The Girls Basketball Team is Looking Up


Alessandra Bontia, Staff Writer

The girls basketball team is in full force, with three scrimmages already done and games beginning this Friday, December 14th. The team has already had to adjust to change, as last year’s assistant coach and middle school physical education teacher, Coach Feeney, has now stepped up to be the new head coach.

“The team is looking very good so far this year,” said Brianna Paluskiewicz (’19). “For the first time in three years we are able to have three full levels with a total of 35 girls.”

After head coach Jackie Mann stepped down at the end of the 2017-2018 season, many of the girls on the team wondered where the team was headed. Coach Feeney had been part of the coaching staff for the past two years, and when the news of her becoming the new head coach broke, the girls were thrilled.

“When Feeney was announced coach, I was really excited because we already had formed a bond with her, and it wasn’t like we had to start totally fresh with a new coach no one knew,” said Kelsey Koehler (’20).

Right off the bat, the season was different than ones before. “We’ve been trying new things, like different plays and drills that we weren’t able to try in previous years,” said Paluskiewicz. “I feel like all the girls are given an equal chance to show what they’re capable of, thanks to Feeney.”

A typical practice is comprised of running up and down the court, endless free throws, and learning new plays. The preseason, however, is focused on getting all of the girls in shape for the physically demanding season, which has weeks chock-full of anywhere from two to four games. While many tend to find the few weeks leading up to the season strenuous and difficult, the girls believe that it pays off in the long run.

“I like that we work on the fundamentals because it really prepares us for games and makes us grow as players,” said Lexie Lazarus (’22). “One of the difficult aspects, though, is remembering all the plays we have because there are just so many.”

For this season, the girls team is in a new league, which presents new opportunities. “With the league change, we don’t play [Old Tappan] and Teaneck anymore, two of the better teams,” said Koehler. “We now play teams like Indian Hills and River Dell, and I think we have an opportunity to win a lot this year and compete with almost everyone we play.  I am most looking forward to playing NVD this year, because not only are they one of our biggest rivals, but last year we lost in the last seconds of the game. That loss was probably one of the hardest for us last year, and I think everyone on the team is still heated and wants to come back to beat them this year.”

While past years have not been as fruitful, this year seems to be looking up. “We have a lot of talent on varsity and potential to be a great team, and with some new girls joining the team this year, all levels are looking strong,” said Paluskiewicz. “I think that we’ll end up with more wins than losses.”

“I think it is most important to focus on one game at a time, so whoever we play next is the team we are trying to set out to beat,” said Koehler. “I think there is some great talent on the team that we’re trying to make the most of, and along with Feeney’s knowledge of the game, we’re looking forward to potentially winning more games and being more competitive than ever before. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Above all things, though, the team is a place for growth, fun, and learning the true discipline of partaking in a sport. “I think girls basketball is a great high school experience and I would encourage all girls, no matter their skill level, to try out,” said Paluskiewicz. “Win or lose, the team has tons of fun, and that’s just as important as winning.”

Make sure you come out to support the girls basketball team this season, which starts this Friday, December 14th, as they play the Dumont Huskies at home at 7 p.m!