The Hudson Catholic girls’ basketball team won 18 games last year, but the Hawks graduated three starters from that tenacious squad, including standout point guard Tania Scott, the all-time leading scorer in the school’s brief history of girls’ basketball.
Scott earned Hudson Reporter All-Area Second Team recognition last year and has taken her talents to Union County College, where she’s playing basketball.
In fact, the other two starters from last year, Cassidy Drouet (Clark University in Atlanta) and Jasmine Reese (Georgian Court in Lakewood) are also playing college basketball this fall.
“Tania was a starter for us for four years and the captain for three,” said fifth-year head coach Pete Vincent. “She helped to bring good attention to our program. It’s a good feeling that they’re all continuing their education and getting the opportunity to play. I’m happy where they are. I’m sure they’re enjoying the culture of their different campuses.”
Another former Hawk performer, Leah Seickendick, is playing volleyball at New Jersey City University.
While it’s very hard for a team to lose their starting point guard and continue their winning ways, Vincent is pleased to have a brilliant newcomer enter the fold.
Five-foot-five freshman point guard Zanai Jones has Vincent very excited about her future and the future of his program.
“I think she’ll be the best point guard in the county this year,” Vincent said of Jones, who had 11 assists in the season-opening win over Pope John of Sparta and added 14 assists in an easy win over Ferris. “She plays for the New Jersey Sparks [one of the top AAU programs in the state] and has a lot of experience because of it. She can shoot. She handles the ball very well. She’s extremely quick and she’s a good defender. She can do it all. All she needs now is the experience of playing high school basketball.”
Jones had a brilliant statistical line against Ferris – 15 points, 14 assists and eight steals.
Junior guard Haylee Ramirez also earned Hudson Reporter All-Area Second Team accolades last year, averaging a little more than 15 points per game.
The 5-foot-7 Ramirez had a sensational game against Ferris, scoring a career-high 31 points and adding 11 steals.
“She’s a very good shooter and attacks the basket well,” Vincent said of Ramirez. “She’s also a good free throw shooter, which is going to help her.”
Ramirez connected on 10 free throws in the win over Ferris.
A key newcomer is 6-foot-2 junior forward Ineysiah Surrell, who comes to Hudson Catholic after earning Hudson Reporter All-Area Third Team honors last year playing for the now-closed St. Anthony.
“This is probably the tallest team I’ve ever had,” Vincent said. “Ineysiah is fitting in real well with us. I’m letting her play multiple positions, because she has the ability to play all over.”
Jadyn Watson is a 6-foot freshman forward.
“She can shoot the ball real well,” Vincent said of Watson. “She can shoot the three [3-point shot] very well. She has a high basketball IQ. She’s going to be in the rotation for sure.”
Jaylee Sanchez is a 5-foot-9 senior swing player.
“She has very good one-on-one moves,” Vincent said of Sanchez. “She has become one of our better shooters. She emerged as one of our top players last year.”
Anasia Staton is a 5-foot-10 sophomore forward who has developed into a fine player.
“Potentially, she could be one of the best players we’ve had,” Vincent said. “She’s one of the best shot blockers in the state. She has a good knack of blocking shots. She helped us beat Pope John.”
Staton had 10 points, but eight of those came in a crucial fourth quarter against Pope John. She then scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win over Ferris.
Dionna Lenardo is a 5-foot-5 senior guard.
“She’s a good hustle player,” Vincent said. “She dives on the floor for loose balls. She’s a great leader for us.”
Salma Eddahiri is a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard.
“She’s extremely athletic and finishes well around the basket,” Vincent said. “She’s also a good defender for us.”
Vincent said that it was crucial for the Hawks to gain that first win against a quality team like Pope John.
“We knew we had to add a tough game, because we play Lincoln pretty early [scheduled for after press time Thursday],” Vincent said. “We knew we had to get something going for us early. We pulled out that win and it felt pretty good. I’m especially fond of this team’s chemistry and a lot of it comes from Z [Zanai Jones]. She’s been with us all summer and she’s accepting the fact she’s our point guard. I know her best basketball is in front of her.”
And the best basketball is in front of the Hawks as well…
Congrats to West New York Middle School teacher Johnny Davis, who will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham April 28. Davis is the former University of Alabama standout and the first African-American Alabama graduate to play in the Super Bowl. Davis was a member of the San Francisco 49ers team that won the Super Bowl. We will have more on Davis’ incredible life when the big day draws closer in a few months…
Rashad Jennings, the former Secaucus resident and New York Giants running back who gained off-the-field fame for winning Dancing with the Stars last year, officially retired as a football player last week and was able to do so with the Giants. It was a classy move for the organization and a great move for the affable Jennings, who did a lot with the Secaucus Library’s reading program when he resided locally…
Congrats to former St. Peter’s Prep grid standout Dennis Long, who ironically has earned a great reputation as a long snapping specialist in college football. So Long does something long.
Long recently finished his collegiate career at East Stroudsburg and participated in the National Bowl, an All-Star game for NCAA Division II and Division III players, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Long has also been invited to the NFL Senior Combine as one of the top three long snappers in the country…
Hudson Reporter Boys’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Hudson Catholic (2-0). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (2-0). 3. North Bergen (2-0). 4. Snyder (2-0). 5. Lincoln (1-1)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Secaucus (2-0). 2. Lincoln (2-0). 3. Hudson Catholic (2-0). 4. Marist (2-1). 5. Dickinson (2-0)…– Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.