Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Week in Bronco Sports: 2/19-2/24

Missed any of last week’s games? Check out this week in Broncos sports review.
Josh Baskin
Austin Ellman gets a layup in tough coverage during the Broncos’ win against Pompton Lakes.

Monday, Feb. 19

Ice Hockey vs. Whippany Park (NJSIAA Sectional Tournament, First Round) – 9-2 Win

It was a wonderful start to Pascack Hockey’s state tournament push. Playing against 14th-ranked Whippany Park, third-ranked Pascack Valley Hockey had no trouble clinching a spot in the quarterfinal round. Austin Groves scored four goals and was assisted by his brother Zach on three of those. Jack Sheehan scored twice, and Owen Dargan, Tyler Rothstein, and Christian Grubic added the remaining goals.

Wednesday, Feb. 21

Boys Basketball vs. Pompton Lakes (NJSIAA Tournament, First Round) – 62-41 Win

When he was announced as a starting forward to the roar of the Bronco faithful, senior Nick Lukmann had a special gift with him. Nick carried the middle school basketball jersey of Joe McNeice, who had passed away on Tuesday. With Joe’s memory on everyone’s mind, the Broncos had no issue defeating 12th-ranked Pompton Lakes in the first round of the state tournament. The Cardinals had only one quarter with double-digit points, and the Broncos stormed away with the game from the start. Ryan Lee led the team with 19 points. Lukmann and Tyler Wernick followed with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Now comes a tough test in the quarterfinals, as fifth-ranked Pascack Hills plays fourth-ranked Dumont at the home of the Huskies on Monday.

Thursday, Feb. 22

Ice Hockey vs. Morris Knolls (NJSIAA Sectional Tournament, Quarterfinal Round) – 9-4 Loss

A great season came to an end on Thursday as Pascack Hockey lost to Morris Knolls in the state quarterfinals. Zach Groves led the team with two goals in his final game, while junior Jack Sheehan and sophomore Austin Groves added one goal each. It was a game defined by a penalty, as Zach Groves was called for a five-minute penalty in the middle of the second period, during which Morris Knolls added four goals and put the game out of reach. 

Saturday, Feb. 24

Wrestling at the NJSIAA Region 1 Tournament

Three Bronco wrestlers took to the mats at West Milford High School on Friday and Saturday to see if they could qualify for the New Jersey Individual State Championship in Atlantic City. At 106 lbs, Hassan Shawkat had finished second at Districts and was seeded 6th of 11 wrestlers. Shawkat defeated High Point’s Brady Conklin by technical fall in the first round but lost by a 5-1 decision to Seton Hall Prep’s Joseph Viola. Shawkat was not done, as the Wrestleback consolation awaited. Shawkat made it to the semifinals, where a win over Jefferson’s Frank Figel would clinch a spot at the state tournament. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, as Figel pinned Shawkat halfway through the third round. Shawkat would end up finishing fifth, one place out of state tournament qualification. At 150 lbs, Columbia University commit Jake Wacha, after scoring a win in the District 3 tournament, would be seeded third. Wacha made the semifinals but lost to Don Bosco’s Joey Monticello. With a state tournament spot on the line, Wacha would have to go toe-to-toe with Pascack Valley’s George Hamilton. Wacha had no trouble pinning Hamilton in the late first round to clinch a state tournament spot and went on to finish in third place with a 9-2 decision over Kittatinny’s Reece Smith. Sean Herman would have a chance to join Wacha in Atlantic City if he were able to qualify in the 157 lb class. Herman was seeded sixth of 13 wrestlers but lost in the semifinals. Herman was in the same situation as his Bronco teammates, needing a win in the consolation semifinal against Nicholas Laccitiello of Pompton Lakes. It was not meant to be, as Laccitiello pinned Herman with 30 seconds remaining in the first round. Herman, like Shawkat, rallied to finish fifth at 157. So now it is set: senior Jake Wacha will be the only Bronco wrestler representing Pascack Hills at the New Jersey Individual State Tournament in Atlantic City later this month. The Trailblazer will have continuing coverage of Wacha’s performance as well as continuing coverage of boys basketball’s state championship chase.

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About the Contributor
Matt Merlino
Matt Merlino, Sports Editor
Matt Merlino is a Hills sophomore. He joined the Trailblazer his freshman year and live broadcasted sporting events at Hills for the PH Athletics YouTube channel. This year, Merlino is excited to be a part of the editorial staff and report on breaking sports news. Fun fact: Merlino enjoys go-karting as a hobby.

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