Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ramapo Stands Tall

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ramapo Stands Tall

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD - Ramapo knocked Don Bosco - and Bergen County boys basketball - on its side.

The Green Raiders defeated the previously unbeaten Ironmen, 66- 62, in Sunday's nightcap of the Public Vs. Private Showcase at Dwight Morrow, and now have the inside track to the No. 1 spot at next week's seeding meeting for the Bergen Jamboree.

"It means a lot for our program," Ramapo coach Joey Sandberg said, "and we've come a long way."

Ramapo senior forward Matt Latka scored a game-high 27 points and freshman reserve KC Hunt made both ends of a one-and-one with 10.5 seconds left for the final four-point margin. The Green Raiders made all eight of their fourth-quarter foul shots.

Ramapo, ranked No. 5 in The Record Top 25, features wins over No. 2 Don Bosco (11-1) and No. 6 St. Joseph. The lone loss for Ramapo (11-1) was in December to St. Joseph of Metuchen, and the team has built a 10-game winning streak via tenacious defense.

Three Green Raiders were members of the football team's sectional title team -- Ryan Curtiss, Joe O'Hagan and Keith Woetzel -- and they have brought an unrelenting commitment to defense and teamwork that has lifted the team to another level.

"When you add three players that won a state football championship, your whole mentality changes," Sandberg said. "And Matt Latka is playing great basketball. And they're really focused on the task at hand, and they want to win."

Don Bosco senior guard Brandon Anderson scored 26 points, including a hurried, contested three-pointer from the right wing to cut the deficit to 64-62. The Ironmen forced a turnover, but then Ramapo forced one and Hunt made the two foul shots.

"I thought they did a real good job of taking us out of what we were looking to do offensively," said Don Bosco coach Kevin Diverio, whose team likely will receive the Jamboree's No. 2 seed. "They're a very good defensive team that is very physical, very quick, and fundamentally sound on the defensive end, and I thought they controlled the tempo of the game with their defense. …

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