BASKING RIDGE, NJ — The Ridge girls basketball team, which is scheduled to open its belated regular season Jan. 28 against Immaculata, had a backcourt any coach would envy for the last few seasons.
But with graduation losses hitting the guard position hard, the Red Devils will be fortified this winter by the projected strength of the frontcourt.
Four-year starters Sophie Beneventine--now at Boston University--and Ava Haiback and two-year starter Taylor Smith--now playing Division 1 lacrosse at the University of Colorado--gave Ridge tremendous guard strength en route to a 22-8 season last year, but that was also a season that saw major contributions from center Delaney Donohoe and forward Carly Cambria, each of whom return this season.
Donohoe, a 6-1 senior, averaged 8.7 points and 8.1 rebounds last season, but, possessed with an array of deft inside moves and impressive agility for a forward, she showed the capability to put up more points when they were needed. Donohoe had a four-game stretch heading into the post-season in which she averaged 14.8 points per game.
"We expect Delaney to be a big part of the offense and defense," Ridge head coach Eric Schroeder said.
Cambria contributed 111 points and 112 rebounds in 29 games as a sophomore and should add considerably add to those totals with more minutes and more responsibility this winter.
Senior guard Lauren Feldman, a co-captain with Donohoe, is the most experienced hand in Ridge's backcourt going into this season. She came off the bench to provide quality minutes last season, but will start this season. Junior Maddie Herrera, the third basketball-playing Herrera at Ridge (her two older brothers played in the boys' program), figures as the other backcourt starter.
"We do expect contributions from Lauren, Carly and Maddie, who all played valuable minutes for our team last year," Schroeder said.
Schroeder hopes to get strong minutes from sophomore guard Nancy Puthenpurayil, junior guard Giovanna Guiditta and sophomore forward Lilly Donohoe.
"We are excited about our team this year," Schroeder said. "Led by our captains, Delaney and Lauren, our team will be tough on defense, and we will look to turn that into offense."