WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Recreation Department and Mountain Top League's (MTL) basketball season ended on March 20 with “Championship Sunday,” which consisted of four games and the finals of the “Hot Shot Tournament.”
The day kicked off at West Orange High School’s Tarnoff Gym with the Middle School Girls’ Final of Liberty vs. Dream, with Dream coming out on top 24-23.
It was followed by the Elementary Girls’ Final between the Pleasantdale/Washington Lady Panthers vs. Redwood Lady Rockets. The Lady Panthers bested the Lady Rockets 25-12.
The Hot Shot Tournament took place next. Prior to this event, each elementary school held a local competition to crown a school champion. The 14 school champions (seven boys/seven girls) competed to crown a Boys’ Town Champion and a Girls’ Town Champion of the Hot Shot Tournament.
Hot Shot Winners –
Girls - Lauren Walters of Mt. Pleasant and Sophia Feliciano of St. Cloud were co-Town Champions. Samantha Galantini of Pleasantdale, Gloria Harrison-Flood of Washington, Lilly Diaz of Redwood, Maya Anand of Gregory and Eleni Palaguachi of Hazel were school champions.
Boys - Naasir Cunningham of Gregory was the Town Champion and Michael Cassels of Redwood was the Town Runner Up. Khalid Noel of Hazel, Ashton Singleton of Washington, Stephen Niamke of Mt. Pleasant, Andrew Hinfey of St. Cloud, and Michael Bonifacio of Pleasantdale were school champions.
Next up was the Elementary Boys’ Championship between the Gregory Eagles and the Cobras. The game churned up a lot of fan participation as the game went into double overtime. In the end, the Cobras triumphed over the Eagles 59-54.
The Middle School Boys’ Championship between the Suns and the Clippers closed out the day and season, with the Clippers taking the championship by a score of 52-27.
The MTL offers in house basketball leagues for both boys and girls in grades 6 through 8 in conjunction with the West Orange Recreation Department. Each player must attend an evaluation session prior to being placed on a team each year.
(All photos courtesy of the West Orange Recreation Department)