PASCACK VALLEY – They’ll be remembered as one of the top teams in Pascack Valley girls basketball history – and that’s saying something. 

The Indians defeated Ocean City at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, 48-45, to be crowned Group 3 champions, the sixth team in Pascack Valley and Coach Jeff Jasper’s history to win the prestigious title. 

“It is a huge achievement for the girls basketball program and the overall PV athletic program,” said Athletic Director Tom Gattoni. 

The Pascack Valley girls basketball team was crowned Group 3 champions, winning a state-wide tournament of all schools of similar sizes, and joining the illustrious basketball program’s pantheon of title-winning teams.
See full photo gallery below.
Pascack Valley’s Brianna Smith led the team with 16 points, and the team fought off a last second three-point attempt by Ocean City, which clanked off the rim, before claiming the victory and celebrating with some fans on the court. The win pushed Pascack Valley to 30 wins and one loss on the season and propelled the girls into the state Tournament of Champions, comprised of other group champion teams from around the state. 

“Speaking to the kids in the locker room after the game, the message was simple and straight forward: ‘As happy as we are, this joy will remain for a lifetime,’” Coach Jasper told Pascack Press. “‘Just look around you and know that together we did this. See the faces, feel the energy, these will be with us long after [the] score or the particulars of this game become hazy. The faces and these smiles will never fade.’’

For the coach who eclipsed 900 career wins in 2013 and has coached generations of hard working Pascack Valley girls basketball players, the feeling never gets old, but each team and season is unique. 

“For me each day, each team, each year is a totally new and exciting experience,” said Jasper. “I am so fortunate to coach kids who are so joyful. Not only are they committed to be better each day, more importantly, they are committed to each other. Our mantra all year has been ‘Climb and Lift.’
“As we work to improve, we always reach out to help the next one,” said Jasper. “We are surrounded by an incredible group of six seniors who have mentored, advised, supported and at times parented this team. A group of young women who are examples of what is truly good about sport, competition and teamwork. Those who have watched us, even if but once, marvel at the chemistry, joy and precision with which these kids play. For me, I leave the gym everyday energized, happy and knowing that I am living the dream.”

Their path to the championship wound through Bergen County, and saw the girls defeat local rival Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan to win the North 1, Group 3 sectional title. They avenged their only loss, Old Tappan’s victory over Pascack Valley in the Bergen County Tournament, that saw the Golden Knights knock off the Indians in a tight 43-41 loss, by handily beating back the challengers from Old Tappan. To win the North 1, Group 3 state sectional championship, the Indians defeated Old Tappan 70-42. 

In the opening round of the Group 3 tournament, Pascack Valley played a back and forth game against Somerville, but pulled ahead in the end to set up the championship game against Ocean City. 

“Coach Jasper and his staff have done everything required to put the team in a position to succeed,” said Gattoni. “We have a very talented group of players who have accepted all that needs to be done to be where they are today. The individual players work very well together.  They understand who they are and the way they can contribute to the team. They work extremely hard, they are selfless in their approach to playing basketball, and have a wonderful understanding of the game.”

Their stellar season drew to a close in the first round of the state tournament of champions 
on Thursday, March 16. Pascack Valley was defeated by Group 4 champions Franklin at the Pine Belt Arnea, 70-50, a bittersweet ending to a season they will all remember fondly



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