WEST ORANGE – Senior forward Ryan Toohers had 23 points and five rebounds and senior guard and University of Notre Dame-bound T.J. Gibbs also had 23 points, five rebounds and five assists to lead the top-seeded and defending champion Seton Hall Prep varsity basketball team to an 87-49 win over eighth-seeded American History in the quarterfinals of the 70th Essex County Tournament on Feb. 21 at SHP.
Senior guard Stephen Ferraro had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists; and senior forward Zach Keller had six rebounds and seven assists for the Pirates, who won their 19th straight game and improved to a 24-1 record.
SHP will face fifth-seeded Newark West Side in the ECT semifinals doubleheader at West Orange High School on Feb. 23. The other semifinal pits sixth-seeded East Orange Campus against second-seeded Newark East Side.
This marks the Pirates’ 39th semifinal appearance in the ECT. The Pirates have won 16 ECT titles and finished runner-up 10 times, both tournament records. Their record in the ECT is 132-49.
The Pirates will face West Side for the ninth time in the ECT and hold a 6-2 lead in the tournament series.
The championship game is Feb. 27.
The Pirates won two other games during the week. On Feb. 16, the Pirates hosted Orange and won, 86-45. Toohers had 21 points and five rebounds; Gibbs had 20 points, eight assists and four steals; Ferraro posted 10 points and five assists and Keller recorded 10 points and four steals.
The Pirates hosted Columbia on Feb. 28 and won, 85-53. Toohers scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds; Gibbs scored 18 points, pulled down seven rebounds and dished out five assists; Ferraro and junior guard Austin Williams each had eight points; and senior guard J.J. Jenkins had six points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
SHP clinched the Super Essex Conference-American Division title for the second consecutive season and four of the past five years of the conference existence.
The Pirates, seeded second, will host the winner of No. 10 seed Delbarton and No. 7 seed Pope John in the quarterfinals of the state North Jersey Non-Public A tournament on March 4.