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Get to know the Rye Neck senior basketball players

Get to know the Rye Neck senior basketball players
Courtesy: Paddy Boland

Paddy Boland - BVM Sports User Submission

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — It all started what seems like such a long time ago. For a teenager, 10 years ago is a lifetime.

They started as First Graders, working their way up through the local rec basketball league. “Me, the West boys and Alex were all on the same team when we won the LMBA championship,” says RJ Hutt. “That championship was my first.”

Then they were battling Mt Vernon for youth travel basketball titles and bringing back trophies from AAA tournaments.

Now, years later, the boys are nearing the end of their basketball careers together as Senior Night approaches.

“You can tell they have known each other for a while because they respect each other and have open communication,” says Head Coach Mike Denman. “They build up one another at every opportunity.”

Rye Neck seniors and co-captains RJ Hutt, Luke West and Ronan West have spent a lot of time as a unit on the hardwood, joined by fellow teammate Alex Musicus. They climbed the ladder of competitive basketball from youth clinics to local leagues to travel ball to AAU. Then their Rye Neck journey meant Modified, JV, followed by Varsity. Along the way, the group has racked up a handful of titles and a truckload of wins.

“Those boys on the same team know how to win. They compete. I looked back at the records, and they had over 100 in leagues and tournaments as kids,” says Robert Hutt, father of RJ and coach to the boys when they were younger.

So far this season, Rye Neck Boys Basketball is sporting a 9-4 record. While last year the team had a remarkable 18-4 record, the 2022-2023 season has meant a stronger league and much tougher competition. RJ Hutt does lead the charge but each of the three has led the team in scoring at various games so far. The key to the team’s success has been contributions from different players from game to game.

Hutt is the star of the team, having earned All-Conference status last season and building upon that foundation with a strong stat line of 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks per game. The long, lanky forward is shooting at an incredible rate of 50% from 3-point distance and over 55% from 2FG.

“RJ has been scoring the ball with real efficiency but also shares the ball,” according to Denman.

The West twins, both committed to play college lacrosse, play an intense style of ball. Whereas Luke bodies in the paint and prefers to mix it up physically, Ronan relies upon his speed and tenacity to keep opponents off balance. Their balanced approach to playmaking has resulted in them filling up the box sheet in all sorts of ways.

“Ronan is a lockdown defender and who can also score the ball because of his athleticism and strength,” comments Denman. “Luke gives us much needed toughness around the basket, plus his athleticism allows him to cover bigs or guards.”

Musicus, missing the entire season due to a serious knee injury, has been missed as a master rebounder though his commitment to the team never waivers, even as it means showing up to games on crutches.

Rye Neck has 6 seniors on the squad this year, all of whom have had their high school careers thrown for loops due to COVID and injury. Hutt surely would be knocking on the door of the 1,000 point club if not for lost COVID seasons. Jaden Snow, recently recovered from knee injury, was in Atlanta during COVID. And Ethan Lithgow returned for his senior year after attending Monsignor Scanlon for the past 2 years.

“They represent the Rye Neck program with class and set a positive example to the younger players,” states Denman.

The Rye Neck ceremony for the seniors happened January 24th. Certainly Coach Denman, the fans and the players were happy to cap off the special night with a win over the Leffell School 49-45. But the boys aren’t dwelling on the end of their journey quite yet. The battles in Section 1 Class B have meant almost every team can win on any given night. With 7 games left before playoffs, their focus is on the next game, not on their personal history.

“It is sad to think about the season coming to an end, especially since it’s my last, but I haven’t been thinking about it that much,” says Hutt. “I’m just focused on winning games.”

This is an unedited user writing submission. The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Best Version Media or its employees.