GMC Hoops Awards–Hoopshooter of the Year

Old Bridge’s Romano Learned Lessons Well from Former Teammate Drews

Old Bridge’s Connor Romano eyes the rim prior to putting up a free throw attempt against Ocean Township in the opening round of the 2015 Matawan Huskies Classic in December 2015. Romano, who led the GMC with 146 made free throws this season, has been recognized by GMC Hoops as the Hoopshooter of the Year.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–From the time Old Bridge opened in the fall of 1994 until the middle of the 2012-13 season, nearly 20 seasons, there was no player that scored 1,000 points. However, under the direction of current head coach, Jim Macomber, that has changed with three in the past four years. Starting with Sultan Aminu (now playing at East Stroudsburg University), Tyler Drews (now playing at Caldwell University), and this year with Connor Romano.

Romano reached that special plateau in his final game against Freehold Township in the 2016 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 Quarterfinals on March 3rd. Finishing with 1,004 points for his career, Romano was guided along the way by Drews when the two played together during the 2013-14 season when Drews was a senior and Romano was a sophomore. The qualities in both their games turned out to be quite similar when the dust settled this year.

Drews, who finished his career with 1,468 points, had the ability to not only hit the perimeter shot, but also attack the basket, get to the line, and share the ball. Romano, who had come up to the varsity after a very successful run with teammates Stephen Strom, C.J. Romano, and Zach Attianese on a freshmen squad that won the Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tourney in 2013, took note of Drews’ game, and made it his own. In a game against St. Joseph’s on January 28th at OBHS, it became abundantly clear that the pupil had learned well from the teacher.

Romano played valiantly by scoring 31 points in a 70-63 defeat to the Falcons, and he did it in a variety of ways. He not only netted six threes in the contest, but also took defenders to the basket, and did it in ways that had those defenders looking for their undergarments. Those were the types of things that Drews had done his senior year when he took the likes of Romano, Strom, Santoro, and Attianese under his wing. The 2013-14 Knights were below .500, and were eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs, but Drews left a mark with the four sophomores.

His ability to not just hit the three, and attack the basket, but also get to the line, and make those charity shots, and even more importantly, share the basketball could be seen in Romano, Strom, and Santoro’s games. Romano’s ability to get to the line and make those free throws was one key element to his success this season. In addition to his 126 field goals and 47 three pointers, the Old Bridge senior netted 146 from the charity stripe this season to finish the year with 535 points, or 19.8 points per game. Eric Dadika was a close second with 142 made free throws, but the next closest had over 20 fewer made foul shots.

As a result, GMC Hoops recognizes Romano has the Hoopshooter of the Year for being the best foul shooter. This award is in honor of a former classmate of mine from back in the day that won the local Elks Hoopshoot Competition, and eventually competed in the national competition in Indianapolis when I was in the sixth grade in 1982. For his career, Romano got his 1,004 points on 202 field goals, 114 three pointers, and 261 free throws. Last year, Romano made 103 from the charity stripe to total 249 from the line over the past two seasons.

GMC Hoops All Hoopshooter Team

First Team

  • Connor Romano–Old Bridge*
  • Eric Dadika–Spotswood
  • Tyus Battle–St. Joseph’s
  • Derrick Whitaker–South River
  • Eric Savage–South Brunswick
  • Lamont Williams–South Plainfield
  • Ryan O’Leary–Sayreville

Second Team

  • Jahsim Floyd–Sayreville
  • Chase Barneys–Colonia
  • Garrett Racz–Wardlaw
  • Matt Ross–East Brunswick
  • Stephen Strom–Old Bridge
  • Keshaun Henry– Woodbridge
  • Marlon Hart–Spotswood

Third Team

  • Robert Saydee–Timothy Christian
  • Will Clemmons–Timothy Christian
  • Ali Austin–Piscataway Tech
  • Kyrie Byers–Perth Amboy Tech
  • German Pimentel–Piscataway Tech
  • Bree Tyree–St. Joseph’s
  • Danny Flaherty–Metuchen

*–GMC Hoops Hoopshooter of the Year