St. Mary continues to soldier on following a season-ending injury to its top player.
The Gaels (5-0) posted non-league victories over Tenafly, Manchester and Indian Hills after losing senior guard Dino Bradaric to a torn ACL in an NJIC Meadowlands Division win over Hasbrouck Heights on Dec. 22.
“Everybody had to pick up their play, obviously, when you’re missing a guy who scored 23 points in our first game,” coach Brian Gaccione said Monday.
St. Mary, ranked No. 14 in The Record Top 25, faces the first serious challenge to its Meadowlands crown when it hosts No. 23 Wood-Ridge (4-0) today at 7 p.m. in its newly renovated gym.
Gaels junior guard Tim Klarmann, a second-year starter, has “elevated his game” since Bradaric’s injury, Gaccione said. Klarmann and junior forward Naseer Walker, a transfer from Whippany, have picked up the scoring slack. Over the past three games, Klarmann has averaged 20.0 and Walker 15.3 points.
Replacing Bradaric in the starting lineup is 6-foot-5 freshman Mark Dadika, who the coach said, “gives us some size and some length.” Junior guard Amir Hicks, a transfer from St. Benedict’s, has taken on a greater role as a ball handler.
The victories over No. 22 Tenafly, No. 25 Manchester, and Indian Hills each were by double digits, with the Gaels capturing their holiday tournament with a defensive-minded 48-31 victory over Indian Hills.