Montclair High School Sports Week in Review: Basketball, Wrestling, Swimming, Ice Hockey

BY  |  Monday, Dec 12, 2016 3:45pm

The winter sports season is underway at Montclair High School, and the schedule kicks into high gear this Friday, Dec. 16, when the basketball and wrestling seasons officially begin throughout the state of New Jersey.

Each week, we’ll take an overview look at the various Mountie winter sports teams, running down the top performances of the past week and looking ahead to the top matchups of the week ahead.

BOYS BASKETBALL (0-0 overall, 0-0 SEC-Liberty)
Last week’s games: None
This week’s games: Friday, 12/16: at Newark Tech, 7 p.m.
We’ll take a closer look at the Mounties later in the week with a full team preview.

New head coach Gary Wallace will lead his squad out for their inaugural game in Newark this Friday, the first of 12 conference games in a very competitive Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division. Fans’ first chance to see them on their home court will come next Tuesday night, Dec. 20.

The team also has its final preseason scrimmage Tuesday at Hackensack (4 p.m.).

GIRLS BASKETBALL (0-0 overall, 0-0 SEC-Liberty)
Last week’s games: None.
This week’s games: Friday, 12/16: home vs. Bloomfield, 7 p.m.

More on these Mounties later in the week, as well. Friday night’s home opener kicks off a busy first two weeks of the season for second-year head coach Paul Palek, who returns the core of a squad that finished last season 15-12 overall, including a run to the North 1, Group 4 state sectional semifinals: back-to-back road games on Dec. 20 and 22 (Nutley and Newark Academy) will be followed by three games against top-rated opponents in four days at the Mount St. Dominic Invitational Dec. 26-29.

Montclair’s final preseason scrimmage is slated for Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. against Northern Highlands at the MHS Main Gym on Midland Avenue.

Ben Wakefield

Forward Ben Wakefield potted two goals in a 3-1 victory.

ICE HOCKEY (2-1-2 overall, 1-1-2 NJIHL-McInnis)
Last week’s games: MHS 2, Verona 0 (12/7); MHS 3, Nutley 1 (12/10)
This week’s games: Tuesday, 12/13: Passaic Valley at Montclair, 8:45 p.m.
Make sure to check out our overview of the Mountie hockey team.

It was a strong week for Montclair, as the Mounties picked up a pair of scrappy wins over Essex County opponents.

Wednesday’s win saw MHS show off its goal-tending depth, as freshman Gus Bylin was a last-minute replacement for senior captain Ondrej Smalec, and all Bylin did was save all 21 shots he faced from Verona to earn the shutout. The game was scoreless into the third quarter, but goals from Pat Ledgett and Jake Skorzewski within 25 seconds of each other gave Montclair all the offense it would need.

Saturday against Nutley, Montclair’s standout player was another promising freshman, as forward Ben Wakefield potted two goals in a 3-1 victory. Cary Collucci had the go-ahead goal to snap a 1-1 tie with 12:05 to play, and Wakefield scored a power-play goal off a pretty feed from Ledgett two minutes later. Smalec saved 29 of 30 shots to keep his season save percentage at an absurd 0.981.

This week’s schedule is a little light, with only a home tilt against Passaic Valley set for Tuesday night. The Mounties will wrap up the first half of their McInnis Division schedule Dec. 20 on the road against league favorite Summit.

WRESTLING (0-0 overall, 0-0 SEC-Liberty)
Last week’s matches: None.
This week’s matches: Saturday, 12/17: at Clifton Tournament, 9 a.m.

BOYS SWIMMING (3-1 overall, 2-1 SEC)
Last week’s matches: Millburn 95, MHS 79 (12/5); MHS 115, Caldwell 51 (12/9)
This week’s matches: None; next match Jan. 4 at West Essex.

GIRLS SWIMMING (1-2 overall, 1-2 SEC)
Last week’s matches: Millburn 92, MHS 78 (12/5); Caldwell 100, MHS 70 (12/9)
This week’s matches: None; next match Jan. 4 at West Essex.

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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