By Walter O’Neill
History was made on Tuesday night as the Jersey Shore Basketball League started its 55th season of summer hoops. Not only is the JSBL the longest running summer basketball program on the shore, it also featured for the first time a female head coach.
Ron Pastore, who has coached the defending JSBL champions Sterns Trailer for over a decade, decided to step away from coaching and take over as general manager of the team. He selected his longtime friend, Joe Whalen, as the new head coach. However, Whalen was stuck in London on Monday, as he was returning from a safari in South Africa, as a result of all the flight cancelations from the bad weather.
Christine Hatfield received the call and asked to fill in for Whalen. For years, she was the assistant head coach at St. Rose High School when Whalen was head coach. In doing so, she became the first female to coach a team in the Jersey Shore Basketball League. And her debut looked as if it was going to be a hard one as only five players for Sterns Trailer were in uniform, and they were all considered guards, which is not
normally the tallest players on the floor.
Sterns Trailer opponents were the WCT Warriors, which had 11 players, and most of them were taller than the five players for Sterns Trailer. The strength of the defending champs on Tuesday night was speed and great teamwork. They jumped out to a 63-49 first half lead.
The second half score was a bit closer, with Sterns Trailer adding 59 to their total for 122 points and WCT Warriors scoring 55 for a total of 104 points. Larry Smith, called the best basketball player to have played at Brookdale Community College, had 38 points for Sterns Trailer in the win. He also had 11 rebounds, four assists and blocked one shot. “Larry can run full speed for three consecutive games,” said Pastore. “He’s just an amazing athlete.”
Jordan Derkack, a Colonia High School graduate entering his sophomore year at Merrimack College, finished with 34 points, six rebounds and had four assists. Jakari Spence, who graduated from Toms River North High School and Monmouth University, had 21 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Jack Scott, 19, who graduated the Hun School and plays at Princeton, finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one block and had four steals. Finally, one of the most unselfish players on the floor for Sterns Trailer is Gene Campbel, who is a graduate of NJCU and plays professional ball overseas. He had 14 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Mason Jones, who graduated Manchester High School and Albertus Magnus College, was high man for the WCT Warriors with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Ryan Pettit, Rutgers Prep and Lafeyette player, had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists. Red Bank Regional High School and UT Chattanooga alumni Keyron Sheard scored 16 points, six rebounds and had five assists for the WCT Warriors.