CEDAR GROVE, NJ - With a 6-3 record and riding a four-game winning streak, the Cedar Grove Panthers girls basketball is standing tall. With 93 points and 70 rebounds, including a career high game of 29 points against Passaic Charter, junior Ryan Cannataro is leading the way. Cannataro is the Allstate Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week. The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley, Allstate Insurance Agent, 471 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove.
“Ryan was our leading scorer and rebounder as a sophomore, and she is leading the team again this year in both categories,” said Head Coach Bill Scanlon. “What impresses me the most about Ryan is her work ethic -- she is always looking to put in the time to get better. When you combine that with her basketball ability, the result is a very productive player. Ryan is also a leader on our team and very willing to help younger players improve their games.”
The Panthers have had a strong week with four big wins. Though Cannataro may lead the team in stats, she is quick to give her teammates credit for the team’s success as a whole.
“This has been a great week for us. We’ve had four big wins -- Montclair, Millburn, Barringer and Golda Och. It’s been a big week for us and we’re all really proud of that,” Cannataor said. “We may be short, but we’re strong, and we use our strength and quickness to our advantage. Whether we are winning or losing, we don’t back down. We keep pushing and that’s why we’ve been successful.”
Another key to that success according to Cannataro is team chemistry and the overall “team” mentality of the group.
“We’re all so close and everyone has a role and everyone is contributing. Even if someone is sitting on the bench, they are cheering everyone else on,” Cannataro said. “We all have each other's backs and that motivates us. When I’m in the game and struggling I look for them (my teammates) and they hype me up.”
Even with the recent winning streak it was the first game of the season that really stood out for Cannataro and she feels it set the tone for what was to come.
“Our first game really got us started off right. Caldwell is a good team and a big team, and we’d really been talking about nothing else but that game, even before the season started. So beating them was really big for us and was a great way to start off the season,” Cannataro said. “I’m really looking forward to playing them again. That was a fun game.”
With the momentum going their way, the team’s ultimate goal is to win their conference and Cannataro feels good about their chances.
“We definitely want to win our conference. We can play with all the teams in our conference, so I think we have a really good chance. I just want to continue what I’ve been doing, to keep scoring -- to keep my points and rebounds high,” Cannataro said. “We really have drive. We keep playing no matter what, and we’re not in it for ourselves. We’re a team, and we all want the win.”
The Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate, 471 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.