By: Isabella Marinello
Though the chaotic start to the 2021 winter season has cast doubts on the season, the girl’s basketball team is set for success nonetheless. The stands will be empty, the protocols will be strict, but that will not stop these girls from getting on the court. Amidst the pandemic, Caldwell Basketball has been giving it their all since the summer. They faced some changes and challenges due to the aforementioned pandemic, but were still working out and meeting via Zoom.
The Chiefs had one of their best records in a long time last season, going 17-9. Their games were exciting with packed stands and a large student section. The girls really made a name for themselves, and ranked top 10 in the Super Essex Conference (SEC). The girls hope to go into the season with the same “dog mentality” says Senior Brielle Guarente, and make the best of their season.
The team will face some challenges with losing some starters that graduated, but returning to the court will be seniors Veronica Wertz, Jamie Pierce, Natalie Lorenz, and Brielle Guarente. Returning sophomores Lauren Sanderson and Cassidy Brown will also be making a major impact on this season. The two girls both made noise their freshman year and will continue to make a great difference on the team this year. Their names are very big in the basketball community and they are players that fans should keep their eye on. The two stepped up and showed that even though they were only freshmen, they could still make a big impact.
The team is also led by senior Jamie Pierce who is poised to have a very successful season this year, and senior Brielle Guarente, who just signed to play at Moravian College next year. Brielle averaged about 16.8 points a game last year, and scored a high of 26 points in the first round of the State Tournament against Verona. Brielle has been on the team since her freshman year and was listed as one of the top players to watch in the SEC.
Last year, the girls went far in both the State Tournament and the Essex County Tournament. They lost in the quarter finals of the Essex County Tournament to Montclair Immaculate, and in the second round of the State Tournament to Fort Lee. The girls also won the annual Christmas holiday tournament. The squad was amped over every win, due to their newfound identity and mentality that they will hope to carry over into this season.
Senior Brielle Guarente stated that “Every day is a gift” given their circumstances. They will be making every moment special, and will be taking extra precautions to avoid a possible shutdown.