Battle of Wayne: Hills Boys Basketball Versus Valley

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 Battle of Wayne: Hills Boys Basketball Versus Valley

Avery Moses, Staff Writer

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 Battle of Wayne

“We have a lot to prove. Whenever you put on the Valley uniform and you stand across from a player from Hills, you automatically want to prove you are better!” Mark Howell, Wayne Valley’s point guard, explained.

Last year’s Wayne Valley Boys Basketball team were a big force to be reckoned with in the Big North- Independence Conference! They held a 17-9 overall record and an outstanding 10-0 conference record! All signs pointed at County Title until, Wayne Hills defeated them in a Passaic County Semifinal game!

When asked, “Will the game between two of the top teams in Passaic County, be worth the hype”?

Both, Athletic Director Mr. Drozjock and Star Point Guard Mark Howell replied, “100 Percent!”

And it did not disappoint!

The Hills gym was overcrowded with students from both schools. Chants rained in from both sides! Chants like, “What’s your ring size?”(Hills to Valley), and “5th year senior”(Valley to Hills).

It felt as, if every time Valley scored two points, Hills would score 4! A highly intensive game went into halftime with a score of 27-20 Hills.

Coach Joe Leicht had to have said something to the boys in the locker room, because they started the half on fire. Scoring from Mark Howell ,Anthony D’Arienzo, and Taylor Jackson erased some of the deficit but the Valley Boys went into the 4th quarter down by 6.

With the score 46-41 at the start of the 4th,the feeling of a remarkable ending was in the air!

The beginning of the final quarter began a little rocky for the boys. Missed shots, allowed baskets, and time chiping of the clock are not a great combination! However, a big charging foul placed on Hills, swung the momentum

A clutch three from Mark Howell and steal and layup by Valley,kept the train rolling!

Clutch free throws by Taylor Jackson and Anthony D’Arienzo tied the game, and set the stage for a story-book ending.

Flashback:

Last Year senior players Mark Howell, Anthony D’Arienzo, and Star-Center Patrick Cronin were in the same situation! Last Season, Former Wayne Valley Graduate Jared See, hit a game-winning put-back against the Patriots to cap off a 22 point night! See was even in the stands cheering the Indians on!

With 10 seconds left on the clock and every human in the stands holding their breath, the ref blew his whistle.

Howell called for an isolation (Space to go one on one with a smaller defender), he drove past his guy for a mid range shot. It rolled out the rim, but a quick putback from Taylor Jackson made Valley get a sweet victory over the once undefeated Hills!

Down Goes Hills! Down Goes Hills! Valley wins the Battle of Wayne!

Jackson ended the game with 10 points, Evan Bitterman had 2, Howell finished with 15, Patrick Cronin ended with 6, John Pettorini had 7, and leading the Indians in points Anthony D’Arienzo finished with 16.

Valley moves to second in the Big North- Independence Conference behind Wayne Hills.

1-Wayne Hills 8-1

2- Valley-8-1

3-Fair Lawn 7-2

4- West Milford 5-4

5-Passaic Valley 4-4

6-Lakeland 2-9

When asked, “Do you feel school pride when going against Hills?” Howell replied, “Of course! Valley and Hills are in the same city and have a long history!”

And this game, will never be forgotten!

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