It’s back to work for the Boonton Bombers

By Mark Kitchin


Boonton season review

James Catalano posted winning seasons for decades when he coached at New Jersey Institute of Technology, He helped the college program build from Division III to the Division I level but even all that knowledge couldn’t help when it came to coaching this year’s Boonton Bombers. He had to go back to teaching the basics.

“They didn’t understand the defense,’’ Catalano said. “There were a lot of doubts about what to do. They lacked the fundamentals. A lot of teaching came into play. Even in practice it was difficult because there was no one to practice against.’’

Graduation losses changed the Bombers from a 20-win team to a team that was starting over. Boonton did manage to win seven games but it was a struggle. It will be awhile before the Bombers get back to better days.

Boonton’s Tracey Thomas is a raw talent but he still has a lot to improve upon in order for the Bombers to succeed. 

Senior leadership: Catalano credits seniors Jay Andriazola, Danny Carey and Mike Rawls with giving good effort. Andriazola was a threat from the perimeter and gave the Bombers an advantage when he could knock down shots. Carey was their only true ballhandler and Mike Rawls helped in spots. “He was forced to play out of position,’’ Catalano said. “Our team was so small that all of them were out of position.’’

Highlights: “Defensively we did a good job,’’ Catalano said. “There were eight or nine games where we held teams to under 40 points. There were five or six games where we stayed close but in the final minute and a half talent took over.’’

An opening night win against Wallkill Valleywas certainly a thrill. The Bombers also experienced a double-overtime triumph against Kinnelon, but overall victories were few and far between.

Hope for the future: For raw skill and ability look no further than Tracey Thomas. The Bombers 6-foot-2 center has size and leaping ability but often negated those skills by taking too many jump shots. He was also the team’s best rebounder and lone shot blocking threat.

“Sometimes we even needed him to bring the ball up,’’ Catalano said. “The jury is still out on him. We asked him to carry the load.’’

Joe McCabe, a sophomore, was a pleasant surprise for Catalano.

“He’s fundamentally sound. He plays defense and understands taking a charge which is something some of the others couldn’t or wouldn’t do.’’

The Bombers had a middling jayvee team and will undoubtedly pluck some players to move up to the varsity level.

When the Bombers won, it was because of a strong defensive effort.

Off-season plans: At least this year the Bombers will get a head start on the season. Catalano was hired too late to initiate any serious off-season plans last year. It helps that the returnees have a better idea of what their coach expects.

“There are a couple of spring leagues were looking at,’’ Catalano said. “It’s tough to get them all together because many of the kids are involved in spring sports. We’re also looking at the Wayne League or the Ramapo league over the summer.’’


About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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