Girls' basketball program had winning record

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  • Photo by Rachael Janz From left, West Milford Highlander captains on the basketball court are Tina Lokai, Marie Ambrose and Vic Torp.

By Josh Lashley

It speaks to the kind of success that the West Milford High School girls' basketball program enjoyed this winter that when asked what games stand out as most memorable, Highlander head coach Ray LaCroix doesn’t name just one - he recounts several contests that showed the courage, talent and spirit with which his players competed.

West Milford had a winning overall record of 13-12 and they were 5-5 in the Big North Conference, placing second in the Independence Division behind Wayne Valley.

“It was a really good year, so a number of games stand out but I have a few in mind," LaCroix said. “First was our victory over Lakeland early in the season (47-44 on Jan. 7). We were 2-2 at the time and the victory got us on a roll. Taylor DeBlock, a senior forward, made two free throws with 1.1 seconds left to tie the game and then we pulled out a three-point victory in overtime.

“Second was our win over Fair Lawn (47-33 on Feb. 1). This game clinched a spot in the (NJSIAA North I Group III sectional Tournament) and gave us a second place finish in the conference.

"Third was our win over Hawthorne in the Counties (55-39 on Feb. 8). It was our first home County game and first win in the tournament since 2009."

LaCroix mentioned some of the team leaders who put up impressive statistics on the court this season.

“Senior captain Christina Lokai was second on the team in scoring and led the team is steals and assists as our point guard," LaCroix said. “She graduates with 928 career points, the most career steals in the history of the program (281) and is fourth all-time in career assists (297).

"Senior captain Marie Ambrose was our center and graduates with the school record for blocked shots in a career (310)."

“Senior captain Victoria Torp graduates as the third player in school history with over 100 three-pointers in their career as she is second all-time with 101," LaCroix said. "Sophomore Brielle Mulvihill led the team in scoring (13.5 points per game) with 329 points on the season. She has 595 career points after two seasons and became the fourth player in school history to make 100 free throws in one season (105). A number of players improved [throughout the season], especially sophomore guard Tess Korinko, who was third in the team in scoring and was our best defender this season."

Though the Highlanders will lose several talented players to graduation, LaCroix is very much looking forward to next winter.

“I am very optimistic about next season," LaCroix said. “Our goal is to continue to climb the mountain and stay on the right side of .500. We return six letter winners next year that will be the core of our varsity. They are very dedicated and talented and committed to keeping us going in the right direction and they are junior Lanae Vroegindewey (forward), sophomores Mulvihill (forward), Korinko (guard), Emily Magasic (guard) and Aly Roskowsky (forward) along with freshman Michaela McLeod (guard). All six of them played huge roles this season and that experience should pay off next year."

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West Milford, NJ