Rising to the Hoop: A Season of Perseverance on the Court



Selbin Sabio ’23 dribbles around a JP Stevens defender to make a shot.

VINCENT LIAO ‘24, Staff Writer

The setting of the winter sun and the forthcoming spring breeze signaled the end of another basketball season, leaving behind a bittersweet feeling in the air. The varsity boys basketball team finished the 2022 to 2023 season with a W–L record of 8–14 and placed fifth (7–7) in the GMC White Division.

Following the departure of the team’s veteran seniors—including Niko Barnes ‘22, Edison boys basketball’s all-time leading scorer with over 1,000 points in his high school career—former juniors rose to fill the vacancies left by their seniors. On the team were also many new players who stepped onto the court for the first time this season. 

“We lost all five starters from last year. However, we also have several letterwinners returning from last year’s team. It takes time to adjust to a new offense and mesh as a team,” said Head Coach Mr. Charles Mohr.

Without a doubt, it was a tough season for the young team, but it was also a season of learning and adapting to overcome the numerous challenges along the winter journey.


Season Begins

On December 15, Edison “tipped off” the season with a win against the Sayreville Bombers 58–53 on the home court. Dominating Sayreville 17–4 in the first quarter, they held their lead and outlasted the Bombers. For the young team, the victory was a great boost in confidence. 

However, just as unpredictably as the winter weather, the Eagles came across their first hurdle in their next three games, falling to Woodbridge, North Plainfield, and Watchung Hills.

“We faced a challenge from the start, being that I was the only varsity player that came back with real experience, so our players had to adjust to the speed of varsity basketball,” said Selbin Sabio ‘23.

Before the year came to an end, from December 27 to 29, the Eagles played in the Anthony J. Cotoia Holiday Tournament, an annual contest held at South Plainfield High School since 2009 in honor of their first basketball coach. After losing to South Plainfield 65–40 in the opening round, the Eagles went on to defeat Perth Amboy Magnet by a substantial margin of 80–34 in the consolation match, finishing third in the tourney.

Edison began 2023 with a rough start: after clinching a 34–33 victory against New Brunswick on January 3, the Eagles entered a period of winless drought, losing their next five games.

“Facing South Plainfield was a little rough trying to get past them with all their weapons and North Brunswick as well with both of their size of players,” said Richard Harvey ‘24.

Staying strong, the Eagles bounced back in the second half of the season. They ended their losing streak with another win against Sayreville 60–45. Subsequently, the boys basketball team prevailed against Woodbridge and North Plainfield 57–55 and 50–46, respectively. 

“I came back from my concussion and hit the game winner against Woodbridge, having us winning that game. It was my proudest moment of the season,” said Harvey.

In their first match against Sayreville, Edison only won by five points; in the second round-robin, Edison extended their difference to fifteen points. Likewise, both Woodbridge and North Plainfield were teams the Eagles had previously lost to earlier in the season. 

“The second half of the season, we did a better job of taking care of the ball and we ran our offenses more effectively,” said Mohr.

The team then won two more of their remaining six games before the GMC tournament.

“We got better and developed as a team,” said Sabio. “At one point our record was 3–9 to the second half of the season going 5–5 and playing some of the best basketball we played all year.”

Selbin Sabio ’23 guards the ball while looking for an open teammate to pass to. (IDHIKA TURYA ’24)

GMC Tournament

At the end of the season, the Eagles played in the GMC Tournament, a single elimination tournament involving schools from all four GMC divisions (in order of increasing rank: white, red, gold, and blue). Of the 33 schools that competed in the tournament, Edison was seeded fourteenth. 

Edison, having skipped the play-in round, faced Middlesex in the preliminary round of the tournament. While Middlesex was seeded nineteenth, below Edison, they were a formidable team tied for third in the blue division—the highest division in GMC. 

In their game against Middlesex, the Eagles were down by nine points at the end of the third quarter (35–26), but they rebounded in the fourth quarter with a 22–15 rally. Despite their valiant attempt at overtaking the lead, it was too little too late. Middlesex won 52–48 and knocked Edison out of the tournament.

Ermin Kapo ‘23 was selected to the All-Division first team, representing Edison High School in the GMC All-Star game on Wednesday, March 29.

Unfortunately, for the rest of the team, the Eagles missed the NJSIAA Tournament this year, making their game against Middlesex their last of the season.


Final Thoughts

The abrupt end of a season carries a different meaning for each player. For the graduating seniors, this was their last high school basketball season. 

“The season ended quicker than we thought. The season was fun, I only wished it ended differently,” said Kapo.

For the younger players on the team, it was an enjoyable yet enlightening experience—a stepping stone for the next season.

“As the year went on, we got stronger as a team and started to glue,” said Robert Roma ‘26. “It was awesome playing for the coaches and playing with seniors as a freshman and I took every moment.”

For the returning players, the end of a season marks the beginning of another.

“The season was really fun. We improved. I had fun and can’t wait to get back to it next season,” said Harvey.

The coaches are also looking forward to next year. 

“We have several varsity players coming back, our JV team improved throughout the season and our freshman team made it to the semifinals of the county tournament,” said Mohr. “We are excited about our potential for next season.”