WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange High School boys basketball team is hoping to make a bid on March 4 as the state playoffs begin, but they have their work cut out for them.
They are pretty evenly matched against their first opponents, Memorial of West New York, and will play on Memorial's home turf beginning at 7 p.m.
It's been an up and down season for the Mountaineers so far, who have struggled with their consistency, foul shooting, and turnovers. They have steadily improved as the season progressed under the watchful eye of new Coach Greg Tynes, a legend in local basketball who played at Seton Hall University and was the longtime coach at Clifford Scott High School in East Orange before that school closed.
In a prior interview with The Alternative Press, Tynes had noted, "We're still ironing out bad habits our players have picked up." Tynes has also been working on skills with the team and attempting to develop their team cohesiveness.
Several players have had solid seasons so far. Isaiah Scott leads the Mountaineers with 229 (10 ppg.) to-date season points; Andy Fluerantin has scored 185; Jeremiah Boone-Alexander has 162 and Tacai Dryden has 141. The team has won their last three out of four, losing on Feb. 25 to West Side, 65-57.
After the loss to Westside, Tynes said, "I thought we put together four fairly good quarters against Livingston (West Orange 61, Livingston, 41). As for the state tournament, we are just trying to get some momentum going into the tournament but the loss last night to West Side didn't help. We need to bounce back Thursday against North 13th Street Tech."
On Feb. 27 the Mountaineers did just that, edging out North 13th Street by a score of 54-51.
Heading into the March 4 game, the Mountaineers season record stands at 11-12, while Memorial, which has rallied recently, stands at 15-10.