‘That’s My Job’: Led by Amanda Baylock, Scotch Plains Rolls 61-45 in Home Opener


Matthew Levine, Editor in Chief

The second year of the Amanda Baylock Experience has arrived at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. 

And it’s leveled up. 

After scoring only seven points in her varsity basketball debut as a freshman, Baylock did it all Friday night against the Governor Livingston Highlanders — she attacked the basket, scored three-pointers, got to the foul line and led the Raiders to a 61-45 victory leading the team with 20 points over the Highlanders. 

“That’s my job, that’s what I’m supposed to do. So I just go out there and just do that.”

— Amanda Baylock

“That’s my job, that’s what I’m supposed to do,” Baylock said. “So I just go out there and just do that.”

Head coach Ryan McKenna has emphasized the importance of Baylock taking shots as a key for victory. 

“She’s taken a little more control and now you can see that there’s more leadership on the court,” McKenna said. “And I told her ‘you’ve got to shoot more’ and she took that to heart. She’s working on that and that’s what she did [tonight].” 

In the first game back with spectators since the 2019-2020 season, the Raiders fed off the energy of the crowd opening the game on a 10-0 run. Despite the Highlanders closing the deficit to two at the end of the first quarter to make it 12-10, McKenna’s stifling defense led by senior Ashley DeFrancesco held the Highlanders to 10 points in the second quarter while the Raiders had a 20 point explosion making it a 32-20 game at halftime. 

“The unsung hero is always Ashley DeFrancesco,” McKenna said. “She’s on the top of that 1-3-1 and she makes that defense. If she’s not there, we don’t run it.”

Between the starting five of Baylock, DeFrancesco, freshman shooting guard Marin Pecarsky, junior center Ali Murphy and senior forward Emily Friscia, the Raiders have a lot to be excited about this season. The leadership and energy that DeFrancesco, Murphy and Friscia possess have created a strong sense of camaraderie amongst this Raiders team that looks to defend the division title they won last year. 

“Our team is very aggressive,” Friscia said. “We don’t like losing the ball, so if the ball is on the ground we’re all gonna go diving for the ball. Throughout the game — me, Ashley and Ali as captains — we make sure that we just keep everyone positive. Even if someone messes up, everyone stays positive so they know it’s okay.” 

In the nose bleeds of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School’s basketball arena, you could find the Westfield Blue Devils varsity girls basketball coach Liz McKeon filming the game on her iPad. There’s no doubt that McKeon and her Blue Devils will be having their hands full next Thursday, Dec. 23 because of Baylock & Co. 

“We won our division last year and we did it in a very quiet way,” McKenna said. “We’re okay if nobody wants to write about us because we’re just coming to play.”