New Jersey City University men & women basketball teams win conference championships
The New Jersey City University men’s and women’s basketball programs are making school history this season.
It is the first time in the school’s history that both teams won New Jersey Athletic Conference championships in the same year. For the men’s team, it was their 13th title.
“One of the things we preached was togetherness all year and it showed,” says men’s coach Marc Brown. “I think we were just happy with the result, and we try to use this as a springboard for momentum into next year.”
The Gothic Knights did it in a dramatic fashion – a 21-point comeback leading to a buzzer-beater to secure a two-point win over Stockton.
“Preseasons we all said the same thing, we want to win. Everybody that came here – all the recruits – that’s the reason they came here,” says senior Denzel Banks. “We wanted to win so we set a goal, we stayed focused, and we accomplished it.”
For the women’s team, it was a four-point win over top-seeded Montclair State to capture the team’s first NJAC title in its 51-year history.
“I want to say it was an underdog season. We’ve always been the underdogs since program history,” says senior Dayjah Anderson.
What is even more incredible for the women’s program is its growth. Three years ago, they went 0-21 and hadn’t made the playoffs in 30 years. Now, under head coach Pat Devaney Sr., the team are conference champs.
“They never let each other give up. They stayed consistent with each other. They motivated each other, they inspired each other,” says Devaney. “They just lifted each other up and that was the big reason we got this championship this year.”
As both teams continue to celebrate their accomplishments, the players say that it is motivation for the future.
“Win more championships and keep breaking records. That’s the plan and I feel like we will accomplish it,” says freshman Damaris Rodriguez.
The basketball program earned a lot of postseason awards as well. Both head coaches earned NJAC Coach of the Year of honors.