CLARK, NJ—Although their season is not even halfway over, the Arthur L. Johnson High School girls’ basketball team already has a lot to take pride in.

“So far we have a winning record, and we’re playing as a team. We recently beat Summit by 20 points and proved that our collaboration is unbeatable,” boasted senior captain Lauren Beck. 

The Crusaders are now 5-3, the first time girls’ basketball has sported a winning record after the first eight games of the season in three years.

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After finishing last season with a losing record, as well as a devastating loss to Cinnaminson in the first round of the state tournament, Coach Michelle Sharp vowed to make the 2014-2015 season a successful one. “My only goal for this season is to win,” Sharp stated.

However, both Beck and Sharp knew this season would be tough after losing class of 2014 seniors Kaitie Eipel and Gianna Rebosio.  

“The loss of the class of 2014 has affected us,” Beck admitted. “They were a class of hard work and dedication, but the freshmen this year have stepped up to fill the shoes and benefit the team greatly.” Beck and fellow captains, senior Christina Bonaccorso and junior Dominique Smith, have been great role models for the freshmen, according to Sharp.

With the combination of experienced upperclassmen and determined freshmen, the Crusaders have flourished. “We have had some intense games that we’re very proud of,” Beck said. Most of the team’s wins consist of over 20 point leads, and the team has only suffered one loss of over 20 points thus far.

The team has big aspirations for the remainder of the season. “We want to win the conference and go far in states,” Beck declared. With the strong athletic ability the Crusaders have demonstrated, those goals could definitely become a reality. “This team is doing great so far and there’s so much more to come,” Beck gushed. “It’s such a privilege to be a part of.”

The Crusaders’ next game is scheduled for Tuesday night, when the girls will take on Plainfield on the Johnson court.

Editor's Note: Kelly Vena is an ALJ student reporter who writes for the ALJ Crusader newspaper and the TAP team at ALJ.