MORRISTOWN, NJ – A year ago, the Morristown girls basketball team got a run for their money from an upstart Morris Tech in the Morris County Tournament Round of 16.
The returning varsity players from the Colonials’ varsity team did not forget that, and they made sure right away that a repeat of that was not going to occur.
From quite literally the opening tip-off, top-seeded Morristown had total control over the Red Devils, and they ultimately cruised to a 61-22 victory to up its season’s mark to 15-2. The Colonials will face Hanover Park, a 58-46 winner over Morris Knolls, in the quarterfinal round next Saturday at Knolls.
“I thought we had a chance to press (Morris Tech) today, and our girls did a good job getting out in transition once we got the ball,” Morristown coach Jimmy Pisciotto said. “The maturity of our team really showed in a game like this. Yes, it’s a 16 seed vs. the 1, but one slip up in this tournament and it is all over. We had that mindset going in.”
Elizabeth Strambi wasted little time getting Morristown out in front, as the senior sensation drained a top of the key three-ball just five seconds into the game to get the avalanche rolling. A post-up finish by Kate Kolb and an and-one from Strambi staked the winners out to an 8-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
After a second layup by Tech’s Emily Cuccio – their only scoring plays the period – cut the Colonials lead to 12-4, Morristown closed the quarter on a 10-0 run to take a commanding 22-4 advantage through a period. Nicole Ferrara – who had a monster first half scoring 19 points – added a layup and a right corner triple in the spurt.
Ferrara’s hot shooting continued in the second, as she drilled four three’s to expand on Morristown’s lead. A transition bucket from Grace Godfrey with 30 seconds left in the half gave the Colonials a commanding 39-11 lead at the half.
Groundhog Day may have been on Friday, but the tradition seemed to carry over to start the third period, as Strambi stole a Red Devils pass and went coast to coast for a lay-up on three straight possessions.
Kolb, Elizabeth Mongey, Jessica Willette, and Strambi would all score midway through the third to balloon the advantage 55-17, leading Pisciotto to take out his regular rotation with 1:32 left in the third.
A slew of reserves played on both sides in the fourth quarter, with senior forward Raechel Parnell scoring all six of Morristown’s points in the frame.
Hanover Park – county champions seven straight years in its heyday from 1983-89 – is a historically strong program, and should provide Morristown an interesting challenge in a week’s time.
Pisciotto summed up next week’s matchup: “Doug Wear is a tremendous coach over (at Hanover Park) and they always press and play different zones. We know what they do, I’m sure they know all what we do, and who does what they do better on that day will likely win.”
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