MILLBURN, NJ- The Millburn girls basketball team advanced to the fourth round in the Essex County Tournament with a dominating 59-38 win over Nutley. The seventh seeded Millers lost the first meeting of the season against the tenth seeded Raiders in Millburn and they got revenge in front of their home fans. As usual, the scoring attack for Millburn was extremely balanced, as only Kayla Wolfe and Angie Saggio hit double figures. Abigail Scheidel led Nutley's offense with 15 points.
Millburn ran away with this one from the opening tip, as they went off on an 11-4 run to start. Ally Langendorff had all 8 of her points in that span and was the focal point of the Millburn attack. After shooting less than 20 percent in their last meeting against Nutley, Coach Dreschel told me before the game that his team will shoot easier shots in the paint. That method certainly paid off as the Millers were on fire. The team was very selfless as a lot of the Millburn buckets came off an assist. The ball movement was phenomenal the whole game. For Nutley, it was a bad sign from the beginning because leading scorer Courtney Wilde couldn't find her shot. She tried many 3 pointers that Millburn was on top of, and it resulted in misses, including a few air balls. Instead of looking for her teammates, she continued to shoot contested shots, and it only made the deficit bigger. Millburn led 29-19 at the half.
Kayla Wolfe started the third quarter on a nice run, accumulating 6 of her 15 points in the first few minutes. The lone bright spot for Nutley was Scheidel. She hit multiple 3 pointers in the second half and received little help from her teammates in an overwhelming effort. Millburn forced a lot of turnovers in the second half, and their team chemistry on offense was something scary for opposing teams in the tournament. Millburn was way taller than Nutley, as Dreschel starts Rachel Hubertus, Saggio, and Langendorff in a big lineup. Because of that, Millburn dominated the glass and scored in the paint at will. Millburn expanded their lead to 18 points at one point in the third quarter, and Millburn's bench was extremely impressive. Gina Saggio, Kate Madrawski, Peri Lamkin and Casey Hersh all scored a basket of the bench, and Hersh's basket was a 3 pointer, which is not in her comfort zone. The crowd was going wild when she made that shot. The depth of this Millburn team can be a big factor for the rest of their games, because in case if a player gets hurt or fouls out, Millburn knows they have someone on the bench who is also a good player who can fill in nicely. Millburn never looked back and won by 21 points despite playing their bench against Nutley's starters for a part of the game.
Millburn will play their next game against the two seed, University on February 18th. Nutley will have to hope they make the State Tournament.