The Lyndhurst High School girls’ basketball team enjoyed a breakthrough season a year ago, winning 17 games, including a thrilling two-point 48-46 first round victory over Ridgefield Park in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group II state tournament.
Now, veteran head coach Perrin Mosca welcomes back almost his entire roster from that team of a year ago.
“We basically have everyone back from last year,” said Mosca, who is in his second stint as the head girls’ basketball coach at Lyndhurst. “We have only one thing to play for this year and that’s a league title. They’ve redone the league to include teams like Secaucus, Rutherford and Weehawken, so it’s going to be tough. But we expect to at least challenge for the league title.”
Leading the returnees is senior guard Carley Martin. The 5-foot-6 Martin, the daughter of former Lyndhurst boys’ head coach Chuck Martin, averaged nearly 16 points per game last year, scoring 20 or more eight times, including a career-high 26 twice against Bergen Charter and Hawthorne.
“She definitely knows the game,” Mosca said of Martin, who should be one of the top players in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference this season. “She’s very smart. It’s nice to have her as the point guard, because the ball is in her hands. She handles the ball very well. But she’s a scorer. She gets to the tin (the basket). She shoots it well. She breaks presses on her own. She basically does it all. She’s always around the ball.”
There’s another aspect to Martin’s game. She’s always smiling.
“She’s out there having fun,” Mosca said.
Another returning player is senior forward Gianna Alberti. The 5-foot-7 Alberti, who is also a standout soccer player, is another versatile performer.
“She can also do some ball handling,” Mosca said of Alberti. “She’s a very good 3-point shooter. She does all the little things you need. Defensively, she does a great job.”
Alberti averaged almost 10 points and five rebounds per contest last season.
Another key senior is 5-foot-6 shooting guard Alex Borino, who was the team’s third leading scorer behind Martin and Alberti last season.
Borino handles a lot of duties playing either the shooting guard or the small forward role.
“She’s great for us in the press,” Mosca said. “She gets easy baskets off the press. She does a great job of extending the opposition’s defense because she can shoot from the outside.”
Borino averaged nearly eight points per game last season.
Senior Kiara Salme is the team’s 5-foot-8 power forward/center.
“She gets a lot of important rebounds,” Mosca said. “We’re looking for her to score a little more this year. She has a nice mid-range jump shot.”
Soccer standout Francesca Castagnetti, the sister of The College of Holy Cross goalkeeper Isabella Castagnetti and daughter of current assistant football coach Joe Castagnetti, is a 5-foot-4 junior off-guard.
“She’s a tough defender,” Mosca said. “We look for her to take charge defensively.”
Junior Meghan Docherty is a 5-foot-7 power forward.
“She’s an all-around tough kid,” Mosca said of Docherty, who also plays soccer and softball. “We’re looking for her to do some good things for us offensively this year.”
Sophomore guard Lexi Augustyniak is a 5-foot-2 bundle of energy.
“She’s a tough kid,” Mosca said. “She’s the back-up point guard. She’s very fast and handles the ball well. She also has a decent shot.”
Aliya Keith is a 5-foot-5 junior who is also quick and defends well. Keith is another athlete who is a standout soccer player.
Senior Karina Martinez is a 5-foot-6 power forward.
“She can spell some of our bigs for some minutes,” Mosca said.
Freshman Julia Tozduman, the younger sister of softball sensation Ella, is a 5-foot-4 guard.
“She knows the game pretty well,” Mosca said. “She handles the ball and shoots the ball pretty well.”
The Golden Bears open the season Tuesday against Weehawken and Thursday against North Arlington.
“It’s going to be a tough go in the league this year,” Mosca said of the new fangled NJIC Division 4 alignment with Weehawken, Secaucus, Harrison, North Arlington and Rutherford. “But we have a pretty good team. We’ve never won a league title in Lyndhurst, but I’m expecting to compete for a league title this year.”
Lyndhurst senior guard Carley Martin should be one of the best all-around players in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference. Photo by Jim Hague
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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer
Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.
It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.
In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.
In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.
He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.
During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.
Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.
Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”