MORRISTOWN, NJ – It was a game the Morristown girls’ varsity basketball team never trailed, but that doesn’t mean that the win came easy.
The top-seeded Colonials got off to a strong start, opening the game on 10-2 run in their 60-49 home win over the ninth-seeded North Bergen Bruins in the quarterfinals of the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 Tournament.
“North Bergen is a good team and they do a lot of good things, they just keep coming at you,” said Morristown head coach Jimmy Pisciotto. “We’re just surviving and moving on. I don’t think it was the prettiest win, but I give credit to North Bergen and kept coming. It was just a tough, hard-fought battle. It was a good win.”
Morristown continued its first half dominance in the second quarter by controlling the paint. Center Kayla Bush, who registered a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, was a focal point of the attack.
The Colonials took a 46-29 lead at half-time and led by as much as 22 points in the second quarter with the game seemingly in hand.
Then, suddenly, a mild sense of panic set it.
North Bergen opened the second half on an 8-0 run and cut Morristown’s lead to single digits at several moments. The Bruins mixed up their defensive schemes from a full-court press to trap defense to limit Morristown to only 14 second half points.
Despite relentless pressure, the Bruins were unable to narrow the gap. For every score they had, Morristown had an answer. Kimberley Calloway, who had 14 points on the evening, came up big for the Colonials in the fourth quarter, scored on a three-point play the old fashioned way (lay-up and foul shot) to help solidify the win. The basket came just seconds after North Bergen drained a three-point shot and inched closer.
Elizabeth Strambi had a team-high 15 points and recorded seven assists.
“We’ve been playing some tough, competitive games and that is taking a toll on the players,” added Pisciotto, who said that he was giving his players the day off on Thursday to rest.
The Colonials will host the No. 13-seeded Montclair Mounties, who are fresh off a 54-40 upset win over Paterson Kennedy on Friday, March 3. Morristown is chasing its first girls’ varsity state title since 1980.