BELLEVILLE, NJ – The Belleville High School girls’ varsity basketball team last season finished with a respectable 12-10 record in head coach Chris Cantarella’s first year at the helm.
The Lady Buccaneers are looking to continue that success this season with a good group of experienced players.
The returning players who saw substantial minutes last season are:
- Senior guard Jehann Dabon
- Senior forward Janelle Ramirez
- Senior forward Jennifer Garrido
- Junior guard Fiorella Samaniego
- Junior guard Jazalis Gual
Other returning players who will see increased minutes include:
- Junior forward Nathalie Marin
- Junior guard Jaylynn Pinto
- Junior guard Jaylyanna Bratcher
- Senior guard Elly Barbosa
- Senior forward Christina Gibson
The newcomers looking to get into the rotation include sophomore guard April Lopez, and freshman guards Melony McCormick and Taina Carrasquillo.
The five seniors on the team will provide leadership this season.
“They have taken on that role – starting in the fall with workouts and being vocal at practice,” said Cantarella, who also is the Belleville HS head softball coach. “They have provided positive guidance and helped the younger group (freshmen and sophomores) with expectations and goals, as well as skill work.”
Cantarella also is pleased with the team’s work ethic in which the Bucs look to improve on a daily basis.
“Our fundamentals are better and hopefully that will turn in better decisions and play on the court,” said Cantarella.
“The goals and expectations for the season are to be competitive in every game and give our team a chance in the fourth quarter,” added Cantarella. “We are in the same conference/division as last year, however, we will see five new teams. We would like to be in the upper half of the division with the potential to finish at the top. (and) make and get a home game for the State tournament.”
The keys to a successful season are the team’s ability to handle adversity, along with smart decisions on the court.
“We have to be able to bounce back when mistakes happen and play the next play,” Cantarella said. “If we can eliminate some of our own forced errors, we will be okay.”
The Bucs will host Montclair Kimberley Academy in the season opener Friday, Dec. 14 in a Super Essex Conference-Independence Division game. The other teams in the division are Golda Och, Central, Cedar Grove, Livingston, Science Park, and Technology.
Dec. 14, Montclair Kimberley Academy, 4 p.m.
Dec. 18, Science Park, 4 p.m.
Dec. 20, at Central, 4 p.m
Dec. 26, at William Ferguson Holiday Tournament in North Arlington, vs. Paterson Charter, 2 p.m.
Dec. 27, at William Ferguson Holiday Tournament,opponent TBD
Jan. 4, Caldwell, 4 p.m.
Jan. 8, Technology, 4 p.m
Jan. 10, at Livingston, 4 p.m.
Jan. 12, at East Side, 1 p.m.
Jan. 15, at Golda Och, 4 p.m.
Jan. 17, Cedar Grove, 4 p.m.
Jan. 22, at Montclair Kimberley Academy, 4 p.m.
Jan. 26, Central, 1 p.m.
Jan. 29, at Technology, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 31, Orange, 4 p.m.
Feb. 5, Livingston, 7 p.m.
Feb. 9, at Kearny, 1 p.m.
Feb. 12, Golda Och, 4 p.m.
Feb. 14, at Cedar Grove, 7 p.m.
Feb. 16, Dover, 2:30 p.m.
Feb. 19, Bergenfield, 1 p.m.