Glen Ridge HS girls basketball team seeks another successful season

Photos by Steve Ellmore.
Glen Ridge High’s Sarah Cullinan eyes up a shot in a game against Brearley last year.
Glen Ridge High’s Haleigh Pine drives during a game against Newark Arts last season.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge High School girls varsity basketball team enjoyed a fine 17-7 season last winter.

With a good returning group, the Ridgers are poised to continue that success this season.

Key returners:

  • Sarah Cullinan, senior captain/guard, second-year captain
  • Haleigh Pine, senior captain/guard
  • Michaila Dowd, senior forward
  • Olivia Carbonell, junior guard
  • Elettra Giantomenico, sophomore guard

Key Newcomers:

  • Ava Rollo, senior guard
  • Jill Goffe, junior forward
  • Taylor Goffe, sophomore forward
  • Holly Vincent, sophomore guard

Head coach Joe Mazzarella, entering his third season at the helm, likes the team’s athleticism and defense. Most of the players are three-sport athletes, he noted.

The Ridgers have moved up to the Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division, which is the second highest division in the conference after being in the Colonial Division, which was the third highest. Last year, they were the No. 8 seed in the Essex County Tournament and reached the quarterfinals where they lost to No. 1 seed Newark Tech. In the North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 state tournament, the third-seeded Ridgers advanced to the quarterfinals where they fell to No. 6 seed Arts to end the season.

Mazzarella outlined his team’s goals.

“As always, our goals are to compete for a conference title and to advance further than the year prior in the county and state tournaments,” he said. “This will obviously be difficult to do, since we are now in the SEC-Liberty Division. GR girls basketball has not competed in this high of a conference in a number of years. We moved up due to the outstanding season we had last year.”

To achieve those goals, the Ridgers will look to utilize their athleticism and toughness and lean on their three senior captains who have been starting since their sophomore season, which was Mazzarella’s first yeat at the helm.

The assistant coaches this year are Mike Sammon, in his 36th year as a GR basketball assistant; Mike DelloRusso, in his second year, and Rachael Hogan, who is in her third year.

The key players lost to graduation are Claire McMahon, a 1,000-point career scorer and two-time first team all-conference player, and Jenny Lisovicz, a two-year starter and first team all-conference player last year. The two players combined for more than 700 points last year.

The Liberty Division includes West Essex, Verona, Columbia, Newark Academy, Nutley and Payne Tech.

The Ridgers will open the season Dec. 19 when they host Columbia at 6 p.m.


Dec. 19, Columbia, 6 p.m.

Dec. 27-28, Bloomfield Holiday Classic

Jan. 3, Newark Academy, 4 p.m.

Jan. 4, at Newark Central, 1 p.m.

Jan. 6, Livingston, 4 p.m.

Jan. 9, Payne Tech, 4 p.m.

Jan. 11, Belleville, 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 14, at Verona, 4 p.m.

Jan. 16, at West Essex, 7 p.m.

Jan. 18, at Cedar Grove, 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 21, Nutley, 4 p.m.

Jan. 23, at Columbia, 4 p.m.

Jan. 25, Millburn, 10 a.m.

Jan. 28, at Newark Academy, 4 p.m.

Jan. 30, Kinnelon, 4 p.m.

Feb. 6, at Payne Tech, 4 p.m.

Feb. 11, Verona, 7 p.m.

Feb. 13, West Essex, 4 p.m.

Feb. 18, at Brearley, 4 p.m.

Feb. 20, at Nutley, 6 p.m.