MOUNT OLIVE, NJ - In a high school basketball nail-biter at Mount Olive, Roxbury came up short because of a final-seconds shot by the Mount Olive Marauders.
The stage was set for what was going to be a thriller game between two Morris County power house. Played at Mount Olive High School, both schools brought huge student sections to the game, instilling an electrifying aura to the gymnasium .
On one side were the Mount Olive students in a black-out theme. On the other the Roxbury students dressed in school colors, blue and gold.
Right from the start both teams were looking to push the ball up the court and score quickly. From the first opening moments, it became clear the game would be won with guard play, and both teams had experienced guards who knew what it takes to win in Morris County.
Roxbury guards Anthony McMyne, a senior, and Steven Loreng, a junior, came out on fire with the three point shot and driving to the basket with ease. Senior Doug Alexander manned the middle and worked hard in the paint to get shots for the guards.
And for Mount Olive, guards Jason Drury, a junior, and Chris Grillo, a senior, came out looking to shoot the three and to shoot often. When the duo did not score it was senior Donte Wise that was looking to shoot. He had 17 points and hit a couple of threes in the game to help the Marauders scoring.
Throughout the game the two teams were neck and neck. One team kept going on runs, but then the other responded by doing the same. At the end of the second quarter the score was 38-35 in favor of the Roxbury Gaels.
The second half was more of the same. Alexander worked hard all night but did most of his damage in the second half. He was a force in the paint and he made the most of his free throws. He scored 18 points in total.
The other big man for Mount Olive, junior Tyler Piekarz, also played a crucial role by gobbling up all the rebounds that came his way. He grabbed rebounds on both ends of the floor and contributed with his points inside.
Going into the fourth quarter it was still anybody’s game. The score was 57-56 with the Gaels in the lead. Like the first three quarters, the game went back and forth.
Late in the fourth quarter, with less than two minutes left, Drury drained a three pointer to tie the game at 70. The teams once again traded baskets to tie the score at 72. Thanks to Alexander, the Gaels were able to tie with less than 20 seconds on the clock.
Mount Olive got the ball and Grillo dribbled up the court looking to find an open man for the dish. The Gaels played solid defense so it couldn’t happen. Time was about to run out, so Grillo drove to the hoop but was stopped by Loreng. He had no other choice but to throw up a prayer from the foul line. He swished it home with no time for Roxbury to respond.
It was a devastating loss for the Gaels. They did all they could, but in the end it just was not enough. The Gaels will have to shake off this one because their rivals in Randolph will be coming to their gym Jan. 22 to do battle.