West Orange HS girls’ basketball team advances to the ECT semifinals for the first time

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WEST ORANGE, NJ – Sophomore guard Mya Bembry had 21 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and four assists; junior guard Nahtali Simpson had 11 points and senior guard Dawn Flood had eight points to lead the third-seeded West Orange High School girls’ varsity basketball team to a 45-42 home win over sixth-seeded Montclair in the quarterfinal round of the 43rd Essex County Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 18, in a non-stop back-and forth game.

The Lady Mountaineers, who improved to a 20-1 record, advanced to the ECT semifinals for the first time. WOHS will face second-seeded University at 7 p.m., while top-seeded Newark Tech will face fourth-seeded East Orange Campus in the ECT semifinals doubleheader at Weequahic HS in Newark on Feb. 22. The championship game is Saturday, Feb. 25, at Essex County College in Newark at 1 p.m.

Montclair’s Alisa Wiggins had 19 points, including 10 free throws. Montclair made 16 free throws.

Tahj Ballard chipped in nine points.

Bembry had 15 points, eight rebounds, six steals and four assists and Flood had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 61-42 home win over No. 14 seed Newark Arts in the first round of the ECT on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Simpson had seven points; senior point guard Jewel Burnett had nine points and seven assists; junior center Madison Mitchell posted three points and six rebounds and senior forward Deborah Alabi contributed four points and four rebounds for WOHS.

Flood had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Bembry had 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals in the 62-10 home win over Livingston on Feb. 16 in a Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division game. Sophomore guard Kaija Jones had 10 points and Burnett and Simpson each had seven points.

In addition, the second-seeded Mountaineers will host No. 15 seed Clifton in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament on Feb. 27. The winner will face the winner between No. 10 seed North Bergen and No. 7 seed Paterson Eastside in the quarterfinals on March 1. The top seed is Morristown.