December 29, 2013 at 12:12 AM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange High School Girls basketball team is not the same team it was last year, or, for that matter, in years prior. With a new coaching staff in place, the 2014 Lady Mountaineers are ringing in the New Year and a new era in West Orange Girls Basketball.
Over the past year, there have been several coaching turnovers at the WOHS. The WOHS Girls Basketball team welcomed new Head Coach Caniece Montague as the Winter Sports season began. Coach Montague is a familiar face in the halls and classrooms of West Orange High School. For the past five years she has taught varying levels of math. That, combined with her prior experience as a basketball coach at Newark Central, made her a perfect candidate to bring the Girls Basketball team to the next level.
In today’s age of advanced coaching styles and techniques, it is not out of the ordinary to see the head coach of a high school team not be in the same school, district, or even be a teacher. With Coach Montague as a full time employee at the high school it is an obvious advantage, and a welcome one at that.
“Being a teacher at WOHS allows me to have a better relationship with the players and keep track of their school work.” said Montague.
As for this season, the sky is the limit for this year’s team. The team encompasses a group of highly talented seniors in forward Taylor Rowland, point guard Jahanayah Howard, forward Gerardine Jean Baptiste and guard Emily Debarbieri along with the supporting cast coming up from lower grade levels.
“The girls are going through a lot of changes this season with a new coaching staff. They are all trying to adjust and learn the new system that my staff and I are implementing. I believe that we can win our conference this year but they have to believe that as well.” added Montague.
The season is just beginning, but the girls are already proving their mettle - and talent. They've won one game against Newark Vocational 68-9; lost one 58-46 v. North Bergen, and won the consolation game at the Cougar Classic this weekend in Cranford, 45-17 v. Kent Place School.
Coach Montague and her staff are well aware of the talent that West Orange’s large high school and school district provides. Montague, along with her staff, have begun a series of youth clinics to build bonds with players and families prior to high school.
“This is a new movement and we will be very successful for years to come. Just come out and support us.” said Montague.
Check out the Girls Basketball team schedule here and plan on checking out a game or two this season.