NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The West Essex girls basketball team advanced with a 54-34 victory over Passaic Valley in the opening round of the NJSIAA Section 1, Group 3 state tournament Tuesday night.

West Essex (20-4) broke to an 18-7 lead after a quarter and built a 14-point lead by halftime. Rachel Mintz finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Knights.

Nicole Realbuto had 13 points and six rebounds for West Essex, which got nine points and four assists from Danica DeFrank; and eight points, 18 rebounds and four assists from Brielle Krause.