PARSIPPANY, NJ - The Parsippany Hills High School boys basketball team had a stiff challenge to open the season Friday night when it hosted the defending Morris County Tournament champion West Morris Central Wolfpack.
With nearly its whole cast back from last year’s historic season, there is a ton of expectation for West Morris. Parsippany Hills is more of in a rebuild.
The Vikings fought hard but ultimately dropped the opener, 83-52, in front of a packed home crowd.
“We had a senior-led group last year and we gave (West Morris) two great games,” said Parsippany Hills’ head coach Michael Herzenberg. “We came close to beating them. We had a golden opportunity to beat them at home last year. We have a different team this year. We have some underclassmen who have never been in this situation.”
West Morris raced out to a 12-0 lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter. The Vikings scored five points after Jordan Thompson finished inside. West Morris was able to capitalize on some turnovers forced by its defensive pressure, and the Wolfpack got a ton of points in transition and inside.
The Wolfpack led 23-10 after one quarter.
While Parsippany Hills tried to cut the deficit into single digits in the second quarter, the Wolfpack ultimately began to pull away behind an overall team effort.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge coming in,” Herzenberg said. “The type of pressure West Morris puts on the ball and just their depth I think was overwhelming. We have a bunch of guards who just aren’t used to handling the ball against that type of pressure. We’ll have to learn as we go.”
Thompson led the Vikings with 18 points and Anthony Memoli contributed 16.
Those two are players Herzenberg hopes to lead the group.
“Jordan is blessed with some great athletic ability,” the coach said. “We’re going to count on him to be an inside presence. He has improved his jump shot. Anthony Memoli is a senior captain, lefty shooter. We’re going to rely on those two to lead us this year.”
In a rebuilding season, patience is obviously required. Then, Herzenberg says, is all about simplifying fundamentals.
“Where are we are struggling most and hammering it down,” Herzenberg said. “Individual improvement really comes in the offseason. We’ll do what we can with this group. The biggest thing is competing hard.”