The Blue Bishops know basketball. Over the years, the teams have shown that they know what it takes to win. That winning tradition continued this year with both the eighth-grade girls and boys basketball teams bringing home championships. On Feb. 21, both Asbury Park Middle School teams won the Bayshore League Championship, defeating Union Beach. The Lady Bishops defeated Union Beach 33-32, thanks to 14 points by Nalah Tinsley, and eight by Amani Turner. Tierra Gamble scored six key, second-half points. Deyonna Carter was instrumental on the defensive end, shutting down Union Beach’s star player, according to Head Coach Robert Cuccurullo.
Despite the last-minute comeback by Union Beach, the Lady Bishops were able to hold on to the one-point victory. The win was particularly sweet because a few weeks earlier, Union Beach had defeated Asbury Park 34-31, giving them the number one seed and home-court advantage in the tournament.
The Lady Bishops finished the season with a league record of 6-2, and 10-5 overall. Tinsley was the named by Cuccurullo as the team’s Most Valuable Player, showing her talents not only on the court, but also in the classroom. Carter was named Defensive Player of the Year, while Gamble was named Most Improved Player. Yvonne Newsome earned the Sportsmanship Award. Next year’s returning players include: Tinsley, Carter, Amani Turner and Amyah Bryan.
The boys team was also crowned champions as they handily defeated Union Beach 54-36, led by Tywan Thomas and Donte Abrams, who each poured in 14 points. Nazreon Reid had 11 point, three of which were NCAA-caliber dunks. Tahjmir Berardesco and Javin Higgs played outstanding defense to help seal the win -- not only in this game, but throughout the season -- according to Head Coach Barry Baity.
The Blue Bishops finished the regular season with a record of 19-1. The boys also won the Asbury Park Middle School Invitational Championship by defeating Hubbard of Plainfield 49-37. The boys will continue their off-season play during the Garden State Basketball Tournament at Rebounds in Neptune, where they will take on Irvington Middle School on Feb. 27 at 6:15 p.m.
This year’s wins mark the second consecutive year that both Asbury Park Middle School Eight-Grade Basketball teams have won championships. Last year, the girls and boys were crowned champions of the Shore Intermediate Scholastic Basketball League (SISBL).
Members of the girls basketball team are: Mollie Bland, Yvonne Newsome, LaTarra Irizarry, Tierra Gamble, Amani Turner, Nalah Tinsley, Deyonna Carter and Amyah Bryan. Members of the boys basketball team are: Javon Higgs, Nazreon Reid, Xavier Banks, Kymar Ponds, Tahjmir Berardesco, Tywan Thomas, Javione Pearson, Jaking Agostini, Kyrie Moore, Donte Abrams, Miguel Diaz and Michael Morris.
Congratulations to the student-athletes and coaches for their hard work and for positively representing the Asbury Park Middle School, the district and community.