Nutley HS girls basketball team boasts strong experience this season

NUTLEY, NJ — The Nutley High School girls basketball team, under 10th-year head coach Larry Mitschow, is looking forward to the season with a strong returning group.

The Raiders will tip off the season on Dec. 17, at New Providence

Here is the team roster:

  • Mackenzie Albert, senior guard
  • Alex Twomey, senior guardr
  • Stephanie Luberto, senior center
  • Megan Riccardi, junior center
  • Anna Green, sophomore guard
  • Cynthia Depersio, sophomore guard
  • Mina Shaw, sophomore forward
  • Morgan Dolaghan, sophomore guard
  • Riley Sebastiano, sophomore guard
  • Grace Christie, freshman forward
  • Sofia Miller, freshman forward
  • Cassey Arroyo, freshman guard
  • Hannah Pollail, freshman forward
  • Isabel Riccardi, freshman center

Mitschow is excited about this year’s team that looks to bounce back from a tough season..

“After finishing a disappointing 2-10 during last season’s shortened 

schedule, we are very excited to get back on the court for a fresh 

start,” he said. “We are still competing in the American Division of the SEC (Super Essex Conference), which is always a very difficult challenge with the top teams in the  county and state every year. We return our full roster from last  season, after not having graduated any seniors. With a nice  combination of returning players and promising freshmen, this season should have better results. Our goal this year will be to make the state tournament and hopefully win some games when we get there. Playing in Essex County and competing in our division should set us up nicely to challenge the teams in our section when we hopefully get to the states.

“This preseason has been about the players getting to know one another and building team chemistry,” continued Mitschow. “The last three scrimmages we have shown great improvement in teamwork and skill development.”

Mitschow cited his team’s strengths.

“I would say the strength of our team is going to be our defense and depth off the  bench,” he said. “We work every practice on team defense and helping each other  out. Also, I haven’t had the luxury of being able to look down the bench and have so many options to put in the game like we should this year. We typically play seven kids, this year could be as many as 10 or 11. One area where we need to improve is putting the ball in the basket. Our shooting percentage in the preseason has been pretty low  so far. We just have to keep working in practice and put the time in to improve individually as well.” 

Mitschow said the three senior captains –.Albert, Twomey and Luberto – will provide great leadership.  “All three will be great role models for our younger girls,” he said. “All three have at least three years of varsity experience, so we will be leaning on them more than ever,” Mitschow said. 

Mitschow also has been impressed by the younger players.

“Anna Green, a sophomore guard, looked  great over the summer, so we are expecting big things from her this season,” he said. “Three freshmen should have an immediate impact on the varsity level – Grace Christie, Isabel Riccardi and Sofia Miller. All three will  be competing for a starting role. Megan Riccardi, Mina Shaw, Riley  Sebastiano and Morgan Dolaghan will be asked to play a larger role this year after seeing varsity minutes last year. Newcomer Cynthia DePersio also showed promise over the summer, and will be asked to contribute.”

NOTES — The Raiders, under Mitschow, won the 2014-2015 North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 championship, led by Blair Watson, who was a junior on that team, after being runner-up in the sectional tournament the previous season. Watson was named a McDonald’s All-American as a senior and finished with a school record 2,127 points for her career. She continued her career  at the University of Maryland.

The assistant coaches are Matt Francello and Kara McNish. 

Mitschow, a NHS graduate, served as a NHS assistant boys basketball coach prior to becoming the NHS girls head coach. Overall, he is in his 24th year coaching at NHS.

Nutley schedule

  • Dec. 17: New Providence, away, 5:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 21: Columbia, home, 4 p.m.
  • Dec. 27-28, 30: Lodi Holiday tournament, opponents and times to be determined
  • Jan. 4: East Orange Campus, away, 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 6: Glen Ridge, away, 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 8: Arts, away, 11:30 a.m.
  • Jan. 10: Belleville, home, 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 11: Montclair Immaculate Conception, home, 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 13: West Essex, away, 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 15: Clifton, away, 11:30 a.m.
  • Jan. 18: University, home, 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 20: West Orange, home, 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 22: Lyndhurst, home, 11:30 a.m.
  • Jan. 25: Columbia, away, 5:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 29: Millburn, home, 11:30 a.m.
  • Feb. 1: East Orange Campus, home, 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 5: Demarest, away, 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 8: Montclair Immaculate Conception, away, 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 10: West Essex, home, 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 17: University, away, 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 22: Bloomfield, home, 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 24: Fair Lawn, home, 4 p.m.