MORRISTOWN, NJ—Before Thursday night's sectional quarterfinal, Kevin Hoehn had the last meeting on the basketball court between his Colonials boys basketball squad and Mount Olive on the back of his mind.
With good reason, too. In the 2014 Morris County final—despite 23 points from his older brother and Morristown 1,000 point man, Sean—Mount Olive took the MCT crown on a buzzer beater.
Thanks in large very part to Hoehn, Morristown was playing its reserves and reveling in a demolition of the Marauders when the final buzzer sounded. Fueled by 29 points from the standout junior guard, Morristown rolled to a 74-52 victory over Mount Olive in front of a large crowd at Morristown High, improving to 18-7 on the season.
Following this result, Mount Olive still leads the all-time series between the schools, 13-9.
After a tightly played 15-14 first quarter, Hoehn personally scored nine straight points for Morristown to help his squad extend their lead to 31-23 at the half.
“(The 2014 game) was definitely in the back of everyone’s mind, and I was definitely ready for and looking forward to playing this game,” said Hoehn, “I think most of the guys on this team were too.”
Another player that had a big impact on the game was junior Colonials forward Josh Szott, whose rebounding presence and outside shooting—he swished a pair of three-balls—proved to be a thorn in Mount Olive’s side as well. Szott finished with 10 on the night.
“We were looking for the best available shot, whether it came early or later in a possession,” said Morristown coach Bill Connolly, “I think a lot of guys were able to find good, quality looks from the floor tonight.”
Morristown busted the game open with a 21-13 third quarter. One of Szott’s triples at the 5:59 mark gave the home team their first double-digit lead at 35-25. After Mount Olive’s Jason Drury—who led the Marauders in scoring with 14—cut the deficit to 35-30 with a three of his own, Morristown vaulted on a 9-0 run that included seven points from home. A Luke Haralampoudis (six points) lay-up in transition accounted for the other score.
When Mount Olive trimmed the deficit back to 10 at 44-34, Morristown got on another 8-0 run, including run out lay-ups from Hoehn and Rohan Walker.
Hoehn, Walker, Szott, and Haralampoudis all scored in the fourth quarter as the Colonial barrage on Mount Olive’s porous defense continued. With 2:50 left, and a 67-44 lead, Connolly inserted his reserves to close out the game.
The bottom half of the quarterfinal bracket in North 1, Group 4 included four Morris County teams all from the old Iron Hills Conference-Iron Division, a rare and special occurrence.
On Saturday, Morristown will take on a generational rival—Randolph—in another legendary IHC-Iron local rivalry renewed.
“Randolph is an excellent, balanced basketball team, and it will be a tough challenge for us,” said Connelly.
Hoehn added: “(Randolph) has great fan support and we do too. It should be an awesome atmosphere there.”
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