Basketball season gets under way

HAMBURG. Girls team has only one returning player, while four are back on the boys team.

| 09 Dec 2023 | 08:21

The Wallkill Valley Regional High School basketball teams have worked very hard during the off-season.

The season starts this week, with the girls playing at Morris Tech on Thursday, Dec. 14 and the boys set to host Pequannock on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Girls team

The girls basketball team has only one returning varsity player from last year: Jackie Schels.

“Jackie is our captain and leader,” said head coach Earl Hornyak. “She attained the 1,000-point mark last year as a junior and averages double-digit rebounds a game. She is a very solid, well rounded player. The girls look to her for guidance.

“Overall, we are a very young team that is eager to learn and works very hard. Jackie is doing an outstanding job of showing them the way.’’

Wallkill Valley had a 16-12 record last season and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North 1 Group 1 Sectional Tournament, where they were defeated by Passaic Charter. They toppled New Milford in the opening round.

“We have some promising newcomers: senior Kirsten Albert, junior Rebecca Krueger, junior Kelly Ordonez, sophomore Gabriella Kuhar, sophomore Diamond Alvarado, freshman Kate Fahrenfeld, freshman Tara Anderson, freshman Julianna Capriglione, freshman Katie Klackowski, freshman Alexy Weaver and freshman Kiera Nicolai. We have a wonderful freshman group that hopefully will continue to make positive progress.’’

This winter, the team competes in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Freedom Division along with High Point, Jefferson, Hackettstown, North Warren and Morris Tech.

“Being an overall young and inexperienced team, one of our main goals is to show continued improvement and be as competitive as possible,’’ Hornyak said. “We play in the very tough Freedom Division. Jefferson always dominates the division and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We hope to be as competitive with all the division teams as possible.

“Our team goal: We want to continue learning and improving, be competitive, give 100 percent, have some fun and make some memories along the way.’’

Boys team

Key returning student athletes include seniors Nick Gibson and Jaden Galarza and juniors Dylan Klackowski and Ryan Geene, who is injured.

Among the promising newcomers are senior Jack Veith; juniors Ethan Munoz, Indo Ortez and Jacob Lorenzo-Joqueth; and sophomores Chris Bila and Tyler Haberstroh.

“As this group continues to work hard, I feel we will continue to improve as the season wears on,’’ head coach Ed Paiva said.

The Rangers finished with a 12-15 record and advanced to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament quarterfinals, where they lost by three points to Glen Rock. They topped Dumont in the opening round.

This winter, they compete in the NJAC Freedom Division along with Jefferson, Hackettstown, Newton, Lenape Valley and Vernon.

Being an overall young and inexperienced team, one of our main goals is to show continued improvement and be as competitive as possible.”
- Earl Hornyak, head girls basketball coach,
Wallkill Valley Regional High School