NA’s Krychkowski continues his scoring from soccer to basketball

Photo by Jim Hague/North Arlington senior guard Tyler Krychkowski


By Jim Hague

Scoring 1,000 points on the high school basketball level is a milestone that every player aspires to reach.

It means that you’ve been a consistent player and contributor. It’s a sign of success. Not everyone is fortunate enough to reach the plateau.

Take North Arlington boys’ basketball coach Dave Walsh as an example. Walsh was a fine player during his days at North Arlington, helping to lead the Vikings to a state championship. However Walsh – who went on to have a fine career at the now-defunct Upsala College – failed to reach the 1,000-point mark.

“I didn’t get it,” Walsh said. “I finished with 960. I know there are others who missed it by 10 or so. So in my eyes, it’s always important for a player to get it if he can.”

A few weeks ago, it appeared as if current senior Viking guard Tyler Krychkowski was going to fall short of the milestone, much like his coach. The season was running out of games and Krychkowski was running out of opportunities.

“I was very disappointed,” Krychkowski said. “I worked very hard the last two years. I knew this was my senior year and I wanted to have a shot.”

Walsh seems to think that the idea that Krychkowski was going to fall short actually helped him.

“He began to play free and easy, once he realized he wasn’t going to make it,” Walsh said. “I told him that he needed one really big game to have a chance. He needed to average like 25 per game over the last six games, so he needed to have that one big one.”

Last Tuesday night was Senior Night at the North Arlington gymnasium. The Vikings were set to face Harrison. There were balloons, posters, streamers, you name it, all present to honor the graduating seniors, Krychkowski being one of them.

“I said to myself that it was my last home game and I had to make the most of it,” Krychkowski said. “It was my chance.”

Krychkowski said that he felt he had a special night brewing.

“Everything was falling from the beginning of the game,” Krychkowski said. “It all came in the flow of the game.”

Krychkowski ended that game with a career-best 38 points, including seven 3-pointers. It put him in position to finally reach the milestone, as he needed 16 points in the Vikings’ NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state playoff game against Whippany Park that was slated to be played Monday.

For his efforts, Krychkowski has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week. Krychkowski was also named during the fall season, when he was a standout goal scorer for the Vikings’ soccer team.

Krychkowski scored 26 goals during the soccer season. He believes that there is a positive carryover, being a scorer in both sports.

“I thought I had a good year in soccer and did the best I could,” Krychkowski said.

“Absolutely, I think there’s a carryover. It’s just going from grass to hardwood in the span of a week. It’s all just putting the ball in the net.”

Walsh believes that Krychkowski became a better all-around player this season and that may have cut down on his scoring just a bit.

“We do have more scoring options this year, so Tyler wasn’t going to get as many shots as he had last year. In the ebb and flow, I told him that he had to let the game come to him. He is definitely better at passing the ball, especially with the pick-and-roll stuff with A.J. (Nocciolo) or (Jose) Checo. We didn’t have that in the past. Tyler also has the ability to turn the corner and get to the rim. So we ran that more and more and we really relied on it.”

“It was awesome, especially with Checo,” Krychkowski said. “We’ve developed it for the past month or so. I think that’s how we were able to beat Lyndhurst. When you’re able to make plays like that, it boosts your confidence.”

Now, Krychkowski is within reach of the milestone. It’s tangible. It’s right there. Two weeks ago, it didn’t seem likely.

“I think about it a lot and will until I finally get it,” Krychkowski said. “Every day, every minute. When I first came to high school, I never thought I’d be the leading scorer for the last two years, like what’s happened. If it happens, it would be great to be on that list. Not a lot of people get that chance.”

“I just hope he gets it,” Walsh said. “It’s taken a lot for him to get to this point. Things were able to come his way. He has an idea of what he has to do, but he’s set himself to be in the position.”

Krychkowski knows that his basketball career is coming to an end. He will more than likely play soccer in college, but has not officially made a decision.

“I am pretty pleased with the way my senior year has turned out,” Krychkowski said. “I can say that I did something good.”

And it will be something even better if he can score 16 points in the state tournament.

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