MORRIS KNOLLS, NJ – From start to finish, the No. 5-seeded Jefferson Falcons’ zone defense stymied the Montville girls varsity basketball team in the Mustangs 34-22 quarterfinals loss on Saturday afternoon at Morris Knolls High School as they were eliminated in the Morris County Tournament.
The Falcons opened the game on a 9-0 run and led by double digits after the first quarter as their relentless defense proved to be the difference in the game. Montville was held to only two points in the first quarter and a total of seven points in the first half.
“(Jefferson) plays a unique zone and we knew it was going to be a defensive battle coming into this game,” Montville coach Derek Lynn said. “It’s something that we don’t see often and I feel like we lost a little bit of aggressiveness, especially in the first half.”
Despite being faced with a 12-point deficit and being outplayed at the half, Montville went on a 9-2 run in the third quarter to narrow the Falcons’ lead to 21-16. However, that would be as close as the Mustangs would come in the game as Jefferson mounted seven unanswered points in response to their second half rally.
“We had a nice run to start the second half,” added Lynn. “We did come back a little bit, so I’m really proud of the girls for doing that. They’re just a good team too and their runs lasted a little longer than ours.”
Montville was led on offense by Emma Wax, who had 12 points on the game including two 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Taylor Langan and Victoria Pietraszkiewicz combined to score 30 points for Jefferson.
“Right now we’re just going to focus on the next game,” Lynn said. “There’s a few things we did today that we want to address as we continue our season and get better for our next game.”
Saturday’s defeat marks the third consecutive season that Montville has lost in the quarterfinals of the Morris County Tournament as they look to rebound from an otherwise positive year. The Mustangs (16-3) will host Pope John (12-9) on Monday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in their next game.
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