Nutley HS girls’ basketball team falls to Shabazz in Essex County Tournament quarterfinals

NUTLEY – The Nutley High School girls’ varsity basketball team, seeded fifth, lost at fourth-seeded Newark Shabazz, 55-41, in the quarterfinals of the Essex County Tournament on Feb. 20.

Senior McDonald’s All-American guard and University of Maryland-bound Blair Watson had 20 points, 18 rebounds, seven blocks, four assists and three steals for the Lady Raiders, who moved to a 15-7 record. Freshman guard Courtney Wilde had 11 points, freshman guard Rebecca Granata had eight points and sophomore forward Sydney Kunz had two points.

Earlier in the week, the Raiders defeated Shabazz, 62-56, in double overtime on Feb. 16 at home, led by Watson’s 32 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists and seven blocks, in a Super Essex Conference-American Division game. Shabazz won the other divisional game, 57-35, Jan. 14, at Shabazz.

After beating Shabazz, the Raiders defeated Bloomfield Tech, 54-40, Feb. 18, in West Caldwell in a divisional game. Watson had 27 points, 20 rebounds, seven assists and eight blocks and Wilde had 12 points.

The Raiders are seeking to defend their state North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 tournament. NHS, seeded 11th, will visit sixth-seeded Cranford in the first round on Feb. 29.