Lady Highlanders basketball team hopes to grow together

| 18 Dec 2018 | 08:11

    By Garrett Hemmerich
    WEST MILFORD – The 2018-19 West Milford High School girls’ basketball season is officially underway, kicking off Dec. 14 with a loss against Mahwah.
    The Lady Highlanders face a particularly tough schedule this season and its goal is to simply compete and improve with each game, coaches said.
    Eight senior players graduated last year and moved on, including all five starters.
    In addition, eight of the 12 remaining players on the varsity roster are either sophomores or freshmen, according to the coaching staff.
    “In my 18 seasons as head coach of the Lady Highlanders, this team may be my youngest and most inexperienced,” said head coach Ray LaCroix.
    While no starters are returning, key varsity letter winners Ashley Jacobs and Kristina Fedor, both juniors, are coming back this season.
    LaCroix said Jacobs brings the most experience, having played plenty of minutes in her first two seasons with the team, and sophomore Rory McCormick also got some valuable varsity experience last year.
    The two seniors on the team, Natalie Marzalik and Jordyn Gerold, will serve as co-captains, but, from there, no other player has any varsity experience, LaCroix said.
    The team will rely on the contributions of new additions, including sophomore Alex Buonanno, a player from whom they expect big things.
    Other sophomores joining the varsity squad this year are Amanda Gerold, Katie Borer, and Brielle Hanley.
    Additionally, freshmen Rachel Chandler, Rebecca DeTuro, and Olivia Arciniega are also all going to see some varsity action this season, with Chandler projected to start at point guard.
    According to LaCroix, this team has plenty of talent, albeit young talent.
    “I have a group of girls who love the game and work hard every day,” LaCroix said.
    The head coach believes this year’s lady Highlanders have what it takes to be competitive in every game.
    He said he hopes to reach the state tournament for the seventh consecutive season, but knows the team will need time to learn to play together.
    “I expect growing pains, but we know that progress is never a straight line” said LaCroix. “This team will get better as we move forward and I’m excited to watch us grow.”