JERSEY CITY, NJ - The eve of July 4th. Mercury is flirting with triple digits.
We find out the games have been moved from centrally air conditioned Dickinson to no air conditioning nor windows Ferris High School.
Thank God for the running clock and a generous supply of Powerade.
Hudson Catholic 38 St. Anthony's 25
Working the game, notice the Hudson Catholic head coach looks very familiar.
Finally, the name and face come together and a light bulb has lit.
Running past the Hudson bench, "Christy," I said.
"Yes," was her reply.
Getting up the floor to cover transition did not allow another word.
Next time by the bench I add, "Christy Altamirano, you starred at FDU and Bayonne High School before that."
She answered with a resounding, "Oh my God, yes."
Told her in a few words I covered a number of her Farleigh Dickinson University games and would talk to her later.
Hudson played well and fundamentally sound in their execution. St. Anthony's, like the earlier game I had with them, appeared a work in progress.
For over four decades Hudson was an all boys school. Dwindling enrollments necessitated going the co-ed route a few years ago. The Hudson girls program is heading into its fourth season. Alitmirano is headed into her third year as head coach.
The early going for the program has been tough but you can see talent is gradually improving. More importantly, they are learning not just a system of offense and defense but how to play. Altimirano was a solid performer from 2004-2009 at FDU. In the Summer she is assisted by Ashley Devaney (yes, Hamilton Park's Pat Devaney's daughter), a former Bayonne teammate of Altimirano.
Game plans, offenses and defenses aside, Altimirano said one of the challenges of coaching is ‘dealing with attitudes". Told her if she had some before she dealt with them. The Hudson girls worked hard, were supportive of each other and showed great sportsmanship. Admirable traits of any successful program, new or established.
Snyder 34 Dickinson 26
Two teams that are using the summer to get more game experience for younger players and progress by getting better each night out. Basic difference in this one was size. Snyder had some height and utilized their second chances. Dickinson had a hustling guard who loved shooting threes. She made a few but the worst thing for her was hitting that first attempt. After that she fired virtually at will beyond the arc.
Post game stay around a little to watch two strong programs, Bayonne and North Bergen. Can't stay more than ten minutes as I want to stop at Hamilton Park before heading to Bayonne for two men's league games. You take the good (girls) and the not so good (men's league).
Christy and Ashley are back watching their Bayonne High School alma mater. We chat a few minutes before heading out. Early on. Bayonne-North Bergen was an evenly matched game. Wish I could have stayed.