WEST ORANGE, NJ – Senior and co-captain of the record-breaking West Orange High School (WOHS) girls basketball team Jewel Burnett was recently named to the NJSIAA All-Star Team and will play in the all-star game on March 19 at Rider University in Lawrenceville.
Burnett will represent WOHS as the first player from West Orange girls basketball to be invited to the all-star team.
“I was surprised when Mr. Bligh (WOHS Athletic Director) told me,” said Burnett, 17, who was selected for her extraordinary action and assists on the court, including a propensity for three-pointers at key moments.
She is a point guard and co-captain of the Mountaineers team along with Deborah Alabi.
“I feel that my team has deserved this run since my freshman year,” said Burnett. “I'm so thrilled about the chemistry, the teamwork, and the lack of drama with our team this year. Everyone genuinely loves each other and it shows on and off the court. I wish I could stay another year just to go on another historic run together.”
Burnett grew up in West Orange, attending Hazel Elementary School, Edison Central Sixth and Roosevelt Middle School. She has two sisters and a brother. Her mom, Joy Burnett, is a first-grade teacher at Gregory Elementary School.
Although Burnett has not yet made a decision on where she will attend college, she said she plans to major in psychology.
“I’m excited to receive more college offers and to make my team proud,” she said.
On Feb. 7, the Mountaineers clinched their first-ever Liberty Division Championship in WOHS history. This was due in no small part to head coach Caniece Williams and assistant coaches Jackie Cruz, Meghan Colabella and Doug Nevins.
"The West Orange girls basketball team has helped to put girls' sports in the forefront at WOHS and the community in a big way," said Burnett. “We finally made a name for ourselves and got the support we felt like we've deserved for years from the school and the town. It feels empowering to have the whole town backing us up the way they are.”
Burnett also noted the incredible success of the high school girls teams this year: tennis, soccer, volleyball and the cheerleading team.
“This year all girls sports are making history and it feels great to be in a girls year,” she said. “This year is a historic season and hopefully we can add more things to our new banner before I graduate in June.”
See more photos of Burnett and team as they took a decisive 61-42 win over Arts High on Feb. 14 in their first Essex County Tournament game here.