Bloomfield HS girls’ basketball team seeks another strong season

Grace Cannon and Genesis Collins are key returnees as Lady Bengals look to build off last year’s banner success

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ (updated Wednesday Dec. 7, 8:24 a.m.) – The Bloomfield High School girls’ varsity basketball team ran the table in the division en route to a sensational 2015-16 season.

With two key returning players, the Bengals hope to achieve similar dominance this season while moving to a higher division in the Super Essex Conference.

The Bengals, who last season finished with a stellar 18-5 record and won the SEC-Colonial Division title with a 12-0 divisional mark, will tip off the season Friday, Dec. 16, at Montclair at 7 p.m.

Head coach Dana Morton’s team will be led by returning senior guards Grace Cannon and Genesis Collins. Cannon averaged 16.9 points a game, including eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau, to earn All-SEC-Colonial Division First Team, while Collins was a Second Team selection on the All-SEC-Colonial Division last season.

Cannon has made First Team All-SEC for three straight seasons. In addition,she made both the All Group 4 team and All Junior Team last season.

Cannon enters this season with 1,057 career points.

Aicha Naoua is another key returning player.

Senior Jalia Santos is expected to be major defensive player with her quickness and ability to read offenses.

BHS will move to the Liberty Division of the SEC this season. The Liberty is the second highest division in the conference. The other teams in the division are Bloomfield Tech, West Orange, Mount St. Dominic Academy, Millburn, Livingston, and Columbia.

The Bengals’ goals remain the same for the season: to win the division and advance in the county and state tournaments. The keys will be to “play one game at a time and just playing together,” Morton said. “Leave everything out on the court and the rest will take care of itself.”

Morton, a BHS graduate, enters her fourth season at the helm. Her assistant coaches are Zach Dearwater and Casey Newman.

The Bengals last season lost to West Orange in both the Essex County Tournament and state North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 tournament first rounds in double overtime and overtime respectively.