NUTLEY, NJ - Abby Scheidel of Nutley left it all on the court.
Scheidel, a senior guard, totaled a team-high 22 points along with 19 rebounds but third-seeded Nutley suffered a 54-42 loss to sixth-seeded Mendham in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 tournament on Thursday, March 5 in Nutley.
The loss signaled the end of Nutley's season that concluded with a 19-9 record. Mendham, which was paced by a game-high 29 points from Leah Lattmann, went on to lose to second-seeded Warren Hills in the sectional semifinals.
"At one point we cut the deficit to seven points in the fourth quarter so we were right there," said Scheidel. "It was a really tough game to lose and once it hit me after the game I got really sad knowing that I had played my last game ever in high school."
Nutley had advanced to the quarters by defeating 14th-seeded Parsippany Hills, 44-36, in the opening round on March 2 at home.
Scheidel finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists in that game while Liana Minichini added 13 points, MacKenzie Albert had seven points and Jaden Long dropped in six points.
Scheidel finished her senior season with 511 points, good for an 18.3 average, She also averaged 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 steals and was deadly from behind the arc, making 90 3-pointers.
She reached the 1,000 point milestone on Jan. 13 of this year and finished with 1,351 career points.
"It was a goal of mine to reach 1,000 points and it means so much to me to be able to fulfill that goal," said Scheidel. "I am very grateful to have played with so many great players and for great coaches and to have made my mark here."
With Scheidel leading the way, Nutley fashioned a 10-2 mark and won the Liberty Division of the Super Essex Conference by a game over West Essex, which was 9-3.
Nutley was 2-0 against West Essex this season, including a 70-69 overtime victory on Feb. 6 at home.
Long led the way with a game-high 25 points while Scheidel (21 points) and Minichini (17 points) also reached double figures.
Despite the loss of Scheidel and fellow seniors Long (9.3 ppg.) and Sofia Lamond, Nutley will return a slew of underclassmen next year including freshman guard Minichini (7.9 ppg., 43 3-pointers) and sophomore guard Albert (8.0 ppg.).
Other returning players for head coach Larry Mitschow include junior Lindsey Moraski, sophomores Nicole Cicchetti, Rebecca Echevarria, Stephanie Luberto and Alex Twomey and freshman Megan Riccardi.
Scheidel is excited for what the next three years can hold for Minichini, who had a superb debut season.
"She definitely works hard and has a lot of confidence when shooting," said Scheidel. "As long as she keeps working at it she's going to put up a lot of numbers for Nutley."
While Scheidel will keep working in the off-season as she gets ready to attend Muhlenberg College in the fall, she will fondly remember her playing days at Nutley.
"I'm really excited for college and the opportunities there and hopefully I'll do well," began the 5-7 Scheidel. "But I'm always going to remember the great bonds I created with the players here and what we were able to accomplish."
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