WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Mountaineers received a dominant backcourt performance from Isaiah Scott and Andy Fleurantin on March 4 in the first round of the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 boys basketball tournament, and prevailed by a score of 73-48 over Memorial.
Isaiah Scott had a game-high 30 points and 5 rebounds in the game and his fellow guard Andy Fleurantin had 21 points and 4 assists to lead the Mountaineers. Manuel Rivera had 19 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort for the Memorial Tigers.
The first half was competitive as Memorial fought to tie the game or retake the lead on five separate occasions. The halftime score was close as only two points separated the two teams. The Mountaineers led 36-34 at the half and then took over momentum.
The Mountaineers started the third quarter on a 10-0 run. They outscored the Tigers 15-9 in the 3rd quarter and 22-5 in the fourth quarter to defeat the 7th seed in the tournament.
West Orange Senior guard Isaiah Scott made it a priority to come out strong in the second half considering the team’s recent struggles coming out of the halftime locker room.
“We’ve been coming out of the first half to a slow start with many turnovers and we knew if we wanted to make it to the next round we would have to slow down the game and play fundamentally sound basketball.”
On the other hand, Memorial struggled in the second half as West Orange outscored the Tigers 37-14 in the final 16 minutes and only two Tigers were able to score in the 4th quarter.
“To keep up in the second half, we had to play hard and we had to play defense, but I don’t feel like we did that as a team,” said Manuel Rivera in an interview with the Jersey Journal’s Brandon Gould.
The season ends for Memorial High School who posted a 15-12 record led by their starting lineup composed of all seniors.
West Orange Coach Greg Tynes was happy with his team’s performance and optimistic about the prospects for the future.
“We finally put together a complete game, four good quarters of basketball," said Tynes. This is the perfect time to get into rhythm and on stride. Looking forward, we just need to keep improving, stay focus and follow the game plan. Execute, execute and then execute!”
West Orange will play second seed Paterson Kennedy on their home turf March 6 in the next round of tournament at 6:00 pm. Paterson Kennedy’s record is 16-11 and placed second in the Passaic County Tournament, losing to Paterson Eastside. The team features 1,000 point scorer Alphonso Gee, a 5’ 9” sophomore who is a prolific scorer and reached 1,000 career points despite missing five games with an injury this year.
Paterson Kennedy is a good team and West Orange guard Isaiah Scott knows to respect them. “Paterson Kennedy is a good team and we can’t take them lightly.”
Paterson Kennedy has good guard play but Scott feels that the Mountaineers have an advantage in the post. “We know we have an advantage down low in the post and we must use it to us get a win.”
West Orange has a tough challenge ahead of them, but their motivation cannot be doubted. “Winning the first round was good momentum for us but we still know that we cannot be content with that win. We still have to go in every game with that game 7 mindset because that’s what it comes down to.”