Vikings win, advance to quarterfinals

Vikings win, advance to quarterfinals


Vikings win, advance to quarterfinals



Heading into Tuesday night’s matchup against No. 9 Mendham, the eighth-seeded Parsippany Hills girls basketball team knew exactly what to expect, and they used it to their advantage.

The Vikings (11-13) had played the Minutemen twice already this season and had lost both times, but Parsippany Hills won when it mattered most and advanced to the quarterfinals of the North 2 Group III Tournament with a 43-31 victory.

“Just to keep our composure,” Parsippany Hills senior guard Danielle Russo said when asked what the plan was against Mendham. “Usually we panic and throw the ball away and usually we have three keys, staying composed is most important for us, and we did that.”

The game stayed close most of the way, but with Mendham (12-13) leading 22-20 in the third quarter, junior forward Veronica Serkowska hit a 3-pointer to put the Vikings ahead 23-22 with 3 minutes 47 seconds left. Serkowska hit another 3 almost one minute later for a 26-22 lead, but junior forward Irene Margiotta scored to get the Minutemen back within 26-24 with 1:33 left.

A 3-pointer from Russo and a basket by sophomore guard Rochelle Blair in the final seconds gave Parsippany a 31-24 lead at the end of the three.

The Vikings opened the fourth quarter with a string of free throws that gave them a 34-24 lead with 5:03 to play. Junior guard Emma Spoldi scored Mendham’s first basket of the quarter with 2:55 left for a 34-26 game, but another pair of free throws from Blair pushed the lead back to 10 with 2:42 to go.

Sophomore guard Ashley Gehrin scored for Mendham with 2 minutes left, but a basket by Serkowska and another set of free throws from Blair put the Vikings out of reach 40-28 with 1:27 left. With 58.1 seconds to go, junior guard Michelle Stanton hit a 3-pointer for Mendham to get within 40-31, but a free throw from senior guard Mimi Hess and a basket by Blair with 25.2 seconds remaining secured the 43-31 final.

“I think our defense tonight was just amazing,” Serkowska said. “I just couldn’t be more proud of our entire team, everyone did an awesome job.”

A basket by senior guard Aubree Udell with seven seconds left gave Mendham the early 9-7 lead after the first quarter, and then opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run for a 14-7 advantage. Parsippany Hills coach Van Johnson then inserted freshman guard Victoria Lombardi, who sparked the offense with five-straight points and got the Vikings back within 14-12 with 3:32 to go in the half.

Parsippany Hills climbed back within one, 16-15, at the half and the two teams traded baskets until the Vikings started their run.

“I had some people that stepped up tonight,” Johnson said. “Dredden was unbelievable, blocking shots, getting on the ground for loose balls, she had a ton of rebounds. Lombardi came in in the first half when our offense couldn’t get going she sparked us on offense, Veronica (Serkowska) knocked down shots in the second half, Danielle (Russo) knocked down shots in the second half which put us in a good spot, Rochelle (Blair) made foul shots. Everyone stepped up.”

Serkowska led the Vikings with 19 points 11 rebounds while Blair chipped in nine points and nine rebounds. Sophomore center Mikaela Dredden was the leading rebounder with 17 rebounds. Stanton led the Minutemen with nine points and senior guard Aubree Udell had seven points. Margiotta led with seven rebounds.

Parsippany Hills moves on to the quarterfinals where it will face top-seeded West Morris, which defeated No. 16 Voorhees 46-39. The North 2 Group III quarterfinal matchup is today at 7 p.m. at West Morris.

“It’s awesome, it’s the greatest feeling in the workd,” Russo said. “Especially being a senior, I get one more game, or maybe a couple of more games. It’s going to be tough but we just have to play with the same intensity.”


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