SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — The current Saddle Brook High School varsity girls basketball team followed in the footsteps of its predecessor from two years ago in more ways than one.
The Saddle Brook Falcons set a school-record with 23 wins two years ago while many of the current players were freshmen and sophomores. After a year to regroup the team's ready to make more highlights with a 9-2 start.
"We have similar team goals to win 20-plus games so that would put us in the conversation [with 2013-2014]," head coach Darren White said.
The Falcons play an unselfish ball that helped them to a strong start, White said.
"The kids come to practice, they work hard," he said. "They walk on the court regardless of who we're playing and they expect to win."
Two of Saddle Brook's leaders, Cherie Smedlie and Brianna Brooks, are each approaching the 1,000 career-point plateau. Both downplayed their personal achievements while promoting team success.
"I'm not really focusing on it because it will get in my head too much," Brooks said. "I just try to score as much as I can."
Smedlie said she thinks the second time through the schedule they'll do even better and avenge some prior losses.
Saddle Brook's only two defeats came against Hasbrouck Heights and St. Mary's.
Seniors Tori Lipari and Karisa Quimby, junior Jamie Latona and sophomores Asia Rivera and Tara Taylor help round out the roster for the Falcons.
The added experience has made all the difference, Quimby said.
"I think we have all-around great performers," she said. "We have great defenders, great 3-point shooters, great people at the post and I think we're all very balanced."