As a former member of the team who was held in high regard, Mac Morando is quite familiar with the West Milford High School boys’ basketball program-and what it takes for the Highlanders to be successful both on and off the court.
Now he is in his first year as the head coach for the Highlanders and is bringing a fresh approach to a team filled with optimism and a persistent attitude at all times.
“The story of this team is that they will continue to improve as the year goes,’’ Morando said. “I am a new coach and we’re installing a lot of new things. As the players start to understand and become more comfortable with how we want them to play, we will become a tougher team to beat.’’
West Milford is scheduled to host Wayne Hills and Fort Lee on January 6 and January 8, respectively. They are slated to travel to meet Wayne Valley on January 11.
“The gym is open for fans so please come out and support our student athletes,’’ Morando said. “Fans must wear masks but they’re welcome to come and watch. Our goal is to create a buzz about West Milford Basketball again, to show the young up and coming athletes that basketball in West Milford is back.’’
The Highlanders have plenty of players who are willing to show the dedication needed for steady improvement on the court.
“My top returning athletes are senior point guard Chris Albar and senior small forward Kai Foster,’’ Morando said. ‘Promising newcomers are junior center Mike Collette, junior guard Nate Leonard, junior guard Seamus Basket and senior guard Thomas Dinzik.
“Leaders on the team are Chris Albar, Kai Foster and Nate Leonard. Chris leads with his voice and by example. Kai gives incredible effort and brings a great competitive spirit. Nate has shown dedication the entire off season and that is the new example we’re trying to set.’’
The Highlanders compete in the Big North Conference Independence Division along with Fair Lawn, Wayne Hills, Wayne Valley, Lakeland and Passaic Valley.
“I view our team as someone you won’t want to play later in the season,’’ Morando said. “We will be better in January and February. The entire Division is very competitive. Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills are always tough teams to beat. But you can’t forget about Passaic Valley this year.’’