ESSEX COUNTY, NJ -- The defending champion West Orange girls basketball team has drawn the fifth seed for the Essex County Tournament, which opens with preliminary games this week.

The Mountaineers get a bye through the first two preliminary rounds, and will play either Newark West Side or Collegiate on Feb. 8.

University High School is the top seed.

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Caldwell has been seeded sixth, and will play its first tournament game Feb. 8 against either Newark Central, Montclair-Kimberley or Montclair.

West Essex is the eighth seed and Livingston is the ninth seed. West Essex has a bye until Feb. 8, when the Lady Knights could face Livingston that day. On Feb. 6, Livingston will host either Orange or Shabazz in a second-round preliminary game.

The championship game is scheduled to be played at West Orange High School Feb. 22.