NUTLEY, NJ -- Led by Courtney Wilde on offense with all-round defensive play, the Nutley Raiders girls basketball team grabbed their fifth season win Friday night, giving their rival the Belleville Buccaneers their first conference loss.
After a four-game losing streak, the Raiders improved to (5-15, 2-9 SEC) with the home court victory, while the visitors fell to (15-5, 11-1 SEC).
“We finally played a complete game,” Raiders Head Coach Larry Mitschow told TAPinto Nutley. “From start to finish we played hard and executed.”
Wilde – the sophomore offensive leader – scored six field goals and two free throws en route a game-high 14 points. Freshman Abby Sheidel and junior Sydney Kunz contributed eight points each.
Sophomore Rebecca Granata added another seven points.
“I think when you play a rival like Belleville, you always get a little more fired up,” Mitschow said. “It was nice to see us respond to the challenge like we did.”
The team’s defense was able to prevent all of the offensive Buccaneers from entering double digits.
The opponent’s highest scorers were sophomore Yanyckza Flores and junior Amani Hill, who scored just six points each.
“We communicated with one another, rebounded well and took some charges,” Mitschow said. “I think it was our best defensive effort of the season.
In addition, the coach was able to sub in some younger players who played their first varsity game.
Following the victory, the girls traveled to Millburn and suffered a 59-38 loss to the now (14-4, 8-3 SEC) Millers on Saturday.
With two games left on the regular season schedule, Mitschow feels confident after such a successful rivalry game against one of the strongest teams in the conference.
“The way we played against Belleville gives me some confidence moving forward,” the coach told TAPinto Nutley.
The Raiders will face the (8-13, 3-7 NNJIL) Clifton Mustangs and the (14-6, 10-5 HCIL) Kearny Kardinals before taking on the (14-4, 7-3 SC) Morris Hills Blue Streaks in the first round of the tournament.
The Raiders will host the Mustangs on Thursday. The two teams will tip off at Nutley High School at 7 PM.