RANDOLPH, NJ- With the 2016-17 season starting up, there is lots of anticipation for the Randolph High School Freshmen boys basketball team’s season.
The team has practiced hard for the start of their season, and for their scrimmage against Hackensack on Thursday, December 8th. The players were very excited to hit the court for their first high school game, although it did not start in their favor.
Hackensack came out of the gate fast, knocking down three pointers left and right, while Randolph was off to a slow start. After a second quarter comeback for the Rams. triggered by leading scorers Christian Drake and Daquan Hendrickson, Randolph was able to rebound and took the lead over Hackensack 34-28 at halftime.
Unfortunately, the team was only able to play one more quarter, where Hackensack made a valiant effort to come back, but the Rams ended up holding on to win 36-34. Randolph barely hung on at the end, with their only two points of the third quarter coming on free throws from Jack Louro, but those were enough to earn the win.
Christian Drake had a big performance, with nine points, four assists, and six rebounds, to lead the Rams. Drake was asked if he would be able to produce play like this every game.
"The team comes first, and while one game I might have some big numbers, the next maybe Ryan Martin or Daquan Hendrickson will,” said Drake. “But I will certainly be trying to help my team win and if that means I need to put up points, I will.”
After last season, freshman coach Mr. Poppy retired, and Mr. Lavender, teacher at Randolph Middle School, stepped up for the job. Being new, there was a bit of uncertainty for the players surrounding the new coach, but that was quickly erased once the kids took the floor.
“Coach Lavender really knows his stuff and has coached with the Varsity team in the past,” said Ross. “I think for his first game as a head coach he did great, he really knows how to coach a basketball team to a victory.”
Ross was also recently named one of the team’s captains, along with Daquan Hendrickson, a role that puts additional responsibility on a players shoulders.
“I don’t feel any added pressure because I’ve been playing with these same guys since 4th grade,” said Ross. “We have been very successful and hope to carry that success to the upcoming season.”
With some optimistic views, the players and coach all seem excited for the season, .
“It ( the win ) was Great,” said Lavender. “The guys have been practicing hard and we were excited for the scrimmage.”
Coach also expressed his views on whether or not he thought his team could keep producing good results.
“We have a great coaching staff and I believe we will be able to keep winning,” said Lavender”
“I think we will be able to win our next game, (scrimmage with Hanover Park ) who is an easier opponent, as Hackensack is one of the best teams we will play this year,” said Martin. “Coming off a big win like this I think we will keep winning."
If all goes as said, the team is set for a successful season. .
The team’s first game was against Sparta on Friday, December 16th, at Sparta High School. The Rams opened the season with a win, defeating the Spartans 53-46.