EAST ORANGE, NJ — The former Upsala College gym was rocking as East Orange Campus High School girls’ and boys’ basketball teams finished their seasons making it to semi and quarter-finals with one winning the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division championship.
Starting with the girls: Derrick Johnson the longtime head coach of the East Orange Campus High School Lady Jaguars led the team through a season with a 21-6 record.
EOCHS, seeded No. 3, made a name for themselves in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament beginning on March 3rd with a 84-38 win over No. 14 seed Bergen County Tech in the first round. Leading the team, sophomore guard Triniti Haskins had 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 steals. Senior guard Brianna Turner had 18 points and 4 rebounds. Junior guard Destiny Battle had 12 points, 8 steals and 4 rebounds. Senior forward Nadayah Stubbs had 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Freshman guard Brianna English scored 9 points.
On March 5th in the quarterfinals, the 45-30 home victory over No. 6 seed Kearny resulted in Battle putting down 16 points and 5 rebounds and Haskins 10 points and 6 rebounds. Stubbs collected 8 points and 7 rebounds, senior guard Adiya Ali, named one of the top best players coming off the bench had 7 points, while Turner and English each had 2 points.
On March 7th, it was deja vu for the Jaguars as last year they also lost in the North 1, Group 4 semifinals. Last season, they fell to Bloomfield to finish 14-11. This year, as the crowd was on the edge of their seats, the Jaguars lost 52-47 to the No. 2 seeded Hackensack ending the season. Battle had 19 points, Haskins had 15 and Turner had 10.
Once ranked one of the top teams in the country, they lost twice to University who went on to win the Essex County Tournament title. Against Immaculate Conception, they went 1-2, with one of the losses in the ECT semifinals. In addition to Hackensack, the Jaguars lost to one of the top teams in the state, Saddle River Day who began the season 6-0.
Johnson has been the head coach since 2004, except for the 2017-2018 season when he sat out while serving as EOCHS athletic director. Under Johnson the Jaguars, played in five straight sectional finals, winning three titles in the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and were runner-up in 2014 and 2017. They also won the ECT titles in 2015 and 2016.
Now for the boy Jaguars:
Led by head coach Gabe Baltimore, the Jaguars finished with a 24-4 record, and won the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division championship with 14-0.
EOCHS, seeded No. 2, defeated Morristown before losing to Randolph in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament to end the season.
At home on March 3rd, the Jaguars won 62-33. Senior forward Justin Singh-Smith dropped 12 points and 12 rebounds over 15th-seeded Morristown in the 1st round. Jalen Hammonds put up 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Senior guards Izaiah Poole had 11 points and Daveon Davis had 9 with 5 steals and 3 rebounds. Junior guard Darren Coote scored 6 points while senior guard Al-Jalil Hall and sophomore guard Kaleb Harmon had three points each.
On March 5th, at a home game, in a nail-biting type of game, the Jaguars lost 49-48 in the quarterfinals to No. 7 seeded Randolph. Singh-Smith had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Hammonds had 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Poole had 9 points and 7 rebounds, Nasir Owens had 6 points, and Davis and Coote each had 2 points. Randolph improved to 21-7.
TAPinto East Orange/Orange is proud of both its boys’ and girls' local teams. We commend each player for putting their best forward. You all make this community proud.
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