MORRISTOWN, NJ – For the first time in over a decade, the Morristown girls’ varsity basketball team has won a State Sectional Championship as they defeated the East Orange Lady Jaguars 45-35 on Monday evening in front of a packed gymnasium.
Colonials point guard Elizabeth Strambi, who scored a game-high 25 points, jumpstarted the scoring for Morristown as she capitalized on several steals with breakaway lay-ups. The junior sparked a 17-2 run to open the game in a contest the Colonials never trailed.
“We just tried to play hard as a team and stick together,” said Strambi. “These girls are my best friends and I think we all just played tough together because we wanted to keep the dream alive.”
Morristown led by as much as 16 points in the first half before meeting some light resistance from the opposition in the waning minutes of the quarter as they took a 24-11 lead into the second half.
However, an East Orange technical foul after the whistle put Morristown on the fast track for scoring in the second half with Strambi converting on both free throws. The Colonials went on another short run of seven unanswered points to extend their lead to 20 points.
The Lady Jaguars responded with an 11-2 run of their own as they tried to claw their way back in the game trimming the lead to single digits at one point.
With the game clock continuing to tick down, East Orange was forced to foul in a last ditch effort to save time and mount a comeback. Tara O’Neill and Kimberley Calloway each hit both of their free throws in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
“We got off to a nice early lead and I think that gave us a lot of confidence that we could play with them,” said Morristown head coach Jimmy Pisciotto, who stressed the importance of good defensive play of his team. “I always tell the kids, ‘there’s not a championship that’s won, regardless of sport without good defense.’ It starts with defense and it ends with defense.”
East Orange was led by Moriyah Jordan, who scored a team-high 12 points and Brianna Turner, who scored 10 points.
Morristown’s (26-2) next test will be against the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 winner the Franklin Warriors (20-7), who put up 78 points in their sectional title win over Bridgewater-Raritan.