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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Another season of success for Colonia boys’ basketball

Photo Credit: Aurora Mena Barrios and Zaniyah Rivers
Colonia vs. St. Thomas Aquinas on March 16, 2024. Moments after the fresh win against STA the Patriots received their banner.

Colonia Boys’ Basketball secured Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) and, for the third year in a row, won the State Sectional Titles. But what did it take to get there? What was the key to their success? With a season filled with 31 games total 9 of those being losses. Coached by Jose Rodriguez, the Patriots ended the season winning a total of 22 games.

This season, the Patriots had many contributors and role players on the court. Led in scoring by Aiden Derkack, Jaeden Jones, and Zachary Smith, the defense surprisingly brought the Patriots to most of their victories. “Coach emphasized on defense a lot during practice and our defense jump-started our offense,” said senior Jaeden Jones, who also leads the team with steals alongside sophomore Aiden Derkack. “Small goals, led to our bigger goals, and the players collectively concluded on goals they had for the season” Coach Rodriguez.

Wins and Losses

The Colonia boy’s basketball program began the season with a victory on the road against J.P. Stevens (65-35). 31 points and 7 rebounds from sophomore Aiden Derkack. Three days later, the Patriots followed up with a loss to St. Joseph (Met.) by one point in their home gym. The two GMC teams face off later again in the season with an even larger scoring discrepancy (72-63), St. Joseph’s victory. The Patriots continue their season playing conference teams such as Monroe, Old Bridge, St. Thomas Aquinas, Piscataway, East Brunswick, and South Brunswick. Ending the 2023-2024 red division with a record of 11-2.

Post Season Basketball

Headed into the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament seeded at number two Colonia Patriots played against the 15th-seed Perth Amboy. Third-seeded Colonia defeated 15th-seeded Perth Amboy 64-37 behind the strong play of Aiden Derkack (18 points, six rebounds), Jaeden Jones (16 points, four assists), and Zachary Smith (15 points, three steals). Headed onto the next two rounds they proceeded to defeat cross-town rival Woodbridge by 27 and South Plainfield by 33 points. “A lot of time and attention goes into scouting and it’s incredibly important to identify gameplans and how you are going to approach your opponents,” said Coach Jose Rodriguez. With lots of scouting and film sessions, the Patriots found themselves in the championship game against last year’s GMC champion St. Thomas Aquinas.

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With a close game up until the 4th quarter, Colonia’s second-seeded Patriots won their first Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament championship since 2015, beating fourth-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas 55-45. “The key is always the players. They have to perform and buy into what the coaches are teaching and what is asked of them and be superstars in their role” said Coach Rodriguez. But the division title wasn’t enough for the Patriots. A week later they started their state sectional run against Fort Lee winning by 39 points. Junior Zach Smith mentioned, “Good chemistry, building friendships, and staying together are some of the keys to our success”. Colonia boys’ basketball defeated Mendham, South Plainfield, and Milburn to repeat for the third year as the North Jersey, Section Two, Group Three champions.

Looking Ahead in boy’s basketball

The season came to an end for the Patriots on March 3, 2024, after an 18-point loss to Rampo in the Group 3 Semifinal round. But the Patriot’s hard work doesn’t end there. Their commitment extends beyond just the regular season. The Colonia boys’ basketball program does a lot of off-season work in the summer and fall where most of their skill, team morale, and chemistry are built. With a Junior Varsity team that just won the GMC JV Championship game, there is a lot of hope for a successful upcoming basketball season.

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About the Contributor
Oreofeoluwa I. Gidado
Oreofeoluwa Isabel Gidado is a sixteen-year-old Colonia High School student. She participates in a variety of sports and hobbies. The sports she plays include basketball, track and volleyball. Gidado is active is the following clubs: Student Council, FCA, and SPTS. Gidado has played varsity basketball for three years. It is her favorite sport because it combines sports with faith, which is very important to her. FCA is her favorite club. Despite being the eldest of three children, Gidado comes from a huge Nigerian family. Since it's easier for people to pronounce, she goes by "Izzy" instead of her first name.  She enjoys volunteering at recreational games, church, food banks, and sports camps in her free time. Gidado's passions include traveling, exploring, taking pictures, experiencing life with her loved ones and giving back to the community. As she gets older, she hopes to visit London, Brazil, Jamaica and many more to add to her list.

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