall, I couldn't be happier."