HILLSDALE — There are no secrets between Old Tappan and Secaucus when it comes to girls basketball.
Secaucus coach John Sterling and his OT counterpart Brian Dunn are close friends, with Sterling serving as Dunn’s offensive coordinator for the Golden Knights’ football team in the fall. The girls play against each other in a summer league, and these teams scrimmaged each other twice this preseason.
So, as you can imagine, Tuesday’s date in the Joe Poli Holiday tournament title game at Pascack Valley High School wasn’t just another night at the office for these programs.
“I love coming to the Poli because of the competition here,” Sterling said after the Patriots, No. 6 in The Record girls basketball preseason Top 25 rankings, came away with a 51-48 victory over the ninth-ranked Golden Knights. “But I don’t like playing against my friends. I don’t enjoy that.”
Still, the win is pretty significant for a team that harbors serious Hudson County and state title dreams. The Patriots became the first Group 1 team to win this prestigious tournament, beating three teams ranked in The Record Top 25 to improve to 6-0.