Jasper reaches ‘grand’ milestone

Just second NJ hoops coach to reach 1,000 career wins


Curstine Guevarra

Mr. Jeff Jasper holds up the balls given by the girls basketball team and Dream Team.

Noah Schwartz, Sports Editor

Each and every Pascack Valley girls basketball game is intense, but Thursday night’s game against Northern Highlands had a different vibe. There was quite an exciting atmosphere that circled its way throughout the Pascack Valley gymnasium, as a New Jersey coaching legend cemented his place in the all-time history books.

On Thursday night, Pascack Valley defeated Northern Highlands by a score of 73-25 to move to 10-0 on the year. This night meant more than a regular season win. This game was coach Jeff Jasper’s 1,000th career win in his 45th season at the helm.

“It is pretty indescribable,” senior Kelly Petro said. “It’s just an honor, and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”

The Indians, after falling behind by 7 points in the opening minutes, dominated for the remaining three-and-a-half quarters. PV locked in on defense and allowed just 3 points the entire second half. Offensively, junior sharpshooter Brianna Smith scored 21 points and Brianna Wong chipped in 15 points. Valley had a clear advantage on the boards; the Indians repeatedly got second chances after misses, while holding the Highlanders to just one shot on the other end.

After the game, Jasper reflected on his tenure as the PV basketball coach, and was very gracious and appreciative for all the people that have impacted him over the years.

“I know I’m living the dream. Mainly because all these people have influenced me in such a positive way… In the last two days, there’s just been so many wonderful things [sent to me],” he said. “It just made me feel so emotionally connected to all of these people.”

The players put forth a strong effort on Thursday in honor of their coach.

“We said to each other prior to the game that this is the game. It was kind of our duty to help this happen,” senior forward Kelly Smith said.

“He deserves it. All the hard work he puts into us and into the program is insane,” Brianna Smith added.

For so many of those people with whom Jasper has formed a relationship with over the past 40-plus years, Thursday was a night to remember.

“I don’t think we would forget about it,” Wong said. “[We must] use all that energy that we had for [this game, for] all the rest of them.”

According to research done by The Smoke Signal, Jasper is likely just the 40th coach in US High School Basketball History to reach 1,000 wins. He becomes just the second coach in New Jersey history to reach the mark, following Bobby Hurley Sr. of St. Anthony’s High School. He also becomes the first ever 1,000 game winner in the history of New Jersey girls high school basketball.

However, Jasper does not get caught up in his own personal accomplishments or achievements.

“I understand the significance of the number [1,000]. But as the seconds ticked down that wasn’t my thought process. My thought process was that I was still coaching the game,” he said.

Among other things, Jasper’s humble and selfless personality has helped him succeed on the court with his players and in the classroom with his students.

“As a coach and as a teacher, it ain’t about me,” he said. “It’s about them.”