The Morristown boys basketball team took a commanding lead against Delbarton on Wednesday night and hung on to defeat the Green Wave 56-52 in a National Division matchup.
Delbarton’s only lead of the game was at the end of the first quarter when the Green Wave led 11-10. In the second quarter the Colonials (8-3) outscored Delbarton 23-3 and led 33-14 at the half.
“We were pressuring the ball, we were jumping the passing lanes, we were working well together,” Morristown senior guard Ryan Brunnock said. “Up top we were pressuring the ball and our guys could just steal baskets. We scored a lot on break that (second) quarter so we did well with that.”
Delbarton had so much trouble with Morristown’s defense that the Green Wave went 5 minutes 43 seconds without a basket to open the second quarter.
“We thought we had to take advantage, go inside and work the ball but they put so much pressure on our guards in the first half that we did not react well,” Delbarton coach Dan Whalen said. “We turned the ball over and we could not get in. After that first four minutes of the first quarter we just could not run our offense for the rest of the half and we were in a huge hole.”
In the second quarter the Green Wave (6-4) started to chip away at the Colonial’s offense a little, outscoring Morristown 16-13 in the quarter and the game went to the fourth quarter with Delbarton down 17, 47-30.
“In the second half we had to just change, all of our thoughts going in we had to change,” Whalen said. “It worked out for us because we had a much better second half but when you dig yourself a hole that deep first thing you have to do is stop digging, we just kept digging in that second quarter. We played together a lot better in the second half. The first half we started having individuals try and make things happen on their own, we lost our team identity, we lost our offense and defense and we had to correct that.”
And correct it they did. The Green Wave went on a tear in the fourth quarter, outscoring Morristown 22-10. With 6:52 left in the game Delbarton went on a 8-0 run to get Morristown’s lead to 10 points, 48-38. Junior guard Sean Hoehn made two free throws with 4:17 left, but Delbarton scored back-to-back baskets to get within eight, 50-42. Another free throw by junior guard James Mongey pushed the lead back to nine, but two free throws from senior forward Rob Thoma and a basket by Dave Murphy got the Green Wave within five, 51-46.
“We came out a little flat,” Brunnock said of Morristown’s performance in the second half. “You have to give Delbarton credit, they played a lot better in the second half. It’s something we can fix, we’ll get better at it. I thought at the end we handled adversity well, a team fought back and we were able to hold them off so it’s something I don’t think in the past we were as good at so definitely something positive there.”
The Green Wave scored six points down the stretch but Morristown scored five points off of free throws to keep the Green Wave at bay and hold on for the win.
“We can take out of it that we can get better,” Whalen said. “We can get a lot better. We just chipped away and chipped away, got it down to single digits and kept chipping, (the team) never gave up and that’s a credit to them.”