RANDOLPH, NJ -- As the No. 1 seed in the Section 1, Group 4 state playoffs, expectations for the Randolph girls basketball team were a victory in round one and on to the quarterfinals. But the Lady Rams knew better, as 16th-seeded West Orange plays a tough Essex County schedule and boasts a budding star in sophomore Kiley Capstraw.
“We knew going in this was going to be a battle,” said Randolph head coach Pete Torres. “Kiley Capstraw has many D-I offers, and she can carry a team on her back. Our girls stayed composed, kept playing our game, and we wore them down in the fourth quarter.”
But before that fourth quarter, it was anybody’s game as the teams went toe to toe and point for point. The Mountaineers (10-16) played a swarming, pressure defense, and were holding a 19-18 lead early in the third quarter.
But the Rams (22-3) then grabbed control by going on a 10-0 run, kicked off with a bucket by Ellie Sciancalepore and a 3-pointer by Angeleen Mulero. Back on defense, Mulero forced a 5-second turnover and then converted a layup for a 25-19 lead. Olivia Turner then blocked a shot that led to a three-point play by Sciancalepore and the lead swelled to 28-19.
But West Orange would not quit, and the Mountaineers ramped up the defensive pressure again, forcing turnovers and converting on offense to trim the lead to 30-27.
Capstraw finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Shyleea Ryan had eight points and eight rebounds for West Orange.