EAST ORANGE, NJ (corrected Tuesday March 7, 9:16 a.m.) – The East Orange Campus High School girls’ varsity basketball team’s bid for a section title for the third consecutive season was denied with a tough 45-35 loss to top-seeded Morristown in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament championship game on Monday night, March 6, in Morristown.
Despite the loss, the Jaguars enjoyed a great run. EOCHS, seeded 11th, reached a section final for the fifth straight season after a miraculous win over second-seeded West Orange in the semifinals.
EOCHS, under 14th-year head coach Derrick Johnson, finished the season with a solid 17-9 record.
Junior center Moriyah Jordan had 12 points and freshman guard Brianna Turner had 10 points to lead the Jaguars. Senior Chania Johnson had seven points; sophomore guard Brianna Mills contributed five points and junior Lauren Lewter added a free throw for EOCHS.
Morristown jumped out to a 10-2 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended it to 24-12 at halftime. EOCHS rallied in the second half, but Morristown held on for the win.
Morristown, which won the Morris County Tournament championship this season, improved to a 26-2 record.
The Jaguars advanced to the section final in stunning fashion. Mills hit a layup with four seconds remaining to lift the Jaguars to a 43-41 thrilling win over second-seeded West Orange High School in the semifinals on Friday night, March 3, at West Orange HS.
With the Jaguars trailing by five with less than one minute remaining, freshman Brianna Turner hit two straight three-pointers to give EOCHS a one-point lead. West Orange tied it on a free throw, though it had four attempts at the line in the final 22 seconds, before Mills delivered the game-winner.
The Jaguars overcame a nine-point deficit with three minutes left in the game to beat third-seeded Bloomfield, 53-49, in the quarterfinals on March 1 at Bloomfield HS.
East Orange lost to two out-of-state teams this season, Moore Catholic of New York, 45-43, in the third game of the season Dec. 28 in the Marist Holiday Challenge, and Potter’s House Christian Academy of Jacksonville, Fla., 71-31, Jan. 8, at Paterson Kennedy. EOCHS finished third in the Super Essex Conference-American Division with an 8-4 record, behind second-place University and first-place Newark Tech, which went 12-0 in the division.
The Jaguars lost to Newark Tech in back-to-back games, 42-33, Feb. 02, in a divisional game at home, and 49-33 in the ECT semifinals on Feb. 22 at Weequahic HS in Newark. The Jaguars defeated Newark Tech in the 2016 ECT final for their second straight county tournament championship.
Following the ECT semifinal loss, EOCHS fell to Teaneck, 62-45, Feb 25, at home in the final regular-season game.