GLEN RIDGE, NJ- With practice underway and the start of the 2021 season getting closer, the Glen Ridge High girls' basketball team has been enjoying being together, according to first-year head coach Mike DelloRusso.

Glen Ridge will open the regular season on Jan. 28, at Millburn High, starting at 4 p.m. On Jan. 30, the Ridgers play its home opener, versus Verona, at 10 a.m.

DelloRusso may be new to the head coaching job, but he's been on the staff for the past few years, as Glen Ridge enjoyed success under then-head coach Joe Mazzarella. 

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"The kids have been great," said DelloRusso. "I credit that to our captains, first and foremost."

Glen Ridge's senior captains are Jill Goffe and Olivia Carbonell along with junior Elettra Giantomenico.

"They've really taken the leadership role well,' said DelloRusso. 'I like the way they're encouraging their teammates and working hard, by example."

The Ridgers have about 18 players on the roster, including a number of freshmen who could see varsity time soon.

"It's a real good freshman group," the coach said. "They've really surprised me. We lost seven seniors to graduation last spring, and it's never easy replacing kids with four years of experience. But that's part of any program. Kids graduate and new kids move in and hopefully continue to succeed."

The Ridgers have been practicing safely. Equipment is sanitized and the doors to the gym are usually kept open, while the team practices. for better ventilation. The players wear masks as much as possible. 

DelloRusso's coaching staff includes Mike Sammon and Rachael Hogan, both of whom were with the program last season.

DelloRusso feels the conference will be competitive. Glen Ridge will play its conference opponents twice and can also schedule some out-of-conference and cross over games. The maximum amount any high school team can play this season is 15 games. There will be no county or state tournament.

"We just want to get out there and play," the coach said. "We have a scrimmage against Millburn (on Jan. 20), then will get ready for the regular season and play Millburn again, to start. We'll have a good schedule. It should be fun."