Aerial view of an abandoned rail line in northern Passaic County that will be transformed into a trail for hiking and cycling. July 3, 2019.
Danielle Parhizkaran and Tariq Zehawi, North Jersey Record
NORTH HALEDON – Madison Wynbeek was one of the best basketball players in Passaic County in the last four years as well as one of the best in the history of the Eastern Christian girls program.
For some that would be good enough for playing for a NCAA Division I or II school, but Wynbeek wanted a small school and a Christian college with the same values of Eastern Christian.
She looked at Eastern University (Philadelphia), Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Gordon College (Wenham, Mass.), all NCAA Division III schools.
Eastern Christian’s Madison Wynbeek will be heading north soon to Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. (Photo: Edward Kensik/Special to Gazette)
And Wynbeek had quite a résumé during her years for the Eagles.
The 6-foot, Class of 2019 graduate is the second-leading career scorer (2,048 points) in the history of Eastern Christian girls basketball as well as the career leader for the Lady Eagles in rebounds and blocked shots.
She was named to the All-Passaic County first team in her junior and senior years as well as second team in her freshman and sophomore years.
In the end, Wynbeek decided on Gordon this past spring.
“I was driving home with my mom (Susan) from my last track meet and that’s when I decided that Gordon was where I wanted to go,” said Wynbeek. “In the back of my mind, I always thinking that it was Gordon. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
She said that she liked the campus that is just outside of Boston along with the coaching staff and the players. In addition, Gordon had the major that Madison was looking for in elementary education.
Gordon women’s coach Carter Shaw knows what he will be getting next season.
“When you watch her play, she is an extraordinary basketball player,” said Shaw. “I love her versatility that she can bring to the floor. She can score inside and outside.”
Shaw also said that he likes Wynbeek giving it her all on the floor.
“She really goes out to get the ball,” said the Gordon coach. “She’s a real warrior and really wants to win.”
For the 2019-20 season, Shaw thinks that Wynbeek could get plenty of floor minutes as a freshman. “She has a chance to make a huge impact,” said the Fighting Scots coach.
Eastern Christian coach Lou Lotito loved all aspects of Wynbeek’s game, and that she was willing take on all challenges. “She’s willing to take on various assignments whether defending opponents best offensive player or distributing ball when opponents collapse on her,” said Lotito.
Her former basketball coach Barry Veenstra, who is the Eastern Christian athletic director, said that Madison would put the team first.
“She demonstrated the ability to be an intense competitor who never lost her cool as well as a humble star that always put the team first,” said Veenstra. “I am confident she will have the same level of success at Gordon that she had here and will remain the same godly young lady of faith that she has always been.”
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Wynbeek had a chance to reminisce about her four years on the court and pointed to winning the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Colonial Division in her junior year.
Madison remembers the 41-35 win in overtime at home in North Haledon over Glen Rock in 2018 to win the first division title for the program in six years. “That game went back and forth,” said Wynbeek, “and winning it, it felt so good.”
She also recalls how her game changed from when she was a freshman to her final days last winter as a mature senior. “Looking at the (newspaper) clips, it’s kind of cool to see how I have from my freshman to senior years,” said Wynbeek.
As of last week, it had still not sunk in that her high school days were over.
“I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet, but some of my classmates have already headed to college,” said Wynbeek “Sometimes I feel like I’m going back to high school.”
But by the end of August, she will be driving north to Wenham, Mass., and her days as a Fighting Scot will begin.
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