Who Will The Owls Take Down Next: Owls Basketball

For the past three years the Park Ridge boys basketball team has experienced considerable challenges, winning only 6 total games across those seasons. However, Coach Adam Kaplan has had a plan in store during all of those years. He resorted to playing stand-out underclassmen, teaching them how to properly play the game of basketball together. Now that these players are almost all upperclassmen, they are playing with the chemistry any coach would love. The Owls are off to a good start in their first few games, with a record of 7-5, including notable wins against Waldwick, Emerson, Bergen Charter, and the defending league champions, Cresskill.

The team’s starting five consists of Junior PG Daniel Flaherty, Sophomore SG Evan Burns, Junior Small Forward Jordan Spagnola, Junior Power Forward Daniel Gutin, and Junior Center Brendan McDowell, with Junior Zach Uhl as a versatile 6th man coming off the bench.


We interviewed a few members of the team on their mindsets moving forward throughout the rest of the season. Jordan Spagnola said, “We just need to keep working on the small things every day and continue to get better.” Spagnola has had much success, not only as an individual averaging 24 points, but also as a leader picking up his teammates during every game, “the more we focus on not only pushing ourselves, but one another, the more success we’ll have moving forward.”

We also asked dual-sport star, in basketball and football, Junior Daniel Gutin, how his first two seasons as a varsity starter have prepared him up to this point, “Even though I was a starter in my freshman and sophomore year, I tried not to get a big head, and just learn from the older guys. Between listening to them and all the coaches, and also learning what it takes to win during football season, has all really helped me prepare for this year.” Gutin has provided this team of Owls with energy and intensity when they need it the most, just as he did with the State Champion Football team this past Fall. He has had a huge role in helping the basketball team to get to the winning record they currently hold.

Lastly, PG Daniel Flaherty, said, “we’ve been doing this forever,” when asked about the team chemistry. “The guys on the team who Coach Kap plays the majority of the time have been playing ball together since we were in 2nd grade. It’s just a genuine camaraderie and shared love for the game that we have all developed over the years, that makes us strive to be better in practice and games every day.”

This squad has high hopes for the remainder of the season, and they are definitely one of the teams to watch as the season goes on.