There’s no doubt Roselle Catholic will once again be among the teams to beat in Union County girls’ basketball this season.
As the season progresses, however, will the defending Union County Tournament champions be the team to beat?
That’s one goal the Lions, who finished 22-5 last year, are working on.
Roselle Catholic split with Patrick School last season, but it was the Celtics of Elizabeth that captured the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division championship by one game – Patrick School was 9-1 and RC 8-2. The Lions also split with third place Westfield, which finished 7-3.
Roselle Catholic has three returning starters, including Albany-bound senior forward Taniya Hanner (6-1), senior point guard Jenissa Encarnacion (5-6) and junior guard Kayla Haywood (5-7).
Hanner is a four-year varsity starter who begins the season with 861 points and 512 rebounds. Another quality season could see Hanner easily surpass 1,000 points and approach 800 rebounds.
Encarnacion is a four-year varsity performer and three-year varsity starter who moves to point guard for the first time. A very good student, Encarnacion is being recruited by several Division 2 and 3 colleges.
Junior forward Nina Worthey (6-2), a key player off the bench last season, is garnering attention from quite a few Division 1 programs. A lefty, Worthey is a starter for the first time.
The Watchung Division is aligned differently this season. There were six teams last year, with New Providence and Union dropping down to the Mountain Division and Oak Knoll moving up to the Watchung. So this year there are five teams in the Watchung: Cranford, Oak Knoll, Patrick School, Roselle Catholic and Westfield.
Oak Knoll and Summit, which split against each other, shared the Mountain Division championship last year with 8-2 records.
LIONS TOP KING’S CHRISTIAN IN DEC. 15 OPENER
As part of the opening weekend’s Hearts to Hands event at Roselle Catholic, the Lions defeated King’s Christian of Cherry Hill 41-16 Saturday, Dec. 15 in the season-opener for both.
Encarnacion poured in a game-high 17 points and also dished out seven assists. She scored seven points in the second quarter to help the Lions get out to a 16-9 lead at intermission.
Hanner produced a double-double, netting 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She also came up with four steals and scored six of her points to spark a 12-0 run the Lions produced in the third quarter.
Haywood didn’t score, but played very well defensively and finished with 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal.
Roselle Catholic outscored the South Jersey school 12-0 in the third quarter and 13-7 in the fourth.
The least amount of points the Lions yielded last year were 15 in the team’s final victory – a 74-15 home win over Doane in the first round of the Non-Public, South B state playoffs.
Taniya Hanner, (6-1), forward
Jenissa Encarnacion, (5-6), point guard
LaToya Alexander, (5-8), forward
Kayla Haywood, (5-7), guard
Janelle McNeill, (5-4), guard
Nina Worthey, (6-2), forward
Amaris Jenkins, (5-7), forward
Hanner, Encarnacion, Haywood
RETURNING (KEY) RESERVES:
OFF THE BENCH:
Joe Skrec, 23rd season
Charlie Wischusen, 12th season
Tim Hagan, 5th season
Allison Skrec 2nd season
JV coach: Dennis Quigley, 16th season
Notes: Every member of the
RC girls’ basketball coaching staff
is an RC graduate:
Joe Skrec (1984)
Charlie Wischusen (1970)
Tim Hagan (2003)
Allison Skrec (2010)
Dennis Quigley (1975)
Allison Skrec, who played collegiately at
Manhattan, is the program’s all-time
Colleen Badalis, senior
Kaitlyn Matta, senior
(H) Roselle Catholic 41, King’s Christian 16
(H) Roselle Catholic 57, Kent Place 55
Dec. 22 Westfield, noon
Dec. 27 Matawan, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 29 RC Holiday Tournament, TBA
Jan. 6 Curtis, NY, noon, at Staten Island
Jan. 8 Patrick School, 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 Oak Knoll, 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 New Providence, 1 p.m.
Jan. 13 Hackensack at Paterson, TBA
Jan. 15 at Westfield, 4 p.m.
Jan. 20 Pingree, Mass., TBA
Say Yes To Success in NY
Jan. 22 at Cranford, 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Oak Knoll, 11 a.m.
Jan. 29 at Patrick School, TBA
Feb. 2 Notre Dame, noon
Feb. 7 Cranford, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 at St. Vincent, 4 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Middlesex, 11 a.m.
RC HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Thursday, Dec. 27
JV: West Orange vs. TBA, 3 p.m.
V: West Orange vs. Hudson Catholic, 4:30 p.m.
JV: Matawan vs. Roselle Catholic, 6 p.m.
V: Matawan vs. Roselle Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29
JV: Consolation, 10:30 a.m.
V: Consolation, noon
JV: Championship, 1;30 p.m.
V: Championship, 3 p.m.