JERSEY CITY, NJ - Entering St. Peter’s Prep, you always get a feeling of deep rooted history and tradition. Prep is not playing, but the St. Dominic girls are hosting Hoboken. St. Dom’s, a few blocks from Saint Peter’s University on Kennedy Boulevard, do not have a gym and have found a nice home here. Walking into the gym, St. Dom’s is warming up. Two things hit home: They have a big roster and virtually no height.
Kaitlyn Gelati. I officiated some of her Rutherford High School games as a player, and her father, Greg, is a good friend and fellow official. She is always a pleasure to work with. A varsity assistant tells me the JV is much improved from last season. They struggled early, but improved as the campaign wore on. This year, they came back and reported to practice far ahead of where they were a year ago.
Halftime: St. Dom’s leads 15-9. The first time down, Hoboken’s point guard throws a wing pass - to me. Can’t help her. The ball goes out of bounds, St. Dom’s ball. I wonder if this will be ‘that’ type of game. Actually, we had a good tempo and flow. Both teams are zoning with no full court pressure. Both teams are hoisting threes as well. A No. 12 with red hair in a pony tail for St. Dom’s cans a three, then another, finally one more. As she heads down the court, she waves to her bench, smiling. Three treys in a quarter. Hoboken cuts it to a two-possession game with what else? Perimeter shots.
Final: Hoboken 37, St. Dominic 21. We mentioned St. Dom’s was small. Hoboken had height and used it the final half. They had a few bigs (5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11) that could put it on the floor. That combination, plus a few mid-major shots falling, was enough to open the game up. During one timeout, my partner wondered what happened to St. Dom’s No. 12. She said she was probably a varsity player as well. In New Jersey, you cannot play more than five quarters combined in varsity and JV on a given date. Sure enough, she returned in the fourth quarter, but on her reappearing, she was more closely guarded and sitting two quarters hurt her offensive rhythm. The second half tally saw a 28-6 advantage by Hoboken. St. Dom’s just had a 16 minutes you do not want to remember.
Afterward, the Hoboken coach told me she implored her team to go inside in the first half. Teenagers are often prone to not listening, Hoboken was content to get in an outside shooting contest with St. Dom’s. In the second half, they got it. Using a passer in the high post, Hoboken attacked the basket. They also outrebounded the smaller Blue Devils as well to claim the victory.
On the way out getting ready for the one-mile drive up Montgomery Avenue to cover Saint Peter’s-Siena, a few Hoboken players walking out said, ‘thank you for reffing our game.” I said they were quite welcome and then had to ask: “Ladies, I heard Carlo’s (Cake Boss in Hoboken ) Bakery is overrated. Is it true?” “Yes,” the three chimed in. One did say the cannolis were outstanding, but overall it was over priced and overrated. As noted, I had to find out.