While their road ended earlier than they had wanted, the GSB Boys’ Basketball 2021-22 season was one to remember.
The Knights, who posted a 20-7 record, finished their season ranked #3 in the state and as high as #14 nationally. The team battled through one of the toughest schedules in the country, playing in three premier national tournaments and facing off against six different Top 25 teams, including Whitney Young (IL), Isidore Newman (LA), and Greensboro Day School (NC). The Knights narrowly lost to Camden, NJ’s #1 ranked team, 57-55 in their February 3rd showdown.
Head Coach Mergin Sina commented that the regular season adversity prepared the squad for their deep postseason run.
“When we set up this year’s schedule, we did it knowing we’d be playing the very best competition,” said Coach Sina.
“We took our lumps early on, but that level of play got us to where we wanted to go. When you’re in that pool of the top teams in the country, everyone is going to go after you every night.”
A major turning point in the season came under the brightest lights, when the Knights took down perennial powerhouse Westtown School (PA) 70-60 in a televised matchup on ESPN2.
“Beating one of the best teams in the country on national television was great for the kids and great for the school,” said Coach Sina. “It showed the country who we are.”
After their nationally televised win, the Knights went on a terror as they claimed their 10th Skyland Conference Delaware Division Championship and their first Somerset County championship since 2018 in an 84-63 over rival Rutgers Prep. After making a dominant run in the state tournament, the Knights season ended with a 68-62 loss to NJ’s #2 ranked Roselle Catholic in the North Jersey, Non-Public B Sectional Finals.
Senior Denver Anglin, who recorded a game-high 35 points on 11 three-pointers in the title game, finished his career as one of the top players in GSB Boys’ Basketball history. Playing a more traditional point guard role on a talent-laden team, the Georgetown commit posted 16.3 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. Anglin also netted his 1000th career point on January 13 against Hunterdon Central and was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Games.
“We had a young team this year, and as a four-year guy, Denver led us knowing the road we had to get to,” said Sina. “He did a great job distributing the offense with a lot of talent around him, and he shot the ball phenomenally all year. The role he played will help him make a jump to the next level at Georgetown.”
The Knights’ potential for next season remains incredibly high due to the growth of three standout players: Mackenzie Mgbako '23, Geancarlo Peguero '23, and Naasir Cunningham '24.
Mgbako, who Sina believes is on his way to McDonald’s All-American status, took a big step after an injury-shortened sophomore season. The dominant forward recorded a season double-double with 19.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Junior transfer Peguero played his first season of New Jersey basketball and gained valuable experience as the team’s ‘glue guy’ while posting 12.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Cunningham, who Sina called an unbelievable athlete with still untapped potential, demonstrated why he is nationally ranked the #1 player in the Class of 2024 with 13.8 points per game and highlight reel plays all year. The sophomore stepped up big in Gill’s Westtown matchup, netting 23 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
Other key players returning next year are juniors Nick Losada and Luke Ruggiero, sophomores Chaz Mainor and Samir Thomas, and freshman Peter Mauro. Sina believes each player contributed valuable minutes this year and are poised to compete for expanded roles next season.
“We grew a lot this year,” said Sina. “This is a great group of kids who are very coachable and who want to get better every day. We can do something special at Gill and be a threat to win a title next year.”