MORRISTOWN—Having the advantage of playing on their home court, the boys and girls basketball teams of Morristown High won their state tournament openers.
In the earlier game, the top-seeded Colonial girls had no trouble taking care of a Kearny squad that also likes to play at a fast pace. Morristown rolled to a 51-17 decision over the squad from western Hudson County in the opening round of the NJSIAA North 1, Group 4 tournament. Elizabeth Strambi—Morristown’s sophomore guard—scored 18 points in this game to lead the Maroon & White.
The road will get much, much tougher on Thursday, however, when 9th seed and perennial Essex County power Montclair pays a visit to Morristown. The Mounties took a 44-38 win over Fair Lawn in their state opener.
The boys game was a much more interesting affair. Even at home, the state tournament has never been very kind to Morristown. Way back in the 1910s and 1920s, the Colonials lost to the Passaic High juggernaut that won a record 159 games in a row three times in state play.
In 1974, several days after winning the Morris County Tournament, Morristown was bounced by Plainfield, 75-56. The same thing occurred in 2001 when Barringer bounced the Colonials on their home floor on opening night.
But last night, the sixth-seeded Morristown (17-7) boys took down Paterson Kennedy, 59-46 to open up North 1 Group 4 play. Kevin Hoehn had a game high 18 points while Josh Szott and Rohan Walker contributed a combined 22 points for the Colonials.
It will be an all-Morris County matchup in the county seat on Thursday night, as Morristown will face #14 seed Mount Olive in the quarterfinal. The Marauders knocked off #3 seed West Orange in opening round action last night.
While not official yet, the start times for Thursday’s games will likely be the same as this evening: 5 PM for the girls and 7 PM for the boys.
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