Morristown High edges Rahway in tournament thriller, 53-51

Morristown's Zach Certner helped lead the Colonials to a huge tournament victory against Rahway. File photo by Scott Schlosser
Morristown's Zach Certner helped lead the Colonials to a huge tournament victory against Rahway. File photo by Scott Schlosser
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By Bill Schlosser

Morristown High School played some of its most inspired basketball of the season on Thursday to drop Rahway, 53-51, in the second round of the State North 2 Group III tournament.

With the victory–arguably Morristown’s biggest in more than a decade–the Colonials will advance on Saturday to face Newark East Side, which beat Mendham.

Rahway came out shooting in Morristown, unofficially hitting seven out of 10 three-pointers in the first half, while the Colonials missed six foul shots. Rahway led by as many as 15 points in the first half.

Paced by Sean Hoehn, the Colonials picked up the tempo, and a last-second shot by Zach Certner narrowed the gap to 30-28 at intermission.

Morristown's Zach Certner helped lead the Colonials to a huge tournament victory against Rahway. File photo by Scott Schlosser
Morristown's Zach Certner helped lead the Colonials to a huge tournament victory against Rahway. File photo by Scott Schlosser

Momentum swung to Morristown in the third quarter, with the home team outscoring Rahway, 16 to 6. The Colonials drove to the basket for strongly contested layups, and picked up a lot of fouls.

Certner and Trey Davis played their best games of the year. Certner had a driving layup, a monster pick, rebounded well and played strong defense. Davis had several key blocks and clutch rebounds, and played well on offense.

But Rahway wasn’t finished. The Indians started hitting again in the fourth quarter and tied the score at 48 with under three minutes left in the game.

Both teams went cold from the line, but Morristown’s Hoehn made four down the stretch for a three-point lead with just over a minute remaining.

Nick Duff had a chance to put the game away at the line, but in the end it was Davis who hit his second foul shot with six seconds left to put Morristown up by four. The Colonials held on to win by a basket.

Ryan Brunnock showed senior leadership with his hustle, strong drives to the basket and his overall energy. He played outstanding defense, hit a couple of clutch free throws, fought for the ball and was a major factor in changing momentum to Morristown’s advantage.

James Mongey helped control the ball, played aggressive defense and had a couple of key baskets. Duff came off the bench when Certner fouled out and grabbed a couple of important rebounds and picked up some key fouls.

Coach Bill Connolly’s team is peaking at just the right time, as it looks ahead to the weekend showdown in Newark.

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