By Mark Kitchin
Roxbury season review
In the history of Roxbury boys basketball there has never been a season quite like the Gaels had in 2010-2011. Perennial doormats in the past when it came to boys basketball, the Roxbury program has improved with each season. The Gaels won a season high 19 games, won its first state tournament game in 50 years and advanced to the Morris County Tournament final for the first time in the 42-year history of the event.
“You know you have had a pretty good season when you can look back and a lot of games and identify great wins,’’ Roxbury coach Jon Deeb said.
Senior leadership: Roxbury had terrific senior leadership but the biggest leader of all was senior center Angelo Mangiro. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound athlete set the school record for most points in a career and caused major matchup problems because of his size and skill. Despite being a focal point on offense, he was unselfish with the ball. He also averaged double-digit rebounds and clogged up the lanes on defense.
He wasn’t the only senior contributor. Michael Giordano was a point guard and the team’s top 3-point shooter. Ryan Roumes was the most vocal player on the team and a valuable asset in the 2-3 defensive scheme. Shaun O’Donnell filled the stat sheet and contributed in everything whether it was points, rebounds, steals, blocks, etc. Forward Ike Iloh was strong on the boards and another reliable inside scorer. Kevin Bischoff was another perimeter player that made strong contributions off the bench this season.
They’ve pretty much grown up together playing basketball,’’ Deeb said. “They are going to be missed. Angelo has been our leader for the last couple of years but other guys provided leadership at different times.’’
Forward Ike Iloh made a tremendous contribution to the Gaels’ success.
Highlights: There were plenty of highlights. The first one was probably getting even with Mount Olive in Morris County Tournament play after losing to the Marauders by two points in the Hopatcong Holiday Tournament.
“We had an early win in the county tournament against Mount Olive and we knew it was going to be an intense game,’’ Deeb said.
Roxbury also defeated Parsippany Hills and Morristown in the MCT then overcame a tough Delbarton team in the semifinals. The eighth-seeded Gaels had an off game in the final but didn’t let it get to them. They rebounded in state play with wins over North Bergen and Union City. During the tournament run, Deeb also earned his 100th victory as Gaels coach.
“Winning the state tournament games for the first time in decades was great,’’ Deeb said. “The team we lost to Paterson East Side won the Group IV. That made us feel good, too because we gave them a battle.’’
Hope for the future: Andrew Volpe, at 6-foot-5, 260-pounds, will have the difficult task of taking Mangiro place as a dominant force under the basket. His performances were often pivotal especially at times when Mangiro was in foul trouble. Although he missed a few weeks of the season due to injury, Ryan Kelley showed his ability. The sophomore point guard played a major role in MCT and state tournament triumphs. Roxbury’s junior varsity season was not exceptional but Deeb has spotted athletes who will be able to grow and mature when they will be called to the varsity level next year.
“They know what to expect and what the coaches expect from them,’’ Deeb said. “A lot of people won’t expect us to do well next year but we’ll be ready to compete and be able to play against anyone.’’
Shaun O’Donnell (23) and Angelo Mangiro were a constant source of senior leadership on the Gaels’ team.
Offseason plans: Same as usual for the Gaels. They plan to attend the East Stroudsburg team camp in mid-July. They will play in the Hopatcong Summer League and in Hackettstown’s Wednesday night league. The athletes have a weight program that many carry out and open gyms are also conducted depending upon the summer league schedules.