Enthusiasm surrounds Vernon hoop teams

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VERNON — There is a fresh sense of enthusiasm surrounding the Vernon High School basketball programs (boy’s and girl’s teams) this winter.

The Vikings are of course searching for as many victories on the courts as possible this season, while looking for ways to get better in all areas of the sport at every given opportunity.

Dominique Ocello, the head coach for the girl’s squad is hoping that veteran student-athletes on the roster will propel the Vikings in a forward direction.

“Top returners this year are senior Nicole Struble who is our guard/post, junior Madison DeVries who is our point guard/shooting guard and junior Alicja Wesloske who is our post," Ocello said.

Coach Ocello mentioned Brietta Patterson (junior, point guard/shooting guard) and Kaitlyn Buurman (freshman) as being promising newcomers to the varsity lineup this season.

“We would like to achieve to improve in ourselves first to bring Vernon back to a competitive basketball team," Ocello said. “We are working individual goals to get to that one team goal."

Vernon competes in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Freedom Division along with Hackettstown, Lenape Valley, Newton and High Point. They are scheduled to begin the regular season with a home game versus Kittatinny on Dec. 15.

“It is a strong Division, many are going to be difficult to beat when you are rebuilding a program," Ocello said. We are hoping to contend as the underdog."

Joe Byrne, in charge of the Vikings’ boys basketball squad, is looking to build momentum from a winning record of 17-11 during their 2016-2017 campaign.

Coach Byrne will be looking for strong contributions from upperclassmen in the lineup including Alex Heule (senior, forward), Paul McVeigh (senior, guard) and Jadon Mutz (junior, forward).

“Alex Heule and Paul McVeigh are the two players we will look to for leadership by example,’’ Byrne said.

The Vikings also play in the NJAC Freedom Division along with High Point, Hackettstown, Sussex Tech and Lenape Valley. They are scheduled to start the regular season with a road game at Kittatinny on Dec. 15.

“We have a young and eager group of players who are looking to make an impact on the varsity level," Byrne said. “We will continue to work hard and improve as a unit to be successful this season. We see ourselves as a competitive team within the division."
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