Following a state-sectional-championship season, the Verona High School Boy’s Varsity Basketball team has set its sights on a repeat for the 2009-2010 season, which kicks off Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the VHS Gym.
Coach Eric McElroy, who is beginning his seventh season as VHS coach, admits that it may be a bumpy road for the varsity team. “We lost a one-thousand-point scorer,” McElroy explains, referring to Chris Looney, who last year became the first Veronan to achieve that lofty perch since 2002. (Although Looney, who now attends Colgate University, won’t be playing for the Hillbillies on Friday, he may well be in attendance as the game will be preceded by the Girl’s hoops opener at 5 p.m., followed by a ceremony honoring past VHS thousand-point scorers.) McElroy went on to list a few more players who have graduated who had been vital assets to the championship team: Keith Herman, Carlo Calabrese, and Mike Castellanos, who was always a “good deep threat.”
Coach McElroy, or “Mac” as he is fondly known by every member of the VHS student body, does not seem terribly worried, however, since there are some solid players with varsity experience returning this season in the persons of Noah Herman, Justin Bruso and Eddie Nicastro. There is also some young talent brewing in the Verona High School gym: McElroy is eager to see what Brian Farrell, Bobby Kaslander, Luke Sniatkowski and Jack Denton can do for the team.
Mac also hopes to benefit from Verona’s departure from the Colonial Hills Conference; the games in the new conference are closer to home and the days of playing Newark powerhouses such as Science and University are over. “It will be a little easier,” McElroy reasoned. “But nothing’s really easy.”
Look for an opportunity to catch a game or two this season. VHS Boy’s Basketball games are a favorite winter pastime, drawing a small herd of loyal fans. Don’t be surprised if you hear a poorly played trumpet smuggled somewhere into the student section; Athletic Director Gary Farishian will confiscate it soon enough and, after a good laugh, you can go back to enjoying the game.
MyVeronaNJ.com will post all school sports events on its calendar. Check there often for game dates, locations and times.