River Dell freshman boys basketball team off to a flying start in the 2021-22 season

Heading into the 2021-22 regular-season opener last week against Fort Lee, there was a great deal of optimism about the potential of the River Dell Golden Hawks freshman boys basketball team this season.

The Golden Hawks performed exceptionally high level in the practices and five scrimmages. Most importantly, the chemistry amongst the players on the team and playing together on the 2021 undefeated freshman football squad are the key factors.

Regarding the regular-season opener against Fort Lee, the Golden Hawks rolled to a 49-23 win over the Bridgemen. A balanced scoring attack with Aditya Pandya leading the charge pouring in a game-high 13 points, Ryan Rossig tallying eight points, Tyler Datz, contributed six points, and Dylan Gastman added five points.

Over the past couple of days, there was an opportunity to speak with Head Coach Ben Orth, Brendan Miceli, Aditya Pandya, and Ryan Rossig about the team as a whole and its impressive victory over Fort Lee.

Head Coach Ben Orth on the win, "A little slow to come out of the gate but once we settled in defensively our execution improved." "We were able to make a little run, hold onto that and happy about the effort."

"I think 11 of our 13 kids scored the ball; that kind of seems what this is team is going to be about, and they're a solid group altogether." They're an outstanding group, much like the football team."

"I think we've done a pretty good coming together early in the season." "We're still trying to figure each other out and what we can be." We had a couple of good scrimmages, faced Don Bosco, and played well, which was good to see.

Aditya Pandya won over Fort Lee and played in his first River Dell Golden Hawks freshman basketball regular-season game. "We had a sluggish start, but all of us just came together and started playing well" "We just came out nervous, but Coach Orth took us to the side after the first quarter and told us to wake up and start playing; to our full potential."

"After that we really started getting into our press defense, it really worked and they couldn't handle the pressure." "We got many steals and got into our offense very well." We executed the plays and got some easy lay-ups.

"I've always wanted to play basketball since third grade and putting that jersey on meant a lot for especially playing my first high school game."

"All of us are good friends outside of the court, so we have very good chemistry going into every game and know how to lift each other up." "The scrimmages helped us ready for the first game of the season especially against tough teams like Don Bosco."

"Our starting five is great, Will Brunner is very good at handling the ball, and he keeps us controlled all the time." "Ryan Rossig is probably one of our best players scoring, defensively, passing, and just an all-around good player." Brendan Miceli is also a terrific shooter, skillful scorer, and shoots the ball well. Patrick Sweeney is also an excellent shooter, and then me at the center.

Ryan Rossig on the victory and scoring eight points, "We started pretty slow, had eight points at the end of the first quarter, and obviously, we realized we had to step it up." "Coach Orth talked to us and in the second quarter we were mentally prepared and started pressing and getting turnovers." They were turning the ball over every time we were scoring on our possessions, and that is where the momentum came from, and we didn't let up and started dominating the game.

"It felt great being able to score eight points in my first high school basketball game." "I also set a goal for myself, scoring ten or more points each game this season and I think I can achieve that goal."

"From playing football with each other we have great chemistry together." "We kind of know what we're doing and use it to our advantage." "Football developed us a lot for basketball because it got us stronger, smarter and made us improve on the basketball court."

Brendan Miceli on preparing for the 2021-22 season and the importance of winning on the road, "We had multiple goals before the regular season; we wanted to win all of our division games but focused on the first two games." "It will build confidence and put us on a hot streak." We made sure we knew the plays and had many shooting drills getting ready for Fort Lee.

"We've been playing together probably since third grade, so it's good for us." "Even after the starting five comes out, the next group goes in, and everyone still has that chemistry together and knows the game well, so it's a big bonus, and we have a lot of depth on our team.

"Coach (Ben) Orth wants it so badly for us because he played all four years at River Dell." "It means a lot to us we are a good group and he really wants us to fulfill our potential and really takes pride in it."

"The away games are the most important because we're going into someone else's gym and that's where they go to school, take their classes and practice." "Coming out with wins in away games is definitely big for us and having four in a row if we can win at least three of those we'd be in good shape to start off the season."

With the game's cancellation against Pascack Valley, the next time River Dell returns to action is after Christmas where the Golden Hawks will participate in the Holiday Tournament at Saint Joseph's Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey.

On Tuesday, December 29th, River Dell will square off against Glen Rock with tip-off set for 12:30 p.m., followed by a match-up against Ramsey on Wednesday, December 29th, with tip-off at 11 a.m.

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