CEDAR GROVE, NJ - In a year when the squad will take a step up in level of play the Cedar Grove girls basketball team hopes that a deep roster will help them compete for a title.
“I think it’s going to be a very, very competitive division…it’s very balanced…but I really like this group this year. I really think they can compete in a lot of stuff this year,” said Head Coach Bill Scanlon.
This season the Panthers will move up to the tough Colonial Division in the SEC Conference. The division boasts teams like Caldwell, Livingston, and Millburn among others that have given the squad fits over the years.
“It’s a competitive division…there isn’t a team there that we can’t beat, but if we don’t show up there’s not a team there that can’t beat us,” said Scanlon.
This season Cedar Grove will come in with a weapon they have not had in previous seasons, a deep roster. The squad boasts six players with significant playing experience from last year.
“I have six kids that are very capable starting players, so I’ve got some tough decisions to make, but the fact of the matter is they all are going to play a great deal of basketball. We have some nice depth,” said Scanlon.
Senior Chloe Weinstein will return for the squad at the guard position. Weinstein averaged over six points and four rebounds per game last year for the group.
“[Weinstein] is the best all around. She’s a good shooter, good passer, good rebounder and for her size she’s incredible,” said Scanlon.
Joining Weinstein will be the lethal scoring punch of Ryan Cannataro. Cannataro was a force averaging nine points and eight rebounds per game last season.
“[Cannataro] was our leading scorer and rebounder last year. She works hard on her game. She shoots the ball pretty well from the outside and gets to the foul line more than anyone I’ve seen,” said Scanlon.
Junior Jessica Green will also return to the guard position for the Panthers. Green was the team’s second leading scorer last year with over seven points per game and more than a half dozen double-digit performances.
“[Green] is the best shooter on the team,” said Scanlon.
On the defensive end Molly Bauer will assume the role as the team’s key defender. The junior guard was a thorn in the side of opposing offenses most of last season.
“[Bauer] is an outstanding half court defender and can score a little bit for us,” said Scanlon.
Rounding out the group of key potential starters will be sophomores Anna Chaikowski and Lexi Scivetti. The duo were key role players last season down the stretch off the bench and saw significant time in the group’s playoff games.
“We’ve seen some things we like so we’re very optimistic with this group,” said Scanlon.
While the aforementioned six players are key to the success of the squad it will undoubtedly take a collective team effort to get to their goals. Four additional role players in Danielle Paradiso, Nina Gannon, Mia Nardiello and Giuliana Macioci will also factor into the group’s season this year.
“Our goal is to win the division. I think we’re capable of doing it, and we have the right players to do it,” said Scanlon.
Cedar Grove will open their season on December 20 against Caldwell High School.
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.