NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- The New Providence girls basketball team will open its 2019-2020 season Thursday at Plainfield High School at 5:30 p.m.
The Pioneers, who are coming off a 16-9 season, have a number of quick and versatile guards who head coach Cap Pazdera is hoping will help the team establish a personality as an uptempo squad that can pressure the ball and score a lot in transition.
The team's leading scorer as a sophomore last season, 5-foot-7 junior guard Lindsay Kinum averaged 10 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in 2018-2019. Senior 5-7 guard Kaitlyn Cumiskey--the school's record-breaking lacrosse player--is a defensive sparkplug for the Pioneers who made a team-high 64 steals last season.
Junior Amy Maurer and senior Juliana DeGeorge are also backcourt staples who helped New Providence in a variety of ways last season.
"We are loaded with talented guards," Pazdera said. "We will be small but quick and looking to pressure other teams and push the tempo on both sides of the ball."
Returning in the frontcourt are 5-9 senior Alexa Boyle and 5-8 junior Maddy LaMotta. Pazdera is hoping for them to take up some of the rebounding and interior defensive slack left by the graduation of the team's two top rebounders, Cassandra Barth and Alyssa Nook. Junior 5-10 center Hannah Kelly will join the varsity this year and could also help in the frontcourt.
Pazdera is intrigues by the possibilities offered by two freshmen entering the program, point guard Meghan Lamanna and wing player Grace Kelly.
"I think both freshmen will have significant roles on the team this year and will be key in our success," Pazdera said.
While quickness and defensive pressure figure to make the Pioneers go this season, Pazdera is hoping the team can improve its collective shooting prowess this winter.
"We are hoping to be a better shooting (and) scoring team this year," he said, "and (we're) looking to compete in our division, in Union County and in our section (in the state tournament)."