by Mike Pavlichko
Five sectional titles in a row has to amount for something.
And this week, the recognition came for Bound Brook girls basketball coach Jen Derevjanik: she was named Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in New Jersey by NFHS, the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Derevjanik is about to begin her seventh season as head coach of the Crusaders, who have won the last five Central Jersey Group One championships in a row. They are 136-39 under her tenure.
Not bad for a program that hadn’t had a winning season in more than a decade. That 11-15 record in her first season? Just a stepping stone en route to becoming one of Somerset County’s elite programs.
Last year, just a win away from a Group 1 title, Bound Brook’s quest was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ended the state tournament just after their 48-32 Group 1 semifinal win over Woodbury. The Lady Crusaders would have faced North 1 champ Cresskill in the semifinals.
The recognition by the NFHS also means recognition by the NJSIAA, which submits nominees to NFHS, according to Bound Brook Athletic Director Jeffrey Steele. He said he was notified of the honor this week, and quickly arranged for the team to help her celebrate.
Bound Brook will be one of the first two girls basketball teams in the area to be broadcast on Central Jersey Sports Radio this coming week, when the Lady Crusaders entertain Manville at 5:30 pm. Click here to listen live.
Derevjanik – who played collegiately at George Mason, and after the playing days was an assistant at Wagner College – has a pro pedigree. She played professionally in Europe for seven seasons, and spent five years in the WNBA: two of them with the Connecticut Sun alongside Olympian Lindsay Whelan, followed by three years in Phoenix, where she won a WNBA Championship as a teammate of Diana Taurasi.