BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The 2016-2017 Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School seventh grade basketball team's season was perfect.
On Feb. 10, the Panthers defeated Hillsborough, 61-30, to win the Central Jersey Junior Basketball League JV Division championship. The victory in the finals not only made the Panthers champions, but completed a perfect 15-0 season.
With a 13-0 regular-season record, the Panthers earned the number one seed and a first-round bye for the league playoffs. The Bridgewater-Raritan team dominated Readington, 62-25, in the semi-finals, before advancing to the finals against Hillsborough.
This year's championship marked the third straight for a Panthers JV team.
While the 2016-2017 JV Panthers are not the school's first undefeated JV team, their record 15 wins are the most in a single season. The Panthers did not simply defeat opponents during their perfect season, they dominated them, with the closest contest being a 15-point win against Hillsborough earlier this season.
The team always responded to Coach Mike Geremia's half-time advice to approach second-half play, "as if the score was 0-0."
In the championship win, the Panthers were led by Isaiah Honis with 12 points, Joey Callari with 11 points and Brady Kurdyla with 10 points, as well as the solid play of starters Matt Halpin and Aryan Pal.
Throughout the season, the team received important contributions from a strong bench that included Jordan Beauchene, Nick Jankowski, Ryan Luis, Nasir Maryland, Jonathan Mock, Shawn Pushpala and Branin Schweizer. The team was successfully guided by coaches Geremia and Dan Grigal.