CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Cedar Grove girls basketball game has won its last four games in a big way.  Helping them with a combined 30 points, including 12 against St. Vincent’s is senior captain Gianna Bocchino -- the Allstate Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week.  The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley, Allstate Insurance Agent, 471 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove.

“I believe the most important thing Gianna does for our team is provide leadership.  We are a very young team with five sophomores and four freshmen on varsity, and Gianna is our only senior,” said Head Coach Bill Scanlon.  “As a captain, along with junior captain Chloe Weinstein, it is her responsibility every day to set the example of hard work for the rest of the team, and they do it well.  Gi has been a valuable contributor on the varsity since her sophomore year, she is never afraid to take a big shot, and some of her best games have been in our biggest games.”

Knowing the team is young, Bocchino aims to take the season game by game and work hard to improve.  After kicking the season off with two big wins, Cedar Grove hit a rough patch, but they seem to be back on track now.

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“We’re a young team for the most part.  We’re just trying to work hard and win as many games as we can,” Bocchino said.  We’re still learning, but I think we’re getting better every game so we’ll see where it takes us.”

As for challenges, Bocchino cites size as one that her team often has to overcome.  

“The hardest thing for our team is we’re small.  I think our tallest girl is Ryan (Cannataro) and when we go against other teams she’s usually the size of their smallest player,” Bocchino explained.  “It’s hard to go against teams like that. We need to outwork them all of the time.”

The Panthers have proven that they can outwork some of the bigger schools with an early season victory against Newark Central.

“Our first win against Central was great.  We played there on a Friday night at 7 p.m. -- the crowd was rough, the game was rough, the refs were rough,” Bocchino said.  “To be able to go there and open the season with a win like that was big for us.”

Looking ahead Bocchino hopes to pull off more victories like that one and win the conference title -- Cedar Grove is currently in second place.  

As for her selection as Athlete of the Week, Bocchino seemed honored by the recognition.

“It’s kind of special actually.  Since I’ve been younger I’ve seen other girls named Athlete of the week and kind of hoped that I would have that too,” Bocchino.  “So to eventually get it makes me feel happy.”

The Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate, 471 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove. 

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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