Highland’s girls’ basketball team won the Section 9, Class B title last season, and the team returns intact without a senior that played part-time for them.
Bri Rozzi, Candace McCutcheon, Jayda Jackson, Mia Beck, Sam Garcia and Emily Peterson, all of which had plenty of playing time last year, return to help the Huskies defend their title this season.
“Everybody is going to contribute,” said Jim Malak, Highland’s coach, “at least the way they did last season.”
The Huskies open the season at Newburgh Free Academy, Dec. 6, and their schedule will have them play Middletown, Pine Bush and Valley Central, other Section 9, Class AA teams year.
Wallkill, a Class A power, will also play Highland in a league game. Highland beat Spackenkill in the sectional title game last season, and faced Irvington in the playoffs. Now Highland scrimmages Irvington on the road this week.
And three days after opening the season at NFA, the Huskies head back to Westchester County for a tournament at Briarcliff Manor.
And while they are playing bigger schools or scrimmaging Irvington, the Huskies will also contend with teams like Rondout, Marlboro and Spackenkill to defend their sectional title.
“I think we can do it again and go beyond what we did last year,” said Rozzi, who is poised to score a 1,000 career points this season.
The team has been playing together since they were young, long before they were in high school. Now they are successful and a sectional power, and that’s something this squad has wanted since they were growing up.
“The chemistry we have built,” said Rozzi, “we were talking about this when we were young.”
By Bond Brungard