GLEN RIDGE, NJ--The Glen Ridge High basketball teams are playing well, as the Essex County Tournament (ECT) has begun and the NJSIAA tourney is not too far off.
The girls improved to 8-9 on the season and won for the fourth time in its last five games by defeating Newark Collegiate, 54-31, in a preliminary round ECT game, on Feb. 3. Head coach Joe Mazzarella's team was slated to play at West Orange, in a first-round game, on Feb. 6, at 4 p.m.
The boys had a big win over West Essex, on Jan. 31, 47-38, in overtime, to also advance in the ECT. Head coach Liam Carr's squad was scheduled to play at University, High, in Newark, on Feb. 6, at 7 p.m., in a first-round game, as well. Glen Ridge will take an 11-5 mark into that contest.
After struggling in mid January, the GR girls have done well, with wins over Newark Academy, 36-25 and the county win. There was also a 43--34 loss to Kinnelon, in a game the Ridgers started slowly in, then rallied to make it an exciting game.
"We're getting there," said Mazzarella. "I like the way the girls are working in practice and that's carrying over into the games. I think we're gaining confidence, and we're hoping to play well at West Orange in the next round of the counties."
Versus Newark Collegiate, Michaila Dowd led all scorers with 15 points, along with five rebounds, four steals and two assists. Haleigh Pine had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Olivia Carbonell and Amayah Melbourne scored 10 points each. Melbourne also had seven rebounds and Carbonell had four rebounds and three steals. Sarah Cullinan finished with seven points, five rebounds and three assists and Jillian Goffe finished with two points.
Pine, Dowd and Elettra Giantomenico each had 10 points in the game against Kinnelon while Melbourne scored 16 and Giantomenico tallied 11 in the victory over Newark Academy.
The boys snapped a two-game losing streak with the win over West Essex.
"That was big for us," said Carr. "We had good-sized crowd at the game and our kids were fired up. They wanted to play a Friday night home game and did a good job."
Glen Ridge trailed, 11-5 after one quarter and cut the deficit to 16-13 at halftime. The Ridgers trailed, 28-20 after three, then rallied to tie it at the end of regulation. In the overtime, GR pulled away to a nine-point win.
Sam Trunley had another huge game for the Ridgers, with 27 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Bryan Moussako had 11 points and four rebounds and Michael Cifelli had seven points and three boards.
In addition to the county tournament, both the GR boys and girls should get high seeds for the state tournament. The seeding will be announced in the next two weeks.