His team had just defeated Wayne Hills in the first round of the Passaic County Tournament and Rob Carcich, Passaic Valley’s feisty coach had finished the obligatory handshakes.
I approached him to say congrats and he looked at me with that curious, ‘we’ve been to the PCT quarters before’ glance.
“Two hundred wins, way to go,” I said to him. And the look on his face resembled his glee when the Hornets play Carcich-type defense.
“That’s right,” he said with that sinister snicker. “I completely forgot.”
For Carcich, Passaic Valley’s 56-30 victory not only assured his seventh seeded team a berth in the PCT quarters next Saturday against second seeded DePaul at Paterson Kennedy, but it also marked the 200th victory in a near 15-year coaching career which started at Palisades Park, extended to his home town of Hasbrouck Heights before landing at Passaic Valley in what is his ninth season.
Carcich, who passes compliments with the ease of tossing a manhole cover, was clearly pleased with his team’s effort today. The man who will soon make the Carcich Meter a household item, feels his young team is starting to make strides as it won its third straight game.
“We played well, probably our best overall game of the season so far,” Carcich said. “When I went in to talk to them in the pre-game, I was like ‘why is this place (the locker room) like a morgue?’ And Zach (Damiano) just looked up and said ‘we’re ready’. I said, ‘let’s go then.'”
The Hornets (12-6) jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on a pair of threes by Stefan Minic and that was pretty much it. PV led 10-6 after one quarter and 26-12 at the half.
Minic provided the scoring boost in the first half, but there were plenty of other contributors. Damiano was outstanding. The junior 2-guard had nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. Mike Cirrincione had his best game of the season with 13 points. Freshman point guard Jihad Wright is dishing the ball at a frantic pace now, making quick and reliable decisions.
Dan Cirrincione was in early foul trouble against Wayne Hills, but he still had some key rebounds. Shawn Ulrich is quietly becoming a force in the middle, Ian Hanley, the lone senior in the entire program, provides leadership and stability and Minic’s 17 points was a welcome sight for the junior forward who clearly controls the offense and is the team’s go-to guy.
But this was more than just a win. It was a milestone for Carcich, who recalled his first victory against New Milford in a 3-win season. When he came to Passaic Valley nine years ago, he took over a program that was 6-63 the past three seasons. Today, the Hornets are a perennial winner, a program pretty much assured an eighth straight winning season.
“It’s special,” Carcich said. “Yeah, I forgot at first, but looking back, it’s a nice milestone.”
Carcich hopes win number 201 comes on Tuesday, when the Hornets play Wayne Hills once again, this time in league game at Wayne. A win assures the Hornets its first conference title since Jimmy Carter was president, back in 1979.
“We want that title,” Carcich said. “It would mean a lot to get this program on that wall (in the PV gym, where all champions are listed).”
In the meantime, congrats, Rob, on a nice accomplishment.
Even if you did forget about it.