WEST ORANGE, NJ – Newark Tech girls basketball squeaked past West Orange in the final seconds of overtime to take its first-ever Essex County title, 55-53, in a game held at Essex County College on Saturday.
The Terriers Zianna Goda got the ball from teammate Caitlin Townes after a missed shot by the Mountaineers and hit a lay-up with less than one second on the clock to give Newark Tech the win.
Both teams were back and forth throughout the game and neither team was ever ahead by more than five points throughout. The lead changed hands by one-or-two points through all four quarters with a tie at the end of the fourth.
“This is one of the best ECT finals games I’ve ever seen,” said the SEC announcer at the conclusion of the game. "These are two great teams."
West Orange’s Mya Bembry had 21 points despite the defense from Newark Tech—15 of them in the third quarter. Caitlin Townes countered with 21 points for Newark Tech, 14 in the fourth.
Newark Tech scored eight three-pointers—six coming in the second half—to turn the tide in the Terriers’ favor. Terrier Nia Mallette had three three-pointers.
“We played a great game,” said West Orange head coach Caniece Montague. “It just came down to free throws and decision-making and unfortunately they made the free throws and the better decisions. Now we need to bounce back quickly and start working towards a sectional championship.”
That journey for the number two-seeded Mountaineers begins on Feb. 27 in a home game against Bergen Tech starting at 7:00 p.m.