The Comeback: Starring the Port Jervis boys’ basketball team

PORT JERVIS – Everyone seemingly loves a good comeback story and that’s what brought me to Port earlier this week.

The Red Raiders are putting together quite the turnaround. Flash back four years ago: In coach Brian Rollman’s first season, Port Jervis went 0-18.

The Red Raiders followed that up with a 2-16 year, going 4-14 two years ago. Last season, Port Jervis went 9-10. And this year?

Port Jervis entered Friday night’s non-league game against Warwick 8-4. That’s what you call progress. You have to give Rollman credit.

He’s passionate and has been patient, suffering through some tough seasons, before the uprising. But Rollman, a 1992 Port Jervis graduate, doesn’t want any credit. He said this rebirth is all about his players over years, culminating with this group.

This season, Port Jervis is led by versatile point guard Arty Gray, who can do just about anything. Check out my feature on Gray, averaging 15 points, on on Tuesday. Stud football player Justin Drew has done well on the hardwood. Then there is Saim Mairu, Justin Rodriguez and Martin Rukaj, who all play important roles for teh Red Raiders.

“It’s great to have Rollman as a coach,” Gray said. “He started at the bottom with an 0-18 record. He always had a young team. To get it going, to get Port Jervis on the map, it’s a really great feeling.”

“I don’t know how to explain it, honestly,” Drew added. “We are always known as a football school. The basketball program is on the rise. It’s a great accomplishment for us. It is bringing a lot of interest to the younger kids.”

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