by Andrew Garda
The Montclair High School boys basketball team was off to a solid start to the season, but with the new year, have come several missteps. First a close 79-72 loss to American History on January 2.
And Friday night, they suffered another setback with a lopsided 48-29 loss to Seton Hall Prep.
It didn’t start off that way. The Mounties led throughout much of the first quarter, finishing with a 10-7 lead and some momentum. Four different players scored for Montclair, with Charles Murphy Jr, DeShawn Davis, Shawn Summers and Izaiah McPherson all scoring a basket.
The Mounties could have had a bigger lead, however, if they hadn’t been sloppy with the ball. Errant passes, poor shot selection and ball handling just a little too cavalier created too many turnovers and gave the Pirates too many chances, while limiting Montclair’s scoring.
Seton Hall Prep fought back at the start of the second quarter, tying the game at 14 with 4:42 remaining in the half. After a 30 second time out called by Mounties head coach Gary Wallace, the two sides traded points, tying again at 17.
Then, the Pirates put together a nine point run, taking the lead and finishing the half up 26-17. They would outscore Montclair 21-0, with the Mounties finally scoring with 4:49 left in the third on a Davis bucket.
While Montclair scored the last five points in the quarter, they had been outscored 21-5 over the course of 10 minutes.
The same thing plagued Montclair during that span which kept Seton Hall Prep in the game early. Montclair’s continued sloppy play resulted in turnovers, and while Seton Hall Prep has struggled this season, the Pirates are still too good a squad to hand the ball off to the way MHS did Friday night.
As the fourth quarter began, Montclair struggled to find the basket, while SHP was able to score almost at will. After lengthening their lead in the third quarter, the Pirates never came close to losing it, and Montclair was unable to close the gap.
For a complete breakdown of the game, along with quotes from coach Gary Wallace, check out Thursday’s online and print editions of the Montclair Local.