Montclair’s Birgitta Taylor-Lilliquist (4) battles Glen Ridge’s Claire McMahon (22) during the Mounties Essex County loss on Thursday, February 8.
PHOTO BY ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

by Andrew Garda

garda@montclairlocal.news

GLEN RIDGE — The Montclair High School girls basketball team came to play, and while they fell to Glen Ridge, 46-26, they didn’t flinch in the face of a very tough and physical Ridgers team.

The Mounties actually led for the first few minutes of the game, playing a very determined and relentless style of defense that appeared to rattle Glen Ridge.

But the Ridgers responded, scoring the last 4 points of the quarter and finishing it up by 9-7.

Glen Ridge continued to attack Montclair, but the Mounties refused to back down, pressing Glen Ridge and disrupting their offensive flow.  Birgitta Taylor-Lilliquist especially showed toughness in battling Glen Ridge’s Claire McMahon.

McMahon at times definitely seemed frustrated by Taylor-Lilliquist’s physical defense, though she continued to fight her way through it. McMahon was especially dangerous in the second quarter when she scored a dozen points, virtually the whole offense for her team.

Coming out of the break, the Mounties again buckled down in the defensive end and slowed the Glen Ridge attack, holding them to just 8 points.

Unfortunately, Montclair struggled to string points together, and while they were able to generate some turnovers and rebounds, MHS just couldn’t sink baskets. Glen Ridge was especially careful to cover Syncere Lambert, having a defender shadow her at all times in the second half, even if it left another Mountie open on an inbound pass.

Lambert would break free in the fourth quarter, drawing multiple free throws as she drove through the lane, but by that point, Glen Ridge had built too much of a lead for Montclair to overcome.

While the Mounties kept fighting hard, Glen Ridge took advantage of more of their chances, and Montclair just couldn’t keep up.

It didn’t help that few calls went the Mounties’ way, especially in the battle between Taylor-Lilliquist and McMahon. No matter what Taylor-Lilliquist did, she seemed to be on the wrong end of a foul call, and McMahon scored an eye-popping 11 points on free throws.

Aalia Carlson shoots the ball during the first half of Montclair’s ECT game against Glen Ridge. The Mounties lost 46-26.
PHOTO BY ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

“All season it’s been five against seven, and tonight was just horrible,” a frustrated coach Emily Hall said after the game. “I have no idea what’s going on.”

Despite the calls not going their way, Montclair continued to battle hard even when the game was well out of reach.

“My last few speeches on the sideline were just about adversity,” Hall said. “How are you going to respond? This is life, right here. You might have a boss, you might be going through a situation in life, and it’s tough. But how are you going to respond to that?”

The message was clearly heard by Hall’s team, as they continued to battle a tough, physical Glen Ridge squad.

“They might not have gotten the calls,” Hall said, “but nobody truly gave up. So that was good.”

The Mounties look to finish the year on a high note, with a game at home against Bloomfield, then senior night on Thursday against Union.

KEEP LOCAL JOURNALISM ALIVE: MontclairLocal.news is free, but it takes consistent financial support from a community that believes local journalism matters to make it and our weekly print paper possible. Your sustaining contribution of $10 per month (or more) makes you a member, and gets you our print edition. Visit MontclairLocal.news/donations for details and to become a member today.