RANDOLPH, NJ – Backed by a stout defense, the top-seeded Morristown High School girls’ varsity basketball team claimed the Morris County Tournament title as they defeated the Jefferson Falcons by a score of 47-23 at the County College of Morris on Friday evening. The Colonials, fueled by a relentless full-court press, opened the game on a 17-0 run and didn’t let up after that.
“In a big game like this, jumping out to that lead is huge,” said Morristown head coach Jimmy Pisciotto. “It put a great amount of pressure on (Jefferson) and that gave us a lot of breathing room.”
The Colonials took a 29-9 lead into halftime and kept the intensity up on defense in the third quarter, limiting the Falcons to only eight points in the third quarter, all but sealing the win entering the final quarter.
“Our game plan was to keep coming at them,” explained Pisciotto, who cited the last time the two teams met in early February where the Falcons hit eight three-pointers. “We focused on stopping that this time around. As good as we are individually, we were best when we played together as a unit and that’s a compliment to the team chemistry that we had.”
Elizabeth Strambi, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player after the game, led the Colonials in scoring with 15 points. She scored nine of those points in the first quarter.
“Our defense came up big for us at the beginning of the game,” explained Strambi. “Coach Pisciotto really stresses defense and we focused on that in practices earlier this year.
“This was one of our goals (coming into the tournament) and I’m glad we were able to accomplish it for our seniors,” added Strambi. “This is the best group of girls that I could ever ask for. It’s not only what we did together on the court, but we are close together off the court. These are my best friends.”
Defense was the mantra for the Colonials success this tournament.
“We were composed on offense and played well together as a team and didn’t let up when we took that early lead,” said Kimberley Calloway, who was named to the first team all-conference team after the game. “We really relied on our defense and that’s been our motto all season.”
The focus now shifts toward the NJSIAA North 1, Group 4 championship, which begins for the Colonials on Monday, February 27 and will take on the No. 16-seeded Hackensack Comets. The Colonials are chasing their first girls’ varsity state title since 1980.