Red Hawks senior guard Akbar Hoffman and sophomore forward Steve Breeman lead the Red Hawks to victory Wednesday night, defeating the Ramapo Roadrunners 98-78.
Before tip-off, a moment of silence was given for the tragic events that occurred on Jan. 26, honoring Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven other individuals that lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The moment of silence was held as everyone bowed their heads, trying to fight back tears. Junior forward Joseph Radi had the numbers eight and 24 written on his one shoe, along with the saying, “mamba mentality,” on his other.
“To me he was an icon,” Radi said. “More importantly he was my brother’s icon, he got my brother into basketball, and my brother got me into basketball. Got to give Kobe all the credit.”
Senior forward Jalen Parham added his thoughts about Kobe Bryant’s passing.
“Growing up, Kobe was a hero to me personally and millions more,” Parham said. “His passing meant a lot to us. It allowed us to recognize that we needed to come out and give it all we have. Today we just tried to come out here and play our hearts out for Kobe.”
The tip-off was won by Parham, and Montclair State, playing the game at their pace with impeccable ball movement. The ball went all around the arc, then inside the paint, then kicked back out to Hoffman to knock down a three as the shot clock was winding down.
The Red Hawks then began to put on a clinic of three-point shooting in the first half. Breeman hit three of his 17 points as he put the Red Hawks up 25-13, leading to a Ramapo timeout as Montclair State had the Roadrunners puzzled. The Red Hawks attempted 20 three-pointers in the first half and made 13 of them.
Going into halftime, the Red Hawks lead 55-37, as freshman guard Keyon Pryce threw a full court chest pass to junior center Malachi Smythe, who threw the hammer down. Although Montclair State had the lead at the half, fans were concerned if the team could close it out in the second half. The team has been in a slump lately, having only won two of their last ten games. However, that was not the case on Wednesday night.
In the second half, the Red Hawks kept letting the ball fly as they tied a franchise high of 18 made three-pointers.
Hoffman hit another corner three in front of the Red Hawks bench and finished with 26 on the night. A Parham layup sealed the deal and the Red Hawks had the lead for the night with a total of 24 points.
The Roadrunners cut down the lead to 15, but it was too much of a deficit. The game hit triple zeros as loud cheers came from the crowd in the stands. Montclair State finally found themselves back in the win column.
Coach Justin Potts gave praise to his players for showing teamwork as the team had 27 assists on 33 made shots.
“The goal is to be the best version of ourselves by the time the season ends and make sure we play Montclair State Basketball,” Coach Potts said. “Tonight we did that.”