ESSEX COUNTY, NJ -- The defending champion West Orange girls basketball team has drawn the fifth seed for the Essex County Tournament, which opens with preliminary games this week.

The Mountaineers get a bye through the first two preliminary rounds, and will play either Newark West Side or Collegiate on Feb. 8.

University High School is the top seed.

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Columbia has been seeded 10th. The Cougars will play their first game Feb. 6 against either Belleville or Weequahic.

The championship game is scheduled to be played at West Orange High School Feb. 22.