It’s never easy when a basketball team loses a player who averaged nearly 22 points per game, the top scoring total in all of Hudson County.
But that’s what Dickinson High School boys’ basketball team had to endure this season, when standout 1,600-point scorer Tyrek Battle-Holley graduated and took his talents to McCook Community College in Nebraska.
Battle-Holley was a two-time Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree, having earned First Team All-Area last season. He is clearly one of the best players in Dickinson’s rich and storied basketball history.
Veteran head coach Sean Drennan realized that it wasn’t going to be easy to live life without Battle-Holley.
“We leaned on him a lot,” Drennan said. “So offensively, we’re struggling. I think it [Battle-Holley’s departure] has something to do with it.”
The Rams own a 7-5 record as the 2018-19 season reaches the midway point.
“We’re taking some time to gel,” Drennan said. “I don’t know what to expect yet. There are four-minute stretches where I think we can beat the Knicks and then there are four-minute stretches where we couldn’t beat my son’s 10-year-old team.”
However, the Rams have a winning record for a reason.
“Defensively, we’re doing well,” Drennan said. “Offensively, we struggle.”
The point guard for the team is 5-foot-10 junior Jaylen Valentin, who has tried to develop into a point guard.
“He’s not much of a point guard,” Drennan said. “He’s more of a shooting guard, but he’s learning. He’s gotten much better.”
Senior Jason Garcia is a 6-foot-1 guard who has been playing in the Dickinson program for four years and has been a starter for three years. Garcia is averaging close to 12 points per game this season.
The shooting guard is 6-foot-2 senior Jacqual Gertrude, who is the son of former Dickinson and St. Peter’s College women’s standout Tonya Gertrude.
One of the forwards is 6-foot-6 senior Beyon Wilson, who came to Dickinson from Great Futures High School. Wilson did not play basketball anywhere last season. Wilson had 18 points in a recent 47-46 win over Kearny. Wilson is averaging 13.1 points per contest.
Another forward is 6-foot-2 junior Tymair Jones, who saw limited time with the Rams last season.
Another forward is 6-foot-3 junior Kyelle Wilson, who has shown moments of brilliance this season. Wilson is the son of former Dickinson and Ramapo College standout Rashawn Wilson, a Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree in 2000.
“He’s a lot more polished this year,” Drennan said of Wilson.
Jonathan Hishe is a 5-foot-10 junior who transferred to Dickinson from Ferris. He has been a pleasant addition.
“He’s a dead-eye shooter,” Drennan said of Hishe. “He hit two big 3’s to help us beat Shabazz.”
The Rams just suffered a big loss when talented sophomore Luc Chapeau was lost for the season with hip surgery. The 6-foot Chapeau is the younger brother of McNair Academic standout cross country runner, county and state champion Claire Chapeau.
“He’s a great kid,” Drennan said. “He’s going to be really good. He will play a lot next year.”
So the Rams are in the thick of things in the rough-and-tumble world of the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League and the upcoming Hudson County Tournament.
“Honestly, there are no nights off,” Drennan said. “We keep getting better and maybe we can peak at the right time. Anyone in the county can go on a run.”
It’s been proven already, with the county as competitive as it is…
The Marist girls’ basketball team suffered a gigantic loss recently when three-time Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree Breyanna Frazier suffered a torn ACL in her knee, putting her on the sidelines for the rest of the season. Frazier has already signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Central Florida in the fall. Marist head coach Reggie Quinn said that Frazier is in good spirits, but it was a tough go after the injury. Quinn is also Frazier’s uncle…
Frazier will have local company at UCF in the fall, as former two-time Hudson Reporter Player of the Year and standout football quarterback Brandon Wimbush has decided to transfer to UCF to complete his college career after playing for three seasons and earning his degree at Notre Dame. Wimbush will be a graduate student at UCF and will compete to be the starter there in the fall…
Hudson Reporter Boys’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (9-2). 2. Hudson Catholic (11-3). 3. Union City (8-4). 4. Lincoln (7-3). 5. Snyder (7-3)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Bayonne (13-1). 2. Secaucus (11-1). 3. Lincoln (10-2). 4. Hudson Catholic (10-3). 5. Hoboken (10-0). – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com