Kittatinny boys basketball has incredible season

| 28 Feb 2019 | 12:02

    By Laurie Gordon
    This year, Kittatinny Regional High School achieved some amazing things under the tutelage of a new head basketball coach. The team hasn't had a winning season since 2006, but all that has changed largely because of Coach Patrick McCarney. The season ended on Monday night with a record of 16-7, and thanks to the team's hard work, there will now be a Boys Basketball banner hanging in the gym.
    Coach McCarney played basketball under Coach Joe DiGennaro at Jefferson High School.
    “After college, Joe gave me the opportunity to volunteer on his staff my first year,” Coach McCarney said. “And then a position opened to become the JV coach the following year.”
    Though he enjoyed his time coaching at Jefferson, when the opportunity to become the head coach at Kittatinny arose, Coach McCarney followed his dream.
    “Transitioning from Jefferson to Kittatinny was pretty easy for me,” he said. “I felt like it was a great opportunity to begin my head coaching career. I knew that there were three starters returning in Brian Plath, Hunter Rossi, and Andrew Van Hook, so I knew there was a nice core to work with.”
    What did Coach McCarney and the team do differently this year?
    From the first day of practice, they put in a lot of work to get in the basics of the offense and defense that Coach McCarney, and then expanded on it as the season progressed.
    “But at the end of the day, it comes down to the players changing their mentality and believing that they could achieve what we have so far this year,” he said.
    The team finished its regular season with a record of 16-6, and won its division for the first time in school history, going 10-0 within the division. They also won the Belvidere Christmas Tournament this year.
    “We qualified for the state tournament for the first time since the 2013-2014 season,” Coach McCarney said. “Our leading scorer this year is Brian Plath, who currently has 308 points and 49 3-pointers, followed by Hunter Rossi with 256 points and 47 3-pointers.”
    The coach's favorite part? How well the team works together.
    "They play very unselfish basketball," he said.
    All season long, he has preached that everyone needs to do his job and control what he can control.
    “My biggest message to them was that they need to believe that they can compete with anyone,” Coach McCarney said. “Nobody outside of our team really expected us to have the season we are having.”
    The boys' season ended on Monday night at the NJSIAA Tournament.
    “We lost to Jefferson 59-51, ending our season with a final record of 16-7," he said. "Jefferson is a very good team, they are very well coached, and we hung with them for 32 minutes. Overall, this season was more than I ever could've asked for in my first year.”