ROSELLE, NJ — Two of the hottest public school basketball teams in Union County at the start of the season reside in Roselle.
The Abraham Clark High School hoop squads have gotten off to full-court-press first impressions.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 10, the boys basketball team stood at 9-2 and was leading the Union County Conference’s Valley Division standings at 5-0. Seeking a third straight winning season, the Rams finished 14-9 a year ago and second to Governor Livingston High School in the Valley Division at 8-2.
The first game this week of Abraham Clark boys basketball is Thursday, Jan. 12, at 5:30 p.m., at home against division rival Arthur L. Johnson High School of Clark. The second game this season for Abraham Clark boys was a 58-54 win at ALJ on Saturday, Dec. 17.
The girls basketball team took an 8-1 overall record and 5-1 Valley Division mark into its Tuesday, Jan. 10, scheduled division home game against David Brearley High School, after press time. The Rams won at David Brearley 55-43 in the season opener on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Abraham Clark’s girls team, next scheduled to play at Rahway High School on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 11 a.m., is out to produce a fifth consecutive winning campaign. The Rams finished 12-11 last year and in the middle of the pack in the Valley Division at 7-5. Jonathan Dayton High School won the Valley Division last year and moved up to the Mountain Division this year.
Guided by seventh-year head coach Billy Houck, who is a 2011 Roselle Catholic graduate, the Rams won only two games in the 2015-2016 season before Houck took over the next year. In 2016-2017, Abraham Clark went 3-17; in 2017-2018, the final record was 8-16; and in 2018-2019, Abraham Clark finished better than .500 at 13-10. Winning seasons continued in 2019-2020 at 18-6 and in 2020-2021 at 9-4.
The boys, guided by second-year head coach Chris Kelley, began the week with a two-game lead in the Valley Division against defending champion Governor Livingston High School. Abraham Clark’s second home game was a 72-53 division win against Governor Livingston in which senior Elijah Harris scored a season-high 32 points to lead all scorers.
At the annual Joe Silver Holiday Tournament in Hillside that followed, Abraham Clark boys basketball won two of three games. The Rams first defeated Henry Snyder High School 65-57 and then hosted Hillside High School 57-52 before falling to St. Augustine Preparatory School 82-57.
Abraham Clark boys basketball’s only other loss was at Mountain Division foe New Providence High School 71-65 on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The Rams followed with division wins at home against Hillside 58-43 on Thursday, Jan. 5, and Roselle Park High School 65-29 on Saturday, Jan. 7.
The Rams are guided by Kelley, who played for Abraham Clark in the mid-to-late 1990s before attending and graduating from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, now known as Pennsylvania Western University, Clarion, in 2003.
In May, Kelley was recognized at a Roselle Council meeting for his dedication to the youths of Roselle and for the nonprofit organization he started called Hoopanomics, which is a travel basketball team for boys and girls ages 8-16.
Four Abraham Clark players began the week with at least 100 points — senior Tahdir Carson with 152, Isaiah Fuller with 136, Zaire Carter with 132 and Harris with 100.
Carson led in rebounds with 67 and Carter in steals with 24.
The boys are at Rahway on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m., and, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 16, the team has a game scheduled at New Brunswick High School at 5:30 p.m.
The girls were 8-0 when they lost at home to Linden High School 55-52 on Saturday, Jan. 7. Linden improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the Valley Division. Linden’s lone loss in the Valley Division was to Rahway.
Linden outscored Abraham Clark 12-4 in the fourth quarter to come back for the victory. Leading all scorers was Abraham Clark sophomore Aaliyah Littles with a 20-point performance.
Junior forward Zoe Boston began the week leading the Rams in scoring with 175 points. Freshman forward Briana Holt was next with 120 and Littles third with 108.
Holt led the team in rebounds with 112, and Boston was second at 109. Boston also led in steals with 18.
Abraham Clark High School boys basketball
• Thursday, Dec. 15: (H) Abraham Clark High School 62, David Brearley High School 53.
• Saturday, Dec. 17: (A) Abraham Clark High School 58, Arthur L. Johnson High School 54.
• Sunday, Dec. 18: (A) Abraham Clark High School 69, Barringer High School 60.
• Tuesday, Dec. 20: (H) Abraham Clark High School 72, Governor Livingston High School 53.
• Tuesday, Dec. 27: (N) Abraham Clark High School 65, Henry Snyder High School 57, at Hillside.
• Wednesday, Dec. 28: (N) Abraham Clark High School 57, Hillside High School 52, at Hillside.
• Friday, Dec. 30: (N) St. Augustine Preparatory School 82, Abraham Clark High School 57, at Hillside.
• Tuesday, Jan. 3: (A) New Providence High School 71, Abraham Clark High School 65.
• Thursday, Jan. 5: (H) Abraham Clark High School 58, Hillside High School 43.
• Saturday, Jan. 7: (H) Abraham Clark High School 65, Roselle Park High School 29.
• Thursday, Jan. 12: vs. Arthur L. Johnson High School, 5:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Jan. 14: at Rahway High School, 1 p.m.
• Monday, Jan. 16: at New Brunswick High School, 5:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 17: vs. Jonathan Dayton High School, 5:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Jan. 19: at Governor Livingston High School, 4 p.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 24: vs. New Providence High School, 5:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, Feb. 1: at Roselle Park High School, 5:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, Feb. 14: at Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School, 5:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Feb. 16: at Summit High School, 5:30 p.m.
Abraham Clark High School girls basketball
• Thursday, Dec. 15: (A) Abraham Clark High School 55, David Brearley High School 43.
• Saturday, Dec. 17: (H) Abraham Clark High School 56, Rahway High School 34.
• Tuesday, Dec. 20: (A) Abraham Clark High School 49, Union High School 42.
• Tuesday, Dec. 27: (N) Abraham Clark High School 57, Perth Amboy Magnet School 20, at East Brunswick Technical High School.
• Thursday, Dec. 29: (N) Abraham Clark High School 74, Essex County Vocational-Technical School 24, at East Brunswick Technical High School.
• Tuesday, Jan. 3: (H) Abraham Clark High School 52, Roselle Park High School 21.
• Thursday, Jan. 5: (A) Abraham Clark High School 54, Hillside High School 46.
• Saturday, Jan. 7: (H) Linden High School 55, Abraham Clark High School 52.
• Tuesday, Jan. 10: vs. David Brearley High School (after press deadline).
• Saturday, Jan. 14: at Rahway High School, 11 a.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 17: at South River High School, 4:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Jan. 21: vs. Union High School, 10 a.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 24: at Roselle Park High School, 4:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Jan. 26: vs. Hillside High School, 4:30 p.m.
• Monday, Jan. 30: vs. Roselle Catholic High School, 4:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, Feb. 1: at Linden High School, 4 p.m.
• Friday, Feb. 10: vs. Delaware Valley High School, 4:30 p.m.
• Monday, Feb. 13: at Metuchen High School, 5 p.m.