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IN THE NEWS: Injuries plague Mount’s basketball team

Published in The Progress Jan 30, 2019

CALDWELL – The Mount Saint Dominic Academy basketball team is playing well despite challenges, and its 4-11 record does not tell the whole story.

The Lions’ biggest challenge has been playing without senior Abby Garaban, who was injured when the squad defeated Orange, 39-14, on Jan. 8.

Senior Kayla Amelung was injured in a 64-49 victory over Irvington on Jan. 6 and will be out until the Essex County Tournament begins.

“Since the injury to Garaban, it has been a struggle to score,” said head coach Dave Mead. “However, the coaching staff is very optimistic despite our record.

“You can see that our freshmen are getting valuable minutes, even more so since the two seniors went down with injuries. We knew coming in to this season that an important goal was to get the freshmen varsity experience from the get-go. That goal has paid dividends as they are making quite an impact with their passion to compete and a commitment to getting better every day.”

The team’s first victory was against Irvington during the Ray Long Classic at Felician University.

“Abby Garaban scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed five rebounds,” Mead said. “We outscored Irvington, 13-3, in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Freshman Alexa Murphy scored nine points and had five rebounds, while another freshman, Juliet Howell, scored 10 points and had seven rebounds.”

In the victory over Orange, junior Megan Robinson had eight points and nine steals. Garaban had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals before she was hurt.

“Abby went down with a serious ankle injury with about three minutes to play in the first quarter,” Mead said. “She has missed the next seven games, and we hope to have her healthy for the Essex County Tournament.”

The Lions then lost four straight games, starting with a 36-22 loss to Glen Ridge on Jan. 10. Freshman Amanda Micciche scored eight points and had six rebounds, while Robinson scored nine points.

The team then lost to Millburn, 58-48, on Jan. 11. Robinson scored 21 points, and Howell scored eight.

The Lions lost to West Essex, 52-42, on Jan. 15. Robinson scored 16 points, and Micciche and Howell both scored eight points.

Howell also scored 15 points in a 46-36 loss to Cedar Grove on Jan. 19.

The Lions’ next victory came over Shabazz on Jan. 22. “We got back in the win column with a hard-fought 36-29 victory over Shabazz,” Mead said. “We led from wire to wire, but Shabazz would not give in and kept the game close.”

Robinson led with nine points, and Murphy scored seven points.

The Lions’ last two losses were to Verona, 40-23, on Thursday, Jan. 24, and Caldwell, 34-24, on Friday, Jan. 25. Senior Elena Matarazzo had seven points against Verona, and Murphy had eight points against Caldwell.

Mead said underclassmen have stepped up when needed.

Alexa Murphy and Jade Larkin have started the whole season, while Juliet Howell has moved into the starting lineup since Abby went down,” Mead said. “Amanda Micciche has been fabulous coming off the bench, adding to scoring, rebounding and really helping our press defense. Stephanie Peters is another freshman who has seen more playing time as well. She is an incredible athlete who has been a physical presence as well as a vital contributor in our press defense.”

He added that sophomore Bianca Coltenback also was injured early in the season. She has come back slowly after a serious ankle sprain during the Christmas tournament.

The Lions earned the 20th seed in the Essex County Tournament. They will take on No. 29 Shabazz in the play-in round Saturday, Feb. 2.

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