Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Nine days after the Patriots’ double-overtime loss to Lincoln in the Hudson County final, sixth-seeded Bloomfield Tech defeated top-seeded Secaucus, 39-35, in the North 2, Group 1 final. It was just the second loss in 24 games for Secaucus (28-3), but the defeat denied the Patriots what would’ve been the first girls basketball sectional title in school history.
Junior guard Ashunae Durant scored a team-high 13 points for Bloomfield Tech (15-12), including a pair of free throws that gave the Spartans a 38-35 advantage with 39 seconds left in the game.
“Our girls gave a great effort, but we just didn’t knock down enough shots,” Secaucus coach John Sterling said. “We had opportunities, but they knocked down a couple of tough shots. They hit that three in the corner, we had a few roll in and out, and like I said to the girls, that’s part of this game. With two evenly matched teams, you’ve got to bury some of your shots, and we shot very poorly from the perimeter. But I’m very proud of them.”
Bloomfield Tech senior guard Ra-janee Fuller drained the three-pointer to which Sterling referred. It gave the Spartans a 31-24 lead with 7:25 left in the game.
A layup by junior forward Yasmin Dorrielan again extended Bloomfield Tech’s lead to seven points, but Secaucus came back from that 35-28 disadvantage. Sophomore guard Andie Lennon’s layup cut Bloomfield Tech’s lead to 36-35 with 1:31 to go, but Secaucus squandered its two chances to take the lead by missing a pair of foul shots and committing a turnover on an inbounds pass the Patriots attempted out of a timeout.
“When we got down seven, we very easily could’ve folded up and gone on to a 10-point, 11-point loss or more,” Sterling said. “But we battled back and had as good a chance as they did down the stretch. But it didn’t go our way.”
Sophomore guard Julia McClure (10 points, nine rebounds, two steals), freshman forward Zoe Pero (11 points, nine rebounds) and Lennon (nine points, three steals) all were instrumental in the young Patriots keeping themselves within one possession of taking the lead late in the game.
Senior forward Javee Artis contributed nine points and 12 rebounds for Bloomfield Tech. Dorrielan added eight points and 12 rebounds for the Spartans.
“The conference we play in is tough,” said Bloomfield Tech coach Bill Rogers, whose team will play Midland Park in the Group 1 semifinals at 5 p.m., Wednesday at Ramapo High School. “Our record is very deceiving. We play a lot of tough games. We lose a few, but not by many points. We play Shabazz twice, East Orange, and they get battle-tested early. That helped us. That helps a lot. We can play with the best of them.”