Getting to Know Jason Shill

By Nate Barcus


Photo by Samantha Zuckerberg

It has been a successful start to the season for the Pascack Hills varsity boy’s basketball team. With a 7-1 record, the team is playing its best basketball. With help coming from all positions, one stand-out has been senior guard Jason Shill, a major catalyst for the offense and a lockdown defender.

Shill has been playing basketball since he can remember. “I have been playing basketball since I was about 6 or 7 years old,” he said. Jason was a talent heading into high school, and proved his value by earning a spot on the varsity roster as a freshman. He has the size of a forward, but the skills and speed of a guard.

On the varsity squad for all four years of his high school career, he had a lot of options to chose from when asked about his favorite memory as a Cowboy team member. He said, “My favorite basketball memory at Pascack hills was last year when we made it to the semifinals of the Bergen County Jamboree. I hope to make many more memories this year because I think as a team we are very capable of doing so.”

Last year, the varsity team defied the odds and turned some heads in the Bergen county tournament by knocking off the number one overall seed in the entire county, Ramapo, and advancing to the semi-finals. Although they ultimately fell short of reaching the County Championship, it was definitely a wild ride. As a junior, Shill was a key factor at the starting shooting guard position and helped propel the Cowboys into places no prior Hills basketball team has ever reached.

Although last year the team found success in the county tournament, the season did not end the way the Cowboys had hoped. A favorite to come out of the section and reach the State Tournament, the team was upset by Mahwah, sending them home much earlier than expected with a bitter taste stuck in their mouthes. So this year, Shill and the rest of the team know that nothing can be taken for granted on the court. They have come out of the gate running, only suffering one loss to a very talented Ridgewood team. When Shill was asked if he thinks so far this season has been a success, he said, “Absolutely. We are 7-1 so far and suffered a tough loss to Ridgewood in the Holiday Tournament final. We have been working very hard in practice and everyone has made a great contribution to the team thus far.” This year’s team has returned many key players from last year’s team, so they know what it takes to get back to where they hope to be, and they are ready to put in the work.

For the rest of the season, Jason will be looked on to not only assist on the offensive side, but he is usually assigned the toughest opponent on the defensive side and expected to contain the other team’s best player. Jason’s legnth and speed makes him an incredible defender and gives Coach Kevin Kirkby a sense of relief that the other team’s best player will be held in check. Down the stretch, in the big games, Shill will be looked at to keep himself on the court and terrorize opponents on both ends of the court.

When he was presented with the question of what the ideal finish to the season would be, he immediately said, “I think the ultimate goal of the season is to win a Sectional Championship. It has been 3 years since Hills has last won a Sectional Championship and I believe our team has the talent and determination to win a Sectional Title this year.” Most years, this is the goal for Kirkby and the Cowboys, and Shill believes it should be no different this year. With a 16-point average margin of victory, they really have not had many challenges up to this point. Shill and the team recognize the uphill battle ahead, but they feel prepared and confident that this senior group can lead them to glory. With 14 scheduled games left, they know there is still plenty of time to prove to themselves and the other teams that they are a force. Hopefully Shill and the Cowboys can achieve these goals that he truly believes they can  reach.