WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School girls’ varsity basketball team enjoyed arguably its best season in program history.
The Mountaineers, under fourth-year head coach Caniece Williams, ended its fantastic season with a heartbreaking 43-41 loss to 11th-seeded East Orange Campus in the semifinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament on Friday night, March 3, at WOHS. East Orange’s Brianna Mills hit a layup with four seconds remaining to win it.
Sophomore guard Mya Bembry led all scorers with 22 points to pace the the second-seeded Mountaineers. Senior guard Dawn Flood had nine points; senior point guard Jewel Burnett had six points; junior guard Nahtali Simpson had three points and junior center Madison Mitchell had one point for the Mountaineers, who finished with a stellar 23-4 record, including winning the Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division title for the first time and finishing runner-up in the Essex County Tournament.
WOHS reached the ECT final for the first time in the 43-year history of the tournament, losing to Newark Tech, which won it on buzzer-beating layup in overtime, 55-53, Feb. 25.
The Mountaineers went 16-0 to start the season before losing to Queen of Peace, 50-30, on Feb. 2 on the road. WOHS won its next five games, including two games in the ECT, before falling to two-time Bergen County Tournament champion Saddle River Day, 54-44, on the road. In the next game, the third-seeded Mountaineers lost to top-seeded Newark Tech in the ECT final. Following the ECT, WOHS defeated 15th-seeded Bergen Tech, 55-32, Feb. 27, in the first round and defeated seventh-seeded Ridgewood, 37-35, March 1, in the quarterfinals of the section tournament.
WOHS went undefeated in the SEC-Liberty Division.