NUTLEY, NJ--Led by a balanced attack, the Bloomfield High boys basketball team earned its season-high fifth straight victory as it hung on for a 46-45 decision over Nutley on the road Thursday night in Nutley.
Andre Dean and Uma Kalu each had nine points to lead the Bengals with Isaiah Cortes adding eight points.
Vernon Lee (six points), Khanye' Tucker (five points), Vinny Torrisi (five points), Patrick Liggins (three points) and Chino Anyanwu (one point) rounded out the scoring for Bloomfield, which improved to 10-6.
Nutley (4-11), which has now suffered four straight defeats, was led by Nick Schroeder, who had a game-high 18 points, and Matthew Harbison, who added 11 points.
Nutley was able to tie the score with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter but could not gain the lead against its rival. Bloomfield has now won eight straight games against Nutley over the last 10 seasons.
"Very well aware of Nutley and always expect best from them," said Bloomfield head county Mike Passero. "For us, its not just one guy doing it; its everyone contributing."
After bowing to Newark Central, 56-34, on Jan. 16, Bloomfield saw its record fall to 5-6 overall and 0-5 in the Liberty Division of the Super Essex Conference.
The Bengals are now 2-5 in divisional play after defeating division foes West Orange (44-42 on Jan. 21) and Barringer (44-35 on Jan. 23) and still has five Liberty Division games remaining.
Lee, a junior guard, leads Bloomfield in scoring with an 11.3 ppg. average followed by Cortes (7.6 ppg.), Torrisi (6.8 ppg.), Dean (6.3 ppg.) and Tucker (5.8 ppg.).
On Monday night, Bloomfield was tabbed the 12th seed for the 74th annual Essex County Tournament and will received a bye into the third preliminary round on Thursday, Feb. 6.
"Thought our seed was very fair, Passero said. "We'll see what happens. We can possibly play another rival of our in Belleville and that would be a great match-up I'm sure."
The Bengals will host either 21st-seeded Belleville, 28th-seeded Newark Collegiate or 34th-seeded Cedar Grove.
If Bloomfield wins, it will advance to the ECT first round to play at fifth-seeded Newark Central on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Before it begins ECT play, however, the Bengals will play host to Irvington, on Tuesday, Feb. 4 in a divisional game at 4 p.m. Irvington defeated Bloomfield, 57-49, the first time the schools met this winter on Jan. 7.
Nutley was seeded 26th for the 6-team ECT and will begin play on Saturday, Feb. 1 when it travels to face 23rd-seeded American History in Newark in a second preliminary round game at 10 a.m.
If the Raiders win they will advance to the third preliminary round on Thursday, Feb. 6 and play at 10th-seeded Newark Tech.