Barnegat Leader Winter Sports Preview

Barnegat Girls Basketball Hopes to Build on Successful Season

Dec 15, 2017

The Barnegat High School girls basketball team had its best season ever in 2016-17, going 16-12, and 7-7 in B South play. It was truly a breakout campaign considering Barnegat went 10-13 in 2015-16, 7-16 in 2014-15 and 4-19 in 2013-14.

Senior co-captain Shannon McCoy, a 5-foot-9 guard and four-year varsity player, was a large part of that turnaround. McCoy averaged 15 points per game while grabbing an average of 10 rebounds for the Bengals last season. If she can post even better numbers this time around, Barnegat could emerge as a B South contender, although Donovan Catholic and Point Pleasant Borough, which respectively went 18-7 (13-1 B South) and 16-10 (10-4) last year, may have something to say about that.

Barnegat lost two key contributors – Ashley Toner, the school’s career assist leader and the second-highest career scorer in Barnegat’s short history, and Roxy Urso – to graduation. But McCoy will have some experienced helpers playing alongside her, including co-captain Ginalee Erskine, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, and a few other classmates in Madison Forsberg, a 5-foot-8 forward, and a pair of 5-foot-4 guards, Madeline Scott and Alexis Furrule. Barnegat will also benefit from the return of Jada Baker, a 5-foot-10 forward who missed most of last season due to injury.

The roster also includes junior Sydney Boyer, a 5-foot-10 forward, junior Nikolina Lozito, a 5-foot-5 guard, and freshmen Kaya Foy, a 5-foot-5 guard, and Ashley Pringle, a 5-foot-4 guard.

Fifth-year head coach Tammy Nicolini is excited about a non-tangible that will never appear in a box score.

“We have great team chemistry this year,” Nicolini told The SandPaper. “The girls really bonded together on the court. The girls really feed off of each other. My captains are really leading the way by pushing their teammates!”

Rather amazingly, Barnegat got off to a hot start last season, going 6-2 in the early stages. Why was that amazing? The Bengals played seven of those games on the road.

Well, Nicolini’s charges will play their first three games on home wood this season, starting off by entertaining Pinelands on Friday, Dec. 15, in a game scheduled to tip off at 5:15 p.m. That will be followed by visits from Lakewood and Ranney, two squads coming off horrible 2016-17 seasons. So there is a good chance Barnegat will start off 3-0.

But for a good gauge of how good this Barnegat team will be this season, you should circle Thursday, Dec. 21, on your calendar. That’s when Nicolini and Co. will travel to Donovan Catholic for a game scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. —R.M.

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