River Dell Varsity Boys Basketball team shoots lights from long range in regular-season finale win over Passaic Valley


The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Boys Basketball Team(14-9, 7-3 Big North Patriot) squared off against the Passaic Valley Hornets(11-10, 3-7 Big North Independence) in the 2023-24 regular-season finale at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.

River Dell was only 24 hours removed from a nailbiter victory, 61-60, against Cresskill. Sean Golden tallied a game-high 22 points while Aditya Pandya supplied 20 points, and Liam Hickey chipped in with 13 points.

The Golden Hawks quickly jumped out of the gates, racing to a 13-4 lead. Passaic Valley responded with a 6-0 run to trim the deficit. However, the potent tandem of Sean Golden(8 points) and Patrick Sweeny(8 points)) tallied all of River Dell's points in the first quarter, with Sweeny burying two trifectas that made it a 16-12 advantage.

On the first-quarter offensive outburst, Patrick Sweeny said, "Sean's been our main option this season, and we rely on him in a lot of games, so it's good to have him." "It's always good to have that one-two punch whether it's me, Liam(Hickey), David(Nunez), Aditya(Pandya), and everyone else on the team to help contribute."

In the second quarter, the Golden Hawks picked up where they left off in the first quarter with a 10-0 blitz to widen their margin to double digits at 26-12. Patrick Sweeny is on fire from behind the arc, draining two additional triples. River Dell was able to take a 33-20 lead at halftime.

"Everyone in our rotation has the ability to knock down threes and jump shots," Patrick Sweeny explained. "You can see the full potential when we start knocking down shot after shot and we go on a big run." "We wanted to build a lead against a team like that because we didn't want to try and get into a battle with them."

Once the third quarter commenced, Sean Golden( 9 points) and Patrick Sweeny(7 points) continued to be a fearsome duo on the offensive end by dropping a combined 16 points, with Sweeny knocking down his fifth trey. By the time the period ended, the Golden Hawks led comfortably 51-38.

Patrick Sweeny's contributions to the team, "It's been a grind, especially in the offseason and working with the shooting trainer every week and a full week in the summer league." "It feels good to put all that work in, and then you get to the season and start knocking down shots and feel that hard work is paying off."

River Dell did a masterful job defensively, limiting the Hornets to six points in the fourth quarter. Conversely, the Golden Hawks spread the wealth offensively, with four players getting into the scoring column, culminating in a 64-44 win. Sean Golden poured in a game-high 24 points, while Patrick Sweeny pitched in with 21.

"It's definitely great to have two years under varsity; for some, it's three years, and to play with the seniors in Sean(Golden), Phil(Doornheim), and Liam(Hickey), and it's good to develop under them and have that knowledge for next year, Patrick Sweeny described."

"Will(Brunner), Ryan(Rossig), and Aditya(Pandya) and I have been playing together basically since we were in third grade and working our way up the ranks from middle school into varsity basketball" "It's been fun playing with these guys for the last eight years of my life, and it's good to have that chemistry with them."

River Dell returns to action on Thursday, February 22nd, hosting the Dwight Maroon Raiders(15-11, 5-3 Big North American) in the first round of the North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 State Tournament at River Dell High School with tip-off set for 5 p.m.

The Golden Hawks and Dwight Morrow are facing each other for a third time this season, with the Maroon Raiders winning the first two matchups, including a 66-59 victory in the Bergen Invitational Tournament Semifinals.

"We're going to have more confidence going in playing them a third time and we have them on our home court," Patrick Sweeny noted. "It's going to be a mix of offense and defense and our coaches preach defense." "They dominated us on the offensive end and rebounding but we're going to have to rebound and knock down a lot more shots than we have in the previous games to win the game."

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