Fort Lee Boys Fall to Undefeated Ramapo Basketball Team
Fort Lee is adjusting to playing without seniors, but lose 60-41 at home.
In their first home game of the season, the Fort Lee Bridgemen were defeated by the Ramapo Raiders 60-41 on Thursday night.
Fort Lee sophomore guard Nick Gentile lead all players with 18 points, but it wasn't enough to stop Ramapo from improving to 3-0 on the season.
The Bridgemen were again without their lone senior captain George Padin, who suffered a concussion in the season opener against Bergenfield last week.
"We really miss him," said Gentile. "He is the heart of our team."
The game began with Fort Lee holding an early one point advantage before Ramapo regained and then increased the lead. Senior forward T.J. Hunt single handedly outscored the Bridgemen in the first quarter 8-7, but that didn't stop Fort Lee from mounting a comeback.
In the next quarter, the Bridgemen rallied for eight consecutive points, and brought the Ramapo lead down to just two points. But the Raiders would have an answer for the Bridgemen as Ramapo then went on to score eight of the final ten points entering halftime.
"We got it down to two, but we made a couple mistakes," said Fort Lee head coach John Ziemba. "We didn't do that the other night, so now we did it tonight and are getting a little better."
At one point, the Bridgemen were playing with two freshmen and three sophomores on the floor against a Raiders team stacked with seniors.
Hunt finished with 14 points while fellow senior forward Matt Bunting chimed in with 15, and another senior guard in Tyler Ward led all Ramapo players with 17.
The Bridgemen hopes to stick with the Raiders throughout the game but ended up falling behind during another Ramapo surge in the second half.
"Right now we're shocked," said Gentile. "We thought we had this team. We knew what we had to do for offense and defense, just couldn't execute."
Even though the Fort Lee Bridgemen are now 0-3, Ziemba is seeing progress with a team that continues to improve as the season moves along.
"This is a rough part of our schedule," Ziemba said. "We just have to get through it and get to January. If we continue to play hard like this and working hard, we will get some wins."
The team will now host the annual Jack Reilly Tournament beginning on Sunday. A lot of powerhouse teams will be playing at the Fort Lee High School Gym throughout the week including Saint Mary's, Snyder, Orange and Northern Valley Old Tappan.
"It is going to be a good learning experience for us," said the hopeful head coach. "It's a big time tournament. Right now, the wins and losses aren't the issue for me, it's about getting better."
Beginning on Sunday, the court will see a full slate of contests with a game scheduled to begin every hour and forty-five minutes. The Jack Reilly Boy's Basketball Tournament will continue on Tuesday before concluding on Thursday, Dec. 30.