There were a lot of positives that came out of the 2019-2020 season for the Sayreville War Memorial High School girls’ basketball team.
Strong showings from junior Stephanie Van Note and sophomore Brooke Holland has coach Janet Cook and the rest of Bombers Nation feeling positive of what the future can hold for the squad after a second straight 17-10 season.
“Once we found our identity, we made a good run in our conference and really showed teams that we can play with them,” Cook said. “We have a lot coming back in the future. We have high expectations going into next year.”
After a slow start to this winter, Sayreville found its groove midway through the season, going 11-2 down the stretch into the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament.
Van Note was a big part of Sayreville’s success, coming into her own at the point guard position for the Bombers.
Being primarily a defender as a sophomore, Van Note stepped up and blossomed into being the Bombers’ go-to scorer.
Van Note led the team by averaging just under 17 points a game and was the team’s top disher in assists.
Cook believes Van Note did a great job stepping up and being the team’s point guard this season.
“I wasn’t sure going into this season how Stephanie (Van Note) would do in the point guard role,” Cook said. “She did a great job. She became the focal point of our offense. She really stepped up to the challenge in her new role.”
Holland stepped up her game for Sayreville in the second half of the season.
The sophomore found her niche after recording a career-high 30 points in the team’s 54-43 victory over Woodbridge High School on Jan. 16.
From that point on, Holland averaged just under 14 points a game and finished as the team’s top rebounder.
Holland banged home a team-high 37 three-pointers this winter.
Holland’s sister, Janeva, was the team’s third leading scorer and was second assists during her senior season for the Bombers.
Junior Jordan Wehrle put together a solid junior campaign on both sides of the floor for the Bombers.
Sayreville advanced to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, before being eliminated by Monroe Township High School on Feb. 22 in a 55-46 defeat.
The Bombers got the No. 8 seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 Tournament and Sayreville was home to ninth-seeded Trenton Central High School in the first round of the state sectional tournament on March. 3.
Sayreville had a tough time slowing down Trenton’s top two scorers in Ishuana Hunter and Leianya Messenat, who combined for 52 points to help the visiting Tornadoes land a 68-56 victory, ending the Bombers’ season.
Van Note scored a team-high 21 points in the loss, while Brooke Holland finished with 20 points for Sayreville.
As Sayreville enters the offseason ready to improve and get better for the 2020-2021 season, the one huge positive the team has going for it is its chemistry.
“The girls’ all get along and hang out all the time,” Cook said. “They really found that chemistry that was lacking for us in the preseason. It really sparked us during the second half of the season.”
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