JERSEY CITY, NJ - For the past decade it’s been a staple on the sporting scene of this city. The Hamilton Park Summer League, in its tenth campaign, now features a strong group-20 high school teams in total. League Director Pat Devaney had a boys, girls and grade school division in the past. Now, it is just high school boys. “A lot of good teams want to come down here and play,” Devaney said. “The league is competitive and has a good reputation.”
Devaney deserves a great deal of the accolades for the league's success and reputation. Games are 4;30 through 8:30, hourly, Monday through Friday. The outdoor courts at Hamilton Park, a few blocks from nationally renown St. Anthony’s High School are used. In case of rain, games are moved indoors. Forfeits are rare and teams show up (except for the occasional traffic jam) on time. Too many forfeits and late shows could mean an exit from the Hamilton,which has a waiting list of teams wanting in. It all comes from great organization. Starting at the top and continuing through the league staff.
Among the programs this season are St. Anthony’s, Hudson Catholic, Bayonne, Marist, Don Bosco, Immaculata, Newark Tech, Bergen Catholic, Paterson East side- a few of the wide range of strong teams from the area.
For the sixth consecutive season yours truly is at Hamilton as an official and contributing writer. Dual roles allowing some great enjoyment and appreciation of how strong these teams are.
From Thursday June 21. Notes on games officiated by yours truly:
The mercury hit 101 degrees but we were outdoors. Gatorade, Powerade, good old fashioned water etc. were the order following each quarter.
Hudson catholic 37 Bayonne 18
The defending Hudson County champions, Hudson Catholic established control early and controlled this contest against a good Bayonne group. Inside play complimented some good three point shooting for Hudson. Earlier in the week, Hudson defeated defending champion and New Jersey TOC winner St. Anthony’s. It was an early season game and it is Summer but it should be interesting when these two meet again.
Bergen Catholic 39 Immaculata 38
Very close throughout, it came down to the final minute but a very close affair saw Bergen get a fourth quarter run then hold on for victory. Tough night from Immaculate (Somerville, NJ) as they would drop a one point decision to Don Bosco later in the evening. Interestingly, Bosco and Bergen are northern Bergen County rivals.
Post game talk,especially with former McNair coach Mike Reilly who works with Devaney at the league, and others watching centered interestingly on Mike Dunlap moving to Charlotte. A great move for coach Dunlap but tough for St. John’s. Coach Steve Lavin will have to make a significant hire, one similar to Dunlap, who will be very hard to replace. A coach well versed in the X’s and O’s, adept in game preparation and day to day teaching (a really solid asset provided by Dunlap). Not an easy call for Lavin but a significant one that will seriously impact St. John's progress in the near future.