WEST ORANGE, NJ - After going 9-16 and then 11-14 the last two seasons, the girls basketball team from West Orange High School boasts a reasonably healthy 5-5 mark after its first 10 tilts this time around.

The locals, who had posted just two triumphs in their initial six skirmishes this time around, more recently won three straight, as the Lady Mountaineers miffed Millburn, 50-39, on Jan. 9, waylaid West Essex, 52-27, on Jan. 14 and walloped Weequahic, 76-21, on the 16th, before being upended by University High, 51-40, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at WOHS.

That result left the locals in third place in the Super Essex Conference/Liberty Division standings at 4-2, behind only 6-0 Newark Academy and 5-1 University after each trip opening trip through the league loop.

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On Tuesday, West Orange was down by just a singleton, 9-8, at the end of the opening eight minutes of play and by just one bucket, 16-14, at the intermission, but was then outscored, 17-5, in the quarter, prior to winning the fourth frame, 21-18.

The WOHS stats leader in the loss was Madison Mitchell, a sophomore small forward who came off the bench to total a career-high 11 points, to go along with a half-dozen caroms corralled and three shots blocked, while senior shooting guard Sidney Gordon, a three-year starter, recorded six points, a trio of takeaways and two assists. In addition, sophomore power forward Perkins Aliya Perkins contributed seven points and an octet of board and junior small forward Dawn Flood ended up with seven points and four steals on her stats sheet.

“We need to learn how to play more consistently if we want to have a real chance to stay in the hunt for the conference championship,” said third-year WOHS girls head hoops honcho Canience Williams, a member of the Montclair High Class of 2005 who was graduated from Bloomfield College in '09.

“I guess I should be happy that we're at .500 at this point, but I know we can play better if we can just stay focused,” she said, adding, “in the game against University, we had three pretty good quarters, but had one very bad quarter and that's what did us in.”

“If we can just put together a full four quarter effort each time, we can win a lot of games,” she added.

“Right now, I know we're in third place, but, heading into the second half of the league season, we are still very much right there in the thick of the battle for a championship and have a good chance to win a title if we can just stay focused,” she said.

Tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 22, should see Williams' warriors traveling to take on Newark Tech at 7 p.m., with a home court clash against crosstown competitor East Orange slated for a 1 p.m. tipoff on Saturday, the 23rd.