Girls basketball: Talented Marist squad bolstered by St. Anthony transfers

For the most part, the Marist girls basketball team will have a new look this season.

A mix of losses to graduation and an infusion of talent coming to the Bayonne school from the now-closed St. Anthony will see the Royal Knights send out six new rotation players this winter.

But with reigning HCIAL Player of the Year Breyanna Frazier returning as the centerpiece to the squad, Reggie Quinn’s group appears primed to make another run at a Hudson County title.

Frazier — a junior guard already with a handful of Division I offers — is coming off a season in which she averaged 16.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game during Marist’s 23-2 campaign that included an HCIAL Red Division title.

“Breyanna has stepped up and become our leader this year,” Quinn said. "Emely (Rosario, now playing at Eastern Kentucky) had that role last year. This is a new team, but it is starting to gel with chemistry every day.”

While Marist will miss Rosario’s nearly 18-point scoring average from last year, they received a boost from St. Anthony in getting 1,000-point scorer Zyearah Taylor-Gaston.

The senior — who racked up 1,217 points (and 331 assists) in three years as a Friar — is another guard Quinn will look to carry the scoring load for the Royal Knights. She was a First Team All-HCIAL selection last year and will form one of the best backcourt tandems in Hudson County with Rosario.

Another Friar turned Royal Knight will likely cross over the 1,000-point plateau early this season in senior guard Trinidy Alicea. An Honorable Mention all-HCIAL selection last year — and another guard — Alicea will go into her final season with 912 career points on her ledger.

Marist will add another ex-St. Anthony player, sophomore Serenity Jackson, to the mix as well. Jackson averaged 5.7 points per game as a freshman last year.

As is the case with everyone in the rotation, Jackson is also a guard.

“We never really had a lot of size, so this is nothing new,” Quinn said. “We want to play at our pace every game and that’s playing fast.”

Ciara Castillo is the only other varsity player who played for Marist last winter, and figures to be in a starting role again. A trio of talented freshmen in Karrington WilsonLjhane Smart, and Monaysia Emerson should see varsity time.

Nia Scott, a sophomore transfer who played at J.P. Stevens of Edison last winter, will also be in the Knights rotation.

With a lot of firepower in the mix, Quinn hopes his team will be at its best come county tournament time in February.

“We won all of our regular season games last year, and that’s tough to do two years in a row. This team can be really good, and the goal is to get better and play our best at the end,” he said.

Marist will launch the campaign on Friday, when it hosts Hoboken in a HCIAL clash on its home court.