ORANGE, NJ – The Orange High School boys’ varsity basketball team had a great run this season.
The third-seeded Tornadoes reached the semifinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state tournament, but lost at second-seeded Chatham, 52-43, Saturday night, March 4.
OHS led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter. Chatham rallied in the second quarter, outscoring the Tornadoes, 13-7, to take a 24-19 halftime lead.
The Tornadoes controlled the third quarter and outscored Chatham, 12-10, to cut it to 34-31 going into the fourth quarter. But Chatham regained control in the fourth quarter to win it.
The Tornadoes, under head coach Jamaal Cooper, finished the season with an impressive 20-6 record, including sharing the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division title with both Verona and Bloomfield. All three teams went 9-3 in the SEC-Colonial Division.
Zahier Childs scored 17 points; D’Angelo Blackmand had 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks; and Rasheed Boyd had 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Tornadoes to a 66-48 win over 14th-seeded Cliffside Park in the first round on Feb. 28. Wesley Lafleur had five points and 10 assists; Armand Jacques had five points; and Latreil Wilson had five points and four rebounds for the Tornadoes.
Rasheed Boyd scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and fellow senior Zahier Childs had 12 points to lead the Tornadoes to a 52-46 win over sixth-seeded Snyder of Jersey City in the quarterfinals on March 2.
OHS started the season with a 6-0 record before losing to Bloomfield, 39-36, on a three-point buzzer-beater at Bloomfield on Jan. 10. The Tornadoes went on to win the next three games, including beating East Orange Campus, 64-53, in the annual OHS M.L.K. Classic. After losing at West Essex, 48-45, Jan. 19, the Tornadoes went on an eight-game winning streak. The streak was snapped with a tough 77-74 loss to eighth-seeded Barringer in the Essex County Tournament first round on Feb. 11. OHS was the No. 9 seed in the ECT.
In their next game, the Tornadoes avenged the loss to Bloomfield with a 49-48 home win, but lost the next two games to Verona, 60-47, and Old Tappan in a wild 103-99 quadruple overtime game in the final regular-season game.
Both Bloomfield (North Jersey Section 1, Group 4) and Verona (North Jersey Section 1, Group 1) reached the championship games of their respective section tournaments.