VERNON — The pre-season preparations are now a thing of the past and now it’s time to see all of that hard work pay off for the Vernon High School basketball program (boy’s and girl’s teams) as the regular season has arrived.Vernon Girls BasketballThe Vikings welcome in Stephanie Peterson as the head coach this winter and key returning student-athletes include Brietta Patterson (senior, guard), Madison DeVries (senior, guard), Samantha Dulmer (senior, power forward), Alicja Wesloske(senior, center) and Tori Waschek (senior, power forward).A promising newcomer to the varsity level is Alysia Bosch (sophomore, forward). “I'm relying on our five seniors to be leaders for the team this year," Peterson said. “I'm hoping they will display their leadership by working with and helping our large group of freshman players."The Vikings tallied three victories last season and they opened this season with a 51-8 victory over Sussex Tech. Alicja Weslocke led all scorers with 19 points and Brietta Patterson added 12 points in the winning effort. “[We want to] become a defensively tough team, not allowing easy second chance points," Peterson said. Vernon competes in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and they are scheduled to face Hopatcong at home on Jan. 4.“This is going to be a transitional season for us," Peterson said. “As a new coach this year, I am working on building a program. We are working on putting all of the pieces together. It helps to have a dedicated group of senior leaders and also some younger talent in the program as well. Vernon Boys BasketballThe Vikings, who finished up with four victories last season and they are scheduled to play Morris Tech at home on Jan. 7.Key returnees for Vernon this year include Ben DiCarlo (senior, guard), Jadon Mutz (senior, forward), Jake Buurman (junior, forward), Kyle Dunbar (junior, guard), Stefen McKinnon (junior, guard), Andre Pierce (junior, guard) and DJ Springstead (sophomore, guard).James Pellot (senior, forward), Cody Williams (senior, guard) and Zack Wascheck (sophomore, guard) are among the promising varsity newcomers for the Vikings.“Jadon Mutz and Ben DiCarlo are the two players we will look to for leadership by example,’’ Vernon head coach Joseph Byrne said.The Vikings began the regular season with a loss to Kittatinny and they compete in the NJAC. Jacob Buurman scored 12 points and Andre Pierce tallied 10 points against Kittatinny. “We have a young group of players that earned great experience last year who are looking to improve and compete,’’ Byrne said. “We will continue to work hard and work together as a unit to be successful this season."