CEDAR GROVE, NJ - In what was the best season in program’s history the Cedar Grove Girls Basketball Team’s Cinderella story of a State Section Title came to an end at the hands of a talented Emerson Boro Team by a final score of 55-29.
“It stings, I said to the girls don’t hang your head and cry, cry because it’s the end of the season and the relationships you have formed that you’re going to miss, but we got beat by a good team tonight,” said Cedar Grove Head Coach Bill Scanlion.
Emerson Boro dominated from the onset of the contest catching a nervous Panther team by surprise. Cedar Grove struggled against a full-court press that resulted in over half a dozen turnovers in the first quarter leading to a 14-7 lead at the end of the frame.
“We knew they were going to press. They want to score in the 50’s that’s where they are and we’re usually in the 40’s…it was a tempo game and they set the tempo,” said Scanlion.
The Lady Panthers tried to battle back, but failed to muster up any solid scoring runs. Elyse Fearon collected four of her team-high 10 points in the first half helping to keep Cedar Grove in the game. For Fearon, it was her third consecutive playoff game in double digit scoring showing just how pivotal she was for her team this year.
“She is a remarkable young woman she really is, she represents Cedar Grove really well,” said Scanlion.
Emerson continued to keep Cedar Grove on edge in the second half as they would take an insurmountable 23 point lead into the fourth quarter. Solid defensive play along with dominance inside the paint would doom any thoughts of a Lady Panther comeback.
“The game sped up and we weren’t able to slow it down,” said Scanlion.
For Cedar Grove the loss ends what was a historic season by program’s standards. The 17-10 Lady Panthers had never sniffed a title game let alone participated in one. In a run that included knocking off six seeded Saddle Brook in a last second mannner the team united the school enough to nearly sell out the gym for Tuesday’s game.
“What these kids did, filling that gym for the first time ever Cedar Grove Girls Basketball in the Section Final it was a huge season for this team,” said Scanlion
In a long four months the team showed its true colors battling back from a losing streak to make the playoffs and earn a two seed.
“We started off the season really well and we continued on and then we hit a lull [midseason]. To come back and win [three playoff games] it speaks volumes of their character, these kids are so resilient and I’m so proud of them,” said Scanlion.