‘It’s a different type of energy out there’: red hot Raiders win their third consecutive game

Matthew Levine, Sports Editor

“And ONEEEE!” 


Accompanied by clapping and shouting,  the phrase “and one” crescendoed throughout the gym as junior Damon Schumann converted his layup attempt and the referee signaled the bucket and the foul. 


“When I saw [an opening], because our coach drew up a play where he said if you have a big opening where you can drive it, go ahead and take advantage and do what you have to do, either score it or pass it and I saw an opportunity to get a layup so I took it,” Schumann said. 


This was the moment that represented the game being all but over; the moment that secured the boys basketball team their third consecutive win defeating the Roselle Rams 61-50 on Friday, Feb. 12 in what was an exceptional week for the Raiders. 


After starting their season off with two consecutive losses by a combined 57 points, the Raiders (4-3) have transformed into a different basketball team over the past week and a half. Last week’s nor’easter bought the boys basketball team a break when they needed it the most. Since returning to play, the Raiders have won three out of their last four games. Arguably, they should’ve won on the road against Summit (they lost in final seconds 46-43) last Saturday, but the Raiders will have the opportunity for revenge next Friday, Feb. 19. 


“Going into this week I knew we had four games, so I said to Coach Anderson, I was like, because going into this week we were 1-3, we’re going 4-0,” junior Jaden Carter said. “I don’t care who we play or what happens, we’re going 4-0.  If we win tomorrow then I’m staying on my word. So I made a promise to him and I plan to keep my end of the bargain.” 


This is the first time head coach Steve Siracusa and the Raiders have had a winning record through seven games since the 2017-2018 season. They are a team that’s getting hot at the right time during a shortened 15 game season with eight, winnable games remaining. The Raiders made a statement this week; a brash and powerful one to all of Union County informing opponents they are no longer a-bottom-of-the-conference opponent.


“We’re not to be taken lightly,” Carter said. “I think last season going 5-20, people took us as a joke. Going into the offseason I knew that had to change whether I was impacting the team or someone else was. I knew it had to change regardless of the situation. And I think we’re doing a great job with that right now.” 


Basketball becomes easy with tremendous defense and converting enough opportunities on the other end of the floor. Siracusa and the Raiders are finding basketball really easy right now as they take on Rahway at home tomorrow at 4 p.m. 


“It’s just a lot more fun playing with everyone, seeing everybody score, everybody getting happy, and everybody playing good defense,” Schumann said. “It’s just a different type of energy out there.”