NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. – Art Cattano has been the head coach of the New Providence boys’ basketball team for 31 years. Going into Thursday’s matchup with Jonathan Dayton, he could not remember the last time the Pioneers swept the Bulldogs in the regular season.
The defending Group 1 finalists already lost a close game to New Providence earlier in the season. While Thursday’s meeting was even closer, it ended in the same result, a second straight victory for the Pioneers.
Forward Jordan Morang scored 12 points to lead New Providence to a 37-32 victory over Dayton, their 12th win of the year.
“Its’ been a while probably,” Cattano said of the Dayton sweep. “Very low scoring tonight, I thought we did a real nice job.”
New Providence led almost wire-to-wire, but was never able to get up by more than six points.
Each time Dayton crept within a basket of tying the game, the Pioneers would catch fire on the offensive side of the ball. In the third quarter, with New Providence leading by three, Morang rattled off three consecutive baskets from the left block to hold off Dayton’s strong attack.
Morang has torched the Bulldogs in both meetings this year. The senior scored 17 points in the last game against Dayton.
“He’s just really tough. After the Roselle Park game, we blew a big lead and wound up winning in double overtime, I told him ‘You’re a warrior.’ That’s all I could tell him. He just plays so hard all the time. He keeps our team together.”
Despite Morang’s success, the team as a whole struggled from the free throw line, which almost cost the Pioneers the game. New Providence was just 5-for-9 in the first three quarters from the charity stripe, however they hit their free throws when the game was on the line, none bigger than Kevin Voss.
The sophomore, who is predominantly a JV player, was inserted into the game with less than a minute to play because of his ball-handling skills. With the ball in his hands late, Voss hit two clutch free throws with the Pioneers leading by only one, which essentially sealed the fate for Dayton.
Cattano said Voss will be a varsity regular someday, but according to Morang, he’s already there.
“Its just being ready and he is,” Morang said. “He’s a good dribbler and we needed someone to come in. Bryan Joyce was in foul trouble, so we needed someone to come in. Voss was that person. He made them when we needed them. He came through.”
New Providence is back in action on Friday when they visit Brearley for their second matchup of the year. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.