MENDHAM, NJ – The Morristown boys basketball team did everything it could to try and slow down Mendham forward Connor Murphy.
The 6-5 junior forward was double – occasionally triple – teamed every time he touched the ball in Friday night’s NJAC-United clash.
But Murphy, along with a few timely three-pointers from teammate Kenny Bergman, wore the Colonials down in the fourth quarter and ultimately handed Morristown a 60-47 defeat.
The loss dropped Morristown to 5-8 overall with this result, and having entered the day 15th in North 1, Group 4 in power points, the locals’ playoff chances may well come down to the results of its next three games before the seeding cutoff. With Hackensack and Paterson Kennedy – historic blue blood programs both having vintage years at the top of the section – every last power point up for grabs in the section will be crucial for all other entrants come March.
“This was a very good high school basketball game. We were down one point at the half and two after three before we started fouling,” said Morristown coach Bill Connolly. “For more than three quarters, it was an evenly played game and everyone who came out tonight got a good one.”
A right-wing three ball by Colonials guard Timmy Ganning drew Morristown to within 40-39 with 6:10 remaining in the fourth, but Mendham would spring a 20-9 finish down the stretch to move its record to 4-8. Ganning’s hit from distance was followed by a 7-0 run – including two Murphy lay-ups – to put the Minutemen ahead 47-39.
Mendham would move ahead by double digits for good with 1:49 to play, when point guard Kevin Sansone recorded a traditional three-point play.
Prior to that stretch, the lead changed hands on nine separate occasions in this game. After the winners had jumped out to a 15-8 lead after a quarter, Morristown opened the second frame with an 8-0 run. A top of the key three from Steve Leung was followed up by another Ganning triple from the right wing to put Morristown up 16-15.
Midway through the second, Colonials forward Steve Bergeman followed up a pair of three throws with a top of the key three off a screen to give what would be Morristown’s largest lead of the night at 21-18.
A running bank shot by Mendham’s Joe Scotti with 1:13 left in the second gave Mendham a 22-21 lead at the break.
Morristown would take its final lead of the game at the 2:03 mark of the third quarter, when Brendan Pallatta hit a left corner triple to put the Colonials back up 34-32. A Murphy put back to close out the third quarter put Mendham up 36-24 after three, and they would not surrender the lead from that point forward.
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