The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Boys Basketball Team(21-7) faced off against the Teaneck Highwaymen (23-6) in the North 1, Group 3 Tournament Semifinals at Teaneck High School in Teaneck, New Jersey.
River Dell was coming off a 66-46 win over Demarest in the Quarterfinals at River Dell High School. Four Golden Hawks players, led by Sean Golden, reached double figures, tallying 17 points.
Fans from both schools packed the bleachers to maximum capacity, with the River Dell student section decked out in white and several students sporting Golden Hawks basketball home jerseys.
“It was great, knowing all these guys wanted to have a good time and come out to the game, Hamilton Roth explained. I had the idea of wearing the jerseys. The game before I gave my friend an away jersey. It was funny to see the guys wearing the home jerseys for an away game and old freshman shorts.”
“After we warmed up, I’m walking back to the bench, and I see how many people are in the stands and seeing how many people are supporting you is very cool. It was fun to play in that atmosphere.”
Matt Kelleher on the student section and away bleachers filled, “You looked up in the stands and there was someone you knew, and the support was ridiculous. It was fun to play in a game with that many people there and felt like a home game and the whole community showing up.”
The Golden Hawks wasted no time, jumping out to an early lead at 5-0, highlighted by Hamilton Roth burying a trifecta. However, Teaneck responded with a 10-0 run. Roth knocked down another jump shot to stem the Highwaymen spurt.
River Dell could not contain Teaneck’s phenom 6’8 center Tyler Tejada who dropped in nine points as the Highwaymen led 17-10 at the end of the period.
In the second quarter, the Highwaymen caught fire again with a 7-0 run that widened their advantage to 24-12 at the six-minute mark. The Golden Hawk’s offense struggled to generate more offense inside and from the perimeter.
Tyler Tejada continued to dominate, especially in the paint and low post, and getting out on the fast break for a pair of thunderous dunks. Mickell Taylor drained two triples as Teaneck led 39-21 at halftime.
“It was tough for all of us, especially with Tejada at 6’8, we would get our shots blocked, and that’s why we settled for shots more than going to the hoop,” Hamilton Roth described. Once they hit their shots, it didn’t feel great when they went on the run.”