RANDOLPH, NJ- With only one senior and three juniors on the roster, the 2017-18 season for the Randolph girls’ basketball team will be entering a youth movement that may cause growing pains now, but should pay dividends in the future.
The teams’ lone senior, guard Danielle Maxwell, is returning to the court after a one year injury hiatus.
“Danielle is one of the nicest kids you will ever come across, one that everyone likes,” said head coach Pete Torres. “She works extremely hard, and fought back from an ACL injury she sustained last year. Because of that, this honor ( being named the lone captain ) is one that I felt she deserved.”
Torres is entering his second year as head coach after being an assistant for nine years, having led his team to a 14-11 record in his debut season.
Graduation took away his starting point guard, center, and power forward, all of whom were three-year varsity players and collectively led the team in every statistical category. The scoring, ball handling, rebounding, and leadership those three players provided will need to be replaced this season by younger players stepping up.
“We are very young, but we have some very good talent,” said Torres. “Where we end up will be determined on how fast our youngsters grow up and acclimate themselves to the varsity game.”
As captain, Maxwell is trying to help boost the confidence and motivate her young teammates.
“Our quote for this year is “Age and size are only numbers, it’s the attitude you bring to the court that makes a difference”, said Maxwell. “That’s the message I want to send to my teammates, being a young team does not have to be a hindrance. How we preform will depend on our attitude and work ethic. My team has heart, and that will always overcome age and size.”
Torres does have some returning experience however, and identified Juniors Julia Wiersum (G/F), Juliette LaMancuso (F), and Samria Santana, (G/F) as players who have varsity time under their belts, and need to step up and become leaders this season.
Two sophomore returners who saw the court last season are Ellie Sciancalapore (F) and Alyssa Alfieri (G), and Torres will look for them to mature quickly as well.
Torres identified his teams’ strengths as athleticism and quickness.
“We will need to use this ( Athleticism and quickness ) on the defensive end for this team to be successful,” said Torres. “We are hoping that our defense leads to points for our offense.”
Maxwell echoed Torres’ sentiments on what the team has been focusing on.
“Coach has been preaching that we will be using our athleticism to our advantage this year,” said Maxwell. “We did a lot of training in the off season, focusing on not only basketball skills, but also on fitness to ensure we would come into the season in shape. This year we will be running the court non-stop, baseline to baseline.”
Some key newcomers who will work into the mix include sophmores Hailey Tamres (G), and Cassandra Saybe (F), along with freshmen Angelenn Mulero (G), Olivia Turner (F) and Petra Csayni (F)
“We are as young as we have ever been, but we put in off season conditioning requirements which had to be met on the first day of Tryouts,” said Torres. “I am excited to see what this group can accomplish due to the work they have put in. I think we will be a fun and exciting team to watch. What that equates to in wins, we will see.”
The Lady Rams dropped their season opener on the road at Sparta, losing 31-21. They return to the court Wednesday Dec. 20 for their home opener against Morris Knolls.