RANDOLPH, NJ – Saturday night looked was a very familiar scene for Morristown High basketball fans.
The Colonials got another big performance from the Kevin Hoehn/Luke Haralampoudis duo. Another opponent held below their season’s average on the defensive side of the ball. And in what has become a frequent occurrence in the Bill Connolly era, another trip to CCM.
The standard, same old fundamentally sound basketball that the Colonials play yielded a 52-45 victory over Hanover Park in quarterfinal action of the Morris County Tournament at Randolph High School. The Colonials, seeded fourth and now 15-5 on the campaign, advance to play top-seeded Morristown-Beard in next Saturday night’s semifinal tilt. Morristown previously defeated the Crimson 56-43 in a cross-town matchup on January 28th.
“I thought our defense came up with some big stops in the fourth quarter,” said Connolly, “I also think a guy like Jason Blanco doesn’t get enough credit for his rebounding. He is improving as the year goes on and came up huge for us tonight.”
Indeed, Blanco did have a big night on the boards for the Colonials, and the senior came through with 10 clutch points as well.
Morristown began to separate themselves from the fifth-seeded Hornets early in the fourth quarter, when a personal 5-0 spurt by Josh Szott—recently returned from injury—turned a 36-34 game into a seven-point advantage. Szott nailed a three-ball from the left corner and a mid-range jumper on consecutive possessions.
From there, the Colonials would continue to build on their lead, and essentially put the game on ice when an old fashioned three-point play from Blanco gave them its first double-digit advantage at 50-40 with 2:19 to play.
Creating separation did not come easy for Morristown for a while, though. Hanover Park led 12-11 after a quarter, and the Colonials needed a six point spurt from Hoehn to take a 23-20 advantage into the locker room at halftime. Hoehn had 15 while Haralampoudis pumped in fourteen to lead Morristown.
“We have great senior leadership on this team,” said Connolly, “Luke, Kevin, Josh, Jason, Steve (Leung) and Ashton (Pardie) have all stepped up and know how to play in these situations.”
Hanover Park—who defeated Morristown in this exact spot a year ago in overtime, 56-50—was led by senior Michael Boeckel with 17 points
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