Division I recruit leads young Vineland girls team

Vineland’s Tanasia Russell, right, is guarded by Ariel Magee of Lower Cape May during a a scrimmage. Russell has committed to Wagner College.

In Will Breese's second season as the coach of Vineland High School's girls basketball team, he's going to be faced with a similar challenge.

"This year we're going to be young again," Breese said. "We had a lot of kids graduate and we have a lot of new talent coming in so we're looking to build off some talent with younger kids."

Tanasia Russell will be the key senior on Vineland's team this year. Russell has a Division I basketball scholarship to Wagner College in New York and will be the key to Vineland's offense and defense.

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"We're going to try to build around her and have some of the younger girls learn from her," Breese said of his senior guard. "With her attitude and the way she's willing to help out and how much she's matured over the past three years, it's a good asset to have out there with her leadership skills and her ability to play the game.

"She's learned the game, and now she doesn't have to think as much anymore as things come naturally to her and hopefully the other girls can benefit from that."

Fellow seniors Cassandra Pagan and Courtny Bindewald are the only girls who have experience with Russell. Pagan, who is 5-foot-6, and Bindewald, who is 5-foot-9, will be Vineland's post players, Breese said.

"We may possibly have a threat in the post game this year, which we kind of lacked last year," Breese said.

Junior forward Sara Mazzeo and sophomore guard Destiny Esquilin will also be key players.

Vineland opens up the season with long-time rival Millville.

"As far as the girls go, the hype around here is Bridgeton and Millville," Breese said. "But as far as the community goes, it's definitely Millville."

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League: Cape-Atlantic League American

Group: South Jersey Group IV

Coach: Will Breese (6-20, one season)

2012-13 record: 6-10

2013-14 prediction: Rebuilding - Vineland will experience growing pains this year, but have a Division I player in tanasia Russell

Key players: Tanasia Russell Sr., 5-7, G; Sara Mazzeo Jr., 5-6, F; Destiny Esquilin So., 5-5, G.


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