Roselle Catholic girls with new coach, start 2-1

Danaejah Grant, who starred at Piscataway High School, St. John’s University and also in the WNBA, has taken over as the head coach of the Roselle Catholic High School girls basketball team.

ROSELLE, NJ — The Roselle Catholic High School girls basketball team, seeking to build on last year’s improved 12-14 finish, is off to a solid start after its first three games.

After holding their own against defending Union County Conference-Watchung Division champion New Providence High School in a close 61-54 setback in their season and home opener on Thursday, Dec. 14, the Lions rebounded nicely with two wins against tough division rivals.

Roselle Catholic’s first victory of the season was a 46-43 triumph at Westfield High School on Saturday, Dec. 16, with the Lions outscoring the host Blue Devils 17-5 in the third quarter to take the lead before the fourth quarter commenced.

That triumph was followed up with a big 46-39 win at 1-0 Cranford High School on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Roselle Catholic won the fourth quarter 18-12 after entering the final eight minutes ahead by only one point against the host Cougars, coached by Allison Skrec.

Joe Skrec, Allison’s father, is no longer the head coach at Roselle Catholic. That position now belongs to Danaejah Grant, who excelled as a player in high school at Piscataway, in college at St. John’s University and professionally in the WNBA.

After graduating from Piscataway in 2012, Grant starred for three years at St. John’s, where she scored nearly 1,500 points and was a two-time All-Big East Conference selection.

Following her senior season at St. John’s, Grant was named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American.

Grant graduated from St. John’s in 2016 with a degree in criminal justice and was pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Seton Hall University in South Orange, where she began to coach during the 2018-2019 season.

Grant’s role at Seton Hall was that of coordinator of basketball operations. She assisted in practice planning, travel and meal arrangements and video exchange.

Grant was drafted by the WNBA’s Washington Mystics in the third round of the 2016 WNBA Draft. After her time in Washington, Grant made overseas playing stops in Turkey, Austria, Israel and Puerto Rico.

Joe Skrec and his staff, all Roselle Catholic graduates, won more than 400 games in 27 seasons at Roselle Catholic. Skrec is a 1984 Roselle Catholic graduate and his daughter, Allison, graduated in 2010.

Skrec and his staff guided Roselle Catholic to Union County Tournament championships in 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2018.
In the first Lions win this year, it was a three-point basket by sophomore Jordyn Batts in the game’s final minute that propelled Roselle Catholic to its three-point victory at Westfield.

Sidney Smith, a Roselle Park resident, paced the Lions in scoring with a 20-point performance. Jasmin McKay of North Plainfield poured in 11.

Against Cranford, McKay led the Lions with 20 points, while Smith and Gabby Brown netted 10 each.

McKay, a junior, led Roselle Catholic last year with 444 points. Smith, a sophomore, poured in 402 points last year as a freshman. Zahniya Castillo, now a sophomore, paced the Lions in rebounds last year with 181.

Roselle Catholic entered holiday break week with an overall record of 2-1 and also a 2-1 record in the UCC’s Watchung Division. The Lions were scheduled to play Nutley High School on Tuesday, Dec. 26, and next play Trenton High School on Thursday, Dec. 28, in what is called a Holiday Hoopfest.

Roselle Catholic is scheduled to resume Watchung Division play on Thursday, Jan. 4, at home against Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School at 7 p.m. in The Lion’s Den. Scotch Plains-Fanwood began its season 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Watchung Division as of Wednesday, Dec. 20.

From Thursday, Jan. 4, to Monday, Feb. 5, Roselle Catholic has 10 regular season games scheduled. The seven-schools Watchung Division this year consists of New Providence, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Roselle Catholic, Elizabeth, Oak Knoll, Cranford and Westfield.

Out of division games Roselle Catholic has scheduled include home against DePaul Catholic High School on Saturday, Jan. 20. at 11 a.m.; home vs. Mountain Division foe Plainfield High School on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m.; home against Secaucus High School on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 11:30 a.m.; and home vs. Mountain Division rival Union Catholic on Monday, Feb. 5, at a time still to be determined.

The Union County Tournament and then state tournament play will follow.

Photo Courtesy of WNBA