Sports

Four Peat: Morris Catholic Girls Basketball Takes Home Fourth Consecutive Morris County Tournament Title

MCT Final Seconds, Morris Catholic downs Morristown, 48-27 Credits: M. Roche
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DENVILLE, NJ-- Number one seeded Morris Catholic Lady Crusaders downed third seeded Morristown Colonials to secure their fourth straight Morris County Tournament win in front of a loud crowd at CCM on Feb. 26.

The Crusaders came out strong, fighting their way to put up basket after basket. In the first quarter alone, Morris Catholic was able to produce 14 points and hold Morristown to a mere 8 points. 

The Lady Crusaders came into the tourney as the number one seed. The Crusaders were able to hold off Morristown Beard, Hanover Park and West Morris Central to advance to the championship. Morris Catholic has won the title 11 times.

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The Crusaders continued their pursuit of title win number 12 as they entered into the second quarter of the game. The charge was led by seniors Stella Johnson and Rachel Mills. Johnson will head to Rider University to play basketball, while Mills will head to Towson University to play lacrosse. At the half, the Crusaders entered into the locker room up 27-14. 

Head Coach Rich Fachet spoke to the girls at the half about the importance of the third quarter. 

"Coach Fachet always tells the girls to win the third quarter. Games are won or lost in the third quarter," Assistant Coach Jen Vasta said. 

As the crowd cheered enthusiastically, the girls came out determined to do just what Coach Fachet told them. Win. Morristown struck back in the third quarter, hitting a few shots. The Crusaders seemed to be losing their momentum. With the score at 32-22 at the end of the third, the Crusaders picked up the pace in the fourth quarter.

Morris Catholic's current senior class wanted this win bad. The girls who have been members of the team since 2012 have been County Champions every year. Rachel Mills, Stella Johnson, Julia Rossetto, Teresa Andolino, Sophie Fischer, and Samantha Deboske closed out their final season with the Crusaders as four peat county champions. 

As the clock counted down, Morris Catholic fans lit up the CCM gym with an eruption of cheers, storming the court as the team secured their fourth straight title. Morris Catholic takes home the trophy, defeating Morristown by a final score of 48-27.

"This is a special moment for Rachel and Danielle Mills. This was their only chance to win together and they did," Assistant Coach Vasta said.

When Mills heads off to Towson in the fall, she will carry this moment with her for the rest of her life. 

"I came out here to play for my team. We all sat on the court and talked about how much we wanted this," Mills said before excitedly celebrating with friends and family.

Two year MVP, Stella Johnson knew how important this game was to not only her, but her team as well.

"Coach was riding us the whole week about a fourpeat. I always play hard, but this win means so much," Johnson said.

Morris Catholic's girls basketball team is not done yet. The team is headed to the State tournament with high hopes. The girls are seeded fourth in the NJSIAA Non Public North B Tournament, and will play St. Elizabeth at 7:00 p.m. on March 1. 

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