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Pascack Valley Head Coach Jeff Jasper Notches Historic 1,000th Career Win

Hours before his Pascack Valley girls basketball team would take the court against Northern Highlands at Pascack Valley High School, head coach Jeff Jasper could not stop crying. 45 years at the school, registering 13 sectional titles and six state championships, Jasper was on the verge of earning his 1000th career win and becoming the first New Jersey girls basketball head coach to win 1,000 games.

Jasper said just seeing all the faces of kids in the program that have gone on to be such great people and enrich his life. As much as they have learned from him don’t understand how much he gained from them.

“I’m a very emotional guy that wears my emotions on my sleeves and in the last two days it really did get to me in my 5:00 spin class.” said Jasper. “I found myself crying during the class, tears running down my cheek on my way to get to coffee again and on my way to school.”

During the pregame introductions, the Pascack Valley team lined up on both sides and clapped for an extended period of time. The crowd joined in as well, giving Jasper a standing ovation. There was a game still to be played as the Indians were also attempting to keep their undefeated streak intact. Early on three-pointers were raining down as the Highlanders jumped out to an early 12-5 advantage in the first quarter.

Behind the play of junior Brianna Smith, who drained three consecutive triples, Pascack Valley seized the lead 22-14 at the end of the first quarter. In the second period, the Indians turned up the defensive intensity forcing Northern Highlands into numerous turnovers that led to transition baskets and fast breaks outscoring the Highlanders 20-8 for a 44-22 halftime lead. The Indians did not step off the gas pedal in the second half limiting the Highlanders to just three points. Smith tallied a game high 21 points while senior Brianna Wong chalked up 15 points as Pascack Valley cruised to a 73-25 victory.

“It’s unbelievable Jasper has worked so hard, we practice hard and play with heart and guts because that is what Jasper wants us to do,” said Smith. “It’s all about momentum and confidence.” “

When it got to 10 seconds everyone on the bench knew we had to stand up and clap for him. When we heard the buzzer, we all stood up, jumped and ran to Jasper.”

After the game ended Jasper was presented with a signed basketball and players unfurled a banner acknowledging the historic achievement of 1,000 career wins recorded by Jasper. There were plenty of hugs, kisses and tears shed with family, current and former players, coaches, school officials and fans.

“I was just interested in coaching the game, got a lovely team and great kids and rarely look in the rearview mirror on what I have done before and incredibly moved to have my family here, my sons, their wives and three grandkids,” said Jasper.

“My three sons are amazing and what I have learned from them about life and my wife Lois is as special as they come and put up with me for 46 years. She’s a special woman because I know I would be living in a cardboard box and this would have never happened.”

“I know how lucky I am to do it in one place and only coach at this place this school has ever had and taking it from a pathetic beginning to the height it’s at…I’m a teacher, coach and ordinary guy surrounded by extraordinary people…I just try to do the best job I can every day.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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