Bogota’s gym court is named after legendary coach Jay Mahoney, who has led the boys’ hoops team for the past 41 seasons. (Photo: GREG MATTURA/NORTHJERSEY.COM)
As we wait for high school sports to return, the NorthJersey.com local sports reporters are looking back on the greatest games the region has ever seen. We’re inviting coaches and former athletes to share their best memories too.
Jay Mahoney has been Bogota’s legendary boys’ basketball coach for 41 seasons, and the retired business teacher also led the program’s boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams from 1986 to 2017.
Mahoney’s choice for his most memorable game was his combined 1,000th career victory, an 89-84 basketball win at Garfield on Feb. 19 of 2019 that lasted four grueling overtimes.
He shares his story here:
Mahoney cherishes his 1,000th career win because it recognizes his commitment to cross-country, where he won 334 dual meets and state girls’ titles in 1994 and 1996, as well as basketball, where he won a state title in 1990 and Bergen County Jamboree crowns in 1990 and 1993.
“No one knew I was going for 1,000. I never said a word. To be honest, there were people who didn’t know I coached cross-country. It always annoyed the hell out of me that people had no idea. And not only did we win, we won like crazy.
“We would be outside the school because we don’t have a track, and we would be warming up, and referees would be walking in to do girls volleyball who also were basketball referees and they would say to me, ‘What the heck are you doing here?’ And I would say, ‘I coach cross-country.’ We actually won bigger in cross-country than we did in basketball.”
Mahoney has 687 career basketball victories, No. 2 all-time in Bergen boys’ history, and cannot remember another game that lasted four overtimes.
“After the game ended, I couldn’t stand up, I was so tired. It was like, ‘Could this please end.’ It was the most bizarre game I’ve ever been involved in.”
Bogota rallied from a 41-35 deficit as senior Kenjiee Polanco scored a game-high 30, including a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to send it to OT tied at 54.