WEST ORANGE, NJ – Backed by a 17 point effort from Tacai Dryden, West Orange defended its home court and defeated Montclair 42-34 on Tuesday night in the Tarnoff Gym.
From the opening tip onward, both teams set the tone and established a defensive presence, pressuring the ball and hustling to generate offensive turnovers. Montclair hounded the ball handler throughout the game and forced West Orange to turn the ball over 16 times.
West Orange’s senior point guard Isaiah Scott gave a solid defensive effort and contributed three steals. The game was close throughout, but Montclair never had the lead after the first quarter. The Mounties trailed 23-14 after 16 minutes of play, but came out strong after halftime.
Montclair had a 5-0 run in the quarter, was gaining momentum, and had cut the deficit to three points, until the streak was stopped after a big three pointer from West Orange's Justin Osuji. The Mountaineers regained momentum after the shot and traded baskets and stops with Montclair for the rest of the game.
Despite a strong second half performance from Cortez Rawls, who finished with a team high 16 points, Montclair was unable to mount a comeback.
Isaiah Scott contributed 13 points for West Orange and junior Jeremiah Boone had nine rebounds and two steals, as he contributed on the defensive end of the floor.
Chris Mortimer had six points for Montclair in the loss.
West Orange Head Coach Greg Tynes had a lot to say about his team following the win. Tynes talked about the team’s depth saying that he could have a 10-man rotation and that West Orange “has a lot of athletes.” Tynes said he would like to see his team “do a better job of thinking the game” but likes the fact that his team plays hard.
The coach said he is looking forward to the upcoming Essex County Tournament, and feels West Orange can compete with some of the tough teams like Seton Hall. “At the end of the day we all lace up our sneakers the same way,” said Coach Tynes.
With the win, West Orange improves to 4-4. The Mountaineers will play Montclair Kimberley Academy on Saturday, at MKA’s gym at 1 p.m. Montclair falls to 2-6 and will try to turn things around on Thursday against MKA at home at 7 p.m.