The Marist High School girls’ basketball team might own a 3-4 record in the early stages of the 2018-19 season, but it doesn’t concern veteran head coach Reggie Quinn one iota.
“All of our losses have been to Top 20 teams [in New Jersey],” Quinn said. “We took on as many tough teams as we could early on.”
So the Lady Royal Knights’ convincing 53-24 victory over St. Dominic Academy was more like what Quinn was expecting, especially against local opponents.
Leading the way for the Knights is senior do-everything Breyanna Frazier, who has already signed her National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Central Florida in the fall. The 5-foot-9 Frazier is well on her way to her fourth straight appearance on the Hudson Reporter All-Area team. Frazier has earned Reporter All-Area First Team in each of the last two seasons.
Frazier currently leads the Lady Knights in every statistical category and is averaging almost 18 points per game, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists per contest. Frazier had 23 in the win over St. Dominic recently.
If there is one aspect to her game that concerns Quinn (who also happens to be Frazier’s uncle), it’s that she tries to do too much.
“That’s the most difficult thing,” Quinn said. “We have to try to slow her down a little. We want her to be more of a facilitator and less of a scorer. It may sound crazy, but we think that it’s going to make us a better team down the stretch. We’re only going to be a better team if the others improve. It’s all new territory for Breyanna. As a coach, I know we’re going to get better. I just don’t want her to try to do too much.”
It’s a hard sell for a talented player who has only enjoyed success during her career.
“At times, she does get frustrated,” Quinn said. “But she’s adjusting well. She’s making good solid plays and helping the others get better.”
However, Quinn knows exactly where the ball is going to be late in games.
“When the game is on the line, the ball is going to be in Breyanna’s hands,” Quinn said. “I think other teams know that as well.”
Quinn projects that Frazier will be a guard on the college level especially playing NCAA Division I basketball.
“She’s going to be a combo guard,” said Quinn, meaning that Frazier will probably play both point guard and shooting guard on the next level. “I think she’s getting better with her patience. We’re teaching her to be patient this year.”
Quinn said that Frazier has been nominated for the McDonald’s High School All-America team and will know in a few weeks whether she has been selected for the game.
“She’s a big-game player,” Quinn said. “We just have to put the other people in the right position.”
Freshman Stephanie Jean-Bapriste has been a pleasant addition to the Marist lineup. The 5-foot-5 rookie is averaging 14 points per game.
“She’s still getting a feel for the game,” Quinn said. “She’s a great shooter and has knocked down a bunch of 3-pointers so far. She’s definitely coming along.”
Jaliayah Smith is another freshman. The 5-foot-7 Smith is “the anchor of the defense,” according to Quinn, who is also averaging six points and 10 rebounds per game. Smith had 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots in the win over St. Dominic.
Junior Nia Scott is a 5-foot-7 swing player who returns from last year’s team.
“She gives us defensive presence and speed,” Quinn said. “She’s also knocking down some threes.”
Freshman Karine Thomas is a 5-foot-6 point guard who takes the pressure off Frazier handling the ball.
“I want her to run the offense,” Quinn said of Thomas.
Ciara Castillo is a 5-foot-2 senior guard.
“She’s our little sparkplug,” Quinn said. “She’s a team leader who does all the little things you don’t see in the scoreboard. She also helps to keep Breyanna calm.”
Kailyce Hanna is a 5-foot-7 transfer from North Bergen who had to sit out the first 30 days due to the NJSIAA’s transfer rule. Hanna is a junior who can put the ball in the basket.
“She’s going to help us tremendously,” Quinn said. “She’s extremely tough and she’s going to help Breyanna scoring.”
Kyra Rose is a 5-foot-9 freshman forward.
“She has a lot of potential,” Quinn said. “She’s just getting the hang of it.”
Monaysia Emerson is a 5-foot-3 sophomore with tremendous athletic ability and Serenity Jackson is a 5-foot-7 junior who is a coach’s dream.
“She’s always in the right place at the right time,” Quinn said.
Quinn believes that his team will continue to improve as the season goes on.
“I think we can become a championship caliber team,” Quinn said. “It’s just going to take some time. We’re not less talented than other teams in the county. We can make a run and get into the Final Four of the county.”
As long as Frazier leads the way…
Over the Christmas holidays, we lost a host of beloved people who passed away.
There was the beloved Billy McKeever, the former Union Hill head basketball coach and St. Peter’s College women’s basketball assistant coach who was inducted into the Union Hill, St. Peter’s College and Hudson County Sports Halls of Fame.
There was the legendary boxing trainer Al Certo, who might have been known by some as a tailor from Secaucus, but was also known as the trainer for Hall of Fame champion James “Buddy” McGirt. Certo is also a member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame.
There was former Marist and St. Peter’s College soccer great Jerry Scala, who became a respected attorney later in life.
There was former Don Bosco Prep and Queen of Peace head basketball coach Dennis Gregory, who was also an assistant at Fairleigh Dickinson and most recently an assistant to Fred Hill at Rutgers. Gregory was also involved with the renowned basketball teaching firm Hoop Group.
There was long-time assistant Gerard Kyne, who was an assistant coach at St. Michael’s in Jersey City, at Hudson Catholic under three coaches and also an assistant at St. Peter’s Prep.
There was Robert O’Callahan, who was the father-in-law of former Dickinson and St. Anthony girls’ basketball coach Cathy Meyers O’Callahan, another member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame.
And there was Diane Weber, the wife of former local baseball standout, the late Ray Weber, and mother to Ray Jr. and Dave, two outstanding baseball players in their own right. Dave Weber played minor league baseball in the Chicago Cubs’ organization and is currently an assistant baseball coach at St. Peter’s Prep.
So as you can see, we lost some real good people over the holidays…
Hudson Reporter Boys’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (5-2). 2. Hudson Catholic (7-2). 3. Snyder (6-1). 4. Union City (5-2). 5. Hoboken (5-1)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. Bayonne (8-0). 2. Lincoln (6-1). 3. Secaucus (6-1). 4. Hudson Catholic (6-2). 5. Hoboken (6-0). – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com