SPARTA, NJ – Sparta High School girls basketball has been preparing for their home opener on January 26, as allowed by NJSIAA COVID guidelines. Head Coach Catherine Willie will be leading the varsity girls for her ninth season, looking forward to playing all 15 games of the COVID-19 shortened season.
“We are in a tough conference and every game has a 50/50 chance of winning or losing,” Willie said. “If we stay focused, motivated -without any fans and work to our abilities we should fare well overall.”
The young team will be relying on the leadership of junior Alexa Acker at center and sophomores Bailey Chapman at Guard, Brynn McCurry playing Forward, Mason Munier at Guard and Ally Sweeney at Guard.
While considered a young team with a starting line up that includes four sophomores and a junior, these girls played beyond their years in the 2020 season racking up titles, accolades and solid statistics.
As a freshman, McCurry earned First Team All-NJAC, First Team All-Herald, Hunterdon Warren Sussex Tournament MVP, Second Team All-Group 3. She led the team in points with 468, averaging 16.1 per game, having played in all 29 games last year.
McCurry had 286 rebounds, 113 assists, 49 blocks, 73 steals and 16 double doubles with double-digit stats for points and rebounds.
“Her point total, rebounding, assists, blocks and free throw totals added her to the NJ.com top 100 in the state in each category; 84 in points, 61 in rebounds, 51 in assists, 83 in blocks and 42 in free throws,” Willie said.
As a freshman, Chapman was named to the Second Team All NJCA, Second Team All-Herald, HWS All-Tournament Team. Chapman played in all 29 games last season, starting in 26 of them, putting up big numbers as well.
In the 2020 season Chapman accumulated 236 points, 39 rebounds, 14 assists, 2 blocks and 12 steals. She dropped in 47 three pointers, earning her a rank of 82 in the top 100 3-point shooters in New Jersey by NJ.com.
Sweeney, also a freshman in 2020, earned First Team All-NJAC, First Team All-Herald, HWS All-Tournament Team having started in all 29 games. She put together 354 points, 118 rebounds, 128 assists, 17 blocks and 52 steals. She was ranked 34 out of 100 for assists with an average of 4.4 per game, Willie said.
Munier also started every game as a freshman last year. She put up 193 points, 86 rebounds, 31 assists, three blocks and 37 steals. She earned Second Team All-NJAC for the National Division, according to Willie.
Willie said Acker earned a starting spot late in the 2020 season and “was a big factor off the bench all season long.”
These key players are joined by
- Junior Shauna Ryan at Guard,
- Sophomore Rylee Munier at Forward,
- Sophomore Grace McDonald at Guard,
- Freshman Malaya Dobbs at Guard.
“The team’s strength is that they play as a team,” Willie said. “They do what will help the entire team advance, not just the individual.”
The girls are scheduled to have their home opener on Tuesday, January 26 at 3 p.m. The game will be livestreamed. TAPinto Sparta will post the links to any winter sports when and if they are available.