ROONEY, CARAYANNOPOULOS, DOHERTY, REED RETURN
Challenging days could be on the menu this season for the Westfield High School girls basketball team that graduated a heaping helping of talented athletes from last year’s squad that tallied 20 wins. But although there will be plenty of fresh faces on the court, this year’s team is hungry for success.
“We will have a young team this year – a lot of which have already begun to step up,” said Blue Devil Head Coach Liz McKeon. “We are excited to see everyone grow and start to find out where everyone fits. While the faces and names may be different this year, the heart and hustle will not. Our newcomers have been in the Westfield Basketball program for years and they know what it takes and are committed to the culture the girls before them have bought into and made so successful.”
Last year’s team not only recorded a 20-7 record but also achieved it with an even more competitive schedule. They managed to knock off some state ranked teams and also finished 10-2 in the Union County Conference. But the vacant slots due to the graduation of four-year veterans Annie Ryan, Paige Gorczyca and Sutton Factor will be quite a challenge for the Blue Devils to fill.
Last year, Ryan led the team with 352 points, 49 3-pointers and 72 steals. Ryan finished her career with 140 3-pointers and 1,022 career points to become the sixth Blue Devil girl to ever score 1,000. She sits fifth alltime and passed Coach McKeon in her final game.
Gorczyca was second in scoring last season with 333 points and 42 3-pointers. She finished with 951 career points (7th all-time), 596 rebounds (4th alltime). Factor seemed to have had the assignment of keeping close tabs on the opposing teams’ most dangerous scoring threats. She finished with 508 career points (23rd all-time), 349 rebounds (10th all-time), 254 assists (5th all-time – still holds single season record with 146 assists in 2022) This season the Blue Devils expect to get good mileage from senior guard Sara Rooney and junior forward Catie Carayannopoulos. Last year Carayannopoulos pulled a team-leading 228 rebounds and 47 blocked shots to go with 209 points (1 3pointer, 38 free throws), 44 steals and 38 assists. Rooney finished with 190 points, including 20 3-pointers and 34 free throws, 96 rebounds, 30 assists, 52 steals and five blocks.
Also returning senior forward/ guard Erin Doherty (9 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 8 steals) will add leadership. Senior guard Makenna Reed finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals. “As for the returners, they all have at least one year under their belt. We are looking forward to all of them making strides and stepping into leadership roles. Sara and Catie are returning starters and know what it takes to compete at the highest of levels of NJ high school basketball. We are looking for Sara and Catie to help guide the newcomers with the competitive schedule we have ahead,” Coach McKeon said.
Sophomore guard Megan Logan received plenty of playing time on the court last year and will be quite an asset this season. Logan finished with 91 rebounds, 72 points (7 3-pointers), 27 assists, 26 blocks and 31 steals.
“Megan Logan! She will be starting this year and we are excited for her to jump into a larger role this year,” Coach McKeon expressed.
The Blue Devils will open their season at home against the Cranford Cougars today, December 14, at 4 p.m. On Saturday, December 16, the Blue Devils will host the Roselle Catholic Lions at 11 a.m. Then on Tuesday, December 19, they will travel to Scotch Plains to do battle with the Raiders at 4 p.m.
Coach McKeon commented, “As always, we are looking forward to the season! While we lost an amazing senior class to graduation, they left quite the legacy that we will continue to build off of.”