Girls Basketball: New Era Begins as New Providence Prepares for New Look

Junior Katie Kinum (center - No. 1) jumps into the leadership role with Sydney Morang transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. Credits: Alli Lamhing

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Pioneer girls’ basketball team were living high in the middle of June. Close to three months after beating Haddon Township for the NJSIAA Group 1 title, New Providence already had plans for a repeat. And why not?

The best scorer in New Providence basketball history, Sydney Morang, was primed to return for her senior season, while her cousin, Katie Kinum, was also expected to be even better than she was during her sophomore season.

Then, in a matter of seconds right before school let out for the summer, Morang dropped a bomb shell that no one saw coming. The University of Florida commit was transferring to Florida’s IMG Academy for her senior season in preparation for college basketball.

Sign Up for E-News

The room was devastated. Shock set in on everyone, including head coach Cap Pazdera.

“You’re on cloud 9 when you win the championships,” Pazdera said. “Thinking about what we had coming back for the next year, you set your goals, you start thinking about what next season is going to be like. When somebody of Syndey's’s caliber tells you that she’s not coming back, it wasn't very easy for anybody, let alone her. I don't think she wanted to go either. It was a tough situation for everybody.”

Pazdera and his coaching staff went right back to the drawing board to try and come up with a plan to make the 2015-16 season as successful as the previous one…and they didn’t have to go far.

Similar to the boys’ team, the Lady Pioneers followed the “Next Man Up” mentality, putting this year’s squad in the hands of relatively new leaders, Kinum and the rest of her junior class.

“It's a lot different this year,” Kinum said. “Last year, towards the end, I became more of a “step-up” leader. Now, I think it is more apparent that is my role here. That's the one thing I really want to work on this year, that we’re really strong and united together. It definitely changed. Even coming in the first day of practice, you can see a change. All the juniors are in this role this year.”

Despite losing their best player in decades, New Providence still returns a star-studded lineup of contributing players with Kinum and Pazdera hoping to pull all the right strings. Sharpshooter Hannah Caminiti returns, 18 months removed from ACL surgery that forced her to fully return the Pioneers in the middle of last year.

Also returning for New Providence is the one most responsible for the Lady Pioneers’ victory over Haddon Township in the Group 1 Championship game, Sarah Zeto.

The now junior point guard scored six-second half points to seal New Providence’s title run.

Between Kinum, Caminiti, Zeto and Brielle Carleen, the Lady Pioneers are loaded with a junior class that already has experience playing in the big game. Now, its just a matter of getting the team to that position.

“All of our juniors have really stepped up,” Pazdera said. “Brielle [Carleen], Hannah [Caminiti], Katie [Kinum], Sarah [Zeto], they’re all kind of leading the way, leading the charge. Having the experience from last year, having a taste of it, knowing what it takes to get there, all four of them have showed up and kind of done a good job showing the younger girls what hard work is and what its going to take.”

This year’s New Providence team faces more challenges than just the loss of Morang. On top of moving to one of New Jersey’s premiere girls’ basketball sections, Central Jersey, Group 2, that features top-tiered programs like Rumson-Fair Haven and Manasquan, the Pioneers will also have no idea what to expect their opponents to do defensively.

While they grew accustomed to seeing double- and triple-teams when Morang was on the floor, that won’t be the case anymore. For the Pioneers to be successful, they need to be prepared for anything and everything.

“I don't know what to expect,” Pazdera said. “We’re preparing for it all. I’m hoping the double- and triple-teams won’t be as effective as they were last year. I think we’re a different team. There is more responsibilities on each of the girls’ shoulders as far as the offensive load is concerned. I think they’re ready to step up and handle it.”

Kinum and the rest of the Pioneers tip-off their season on Saturday when Cranford visits at 1 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 18, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

CRANFORD, NJ – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, July 18, 9:00 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Cardio Sculpt Express

Health & Wellness


Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Yoga for Everybody

Health & Wellness

Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Berkeley Heights Public Library, Berkeley Heights

Story Time & Craft with DIVA DELORES AND THE ...



Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

My Gym New Providence, New Providence

Summer Camp

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness Other Sports


Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, July 18, 5:45 PM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Power Core Yoga

Health & Wellness

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Beneficiary Forms - As Important as Your Will

As you plan for the future, don’t leave out one of the most overlooked must-do’s: naming the beneficiaries of your retirement assets. Updating your beneficiary forms ensures that the legacy you worked so hard to build will be distributed correctly. Don’t delay -- the designations on your beneficiary forms supersede those stated in your Will. 

Try answering the ...