Former James Wood High girls’ school basketball standout Makayla Firebaugh started the New Year off with a bang.

The Rider freshman guard set career-highs with 19 points and four 3-pointers during a 70-59 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference loss against Fairfield on Saturday. She also grabbed five rebounds.

Firebaugh followed that up with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists in a 66-49 loss against Fairfield (5-1, 4-0 MAAC) on Sunday.

Firebaugh, who started the season as a reserve, now leads Rider (1-10, 0-6) with a 9.9 scoring average. She is also third on the Broncs in rebounding (4.1) and steals (12).

Firebaugh also was named MAAC Rookie of the Week on Dec. 28. She had 11 points, a career-high seven rebounds and two steals in Rider’s lone win of the season, a 57-53 decision over NJIT on Dec. 23.

“Makayla has been learning and doing from Day 1,” Rider coach Lynn Milligan said in a news release after Firebaugh’s honor. “She is a gym rat and wants to learn. She has a scoring mentality that is becoming more consistent every day with her hard work.”

Firebaugh and her teammates are schedule to play Siena of Friday and Saturday. The Saints, who have played just two game this season because of COVID-19 postponements, feature former Millbrook High school standout Amari Anthony.

A third-team All-MAAC selection in the preseason, Anthony has yet to play a game this season. She missed a pair of losses to Fairfield on Dec. 11 and 12 with an illness.

Anthony averaged 9.7 points per game and her 1.2 steals per game as a sophomore last season.

— Compiled by Walt Moody 

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