Belleville HS girls’ basketball players earn accolades

BELLEVILLE – Despite finishing with a 5-18 record, the Belleville High girls’ varsity basketball team featured a few strong contributors.

Gianna Benacquista, a junior forward, was voted to the All-Super Essex Conference-Independence second team. Jehan Dabon, a freshman, was selected honorable mention on the All-SEC-Independence.

Benaquista also was named to the Worrall Media All-Area honorable mention.

This season, Benacquista led the team in rebounds (132) and blocks (42); was second in three-pointers made (11); and third in points (123). She averaged 5.9 points per game.

In the Bucs’ second-to-last game of the season, Benacquista scored 17 points in a good matchup with Bogota. “At one point in the third quarter, we pulled ahead, but eventually lost the game by a few baskets,” said BHS head coach Liz Ramirez of the tough 49-44 loss.

The Bucs this season defeated Newark Central twice, Golda Och Academy, Dover and St. Elizabeth. The Central and Golda Och games were in the division.

Dabon did a fine job in running the varsity point guard position as a freshman this year, scoring 130 points, which ranked second on the team. She averaged 6.8 points per game. “It was a lot to ask of her, but she consistently contributed to every game she played in,” Ramirez said.

The Bucs were encouraged by the play of freshman Yanyczka Flores, who was promoted to the team halfway through the season based on her play on the freshman/junior varsity level.

“She seems to be the one on the team with the most raw talent and instincts for the game,” Ramirez said.

The team’s seniors who will be graduating are Priscilla Olavarria, Keila Garcia, and Janae Bryant.  Olavarria led the team in points with 161 for an average of 8.5 points per game.

Besides Benacquista, the other juniors on the team are Najalis Gual, Vivian Ojeda, and Francesca Russo.