By Mark Kitchin
Morristown High season review
The most important games of Morristown High’s boys basketball season may have been games that the Colonials did not play in at all. First year coach Bill Connolly took some of them to contests to see how other high school teams prepared for their battles.
“I brought (them) to watch Somerset County games during the course of the year,’’ Connolly said. “We were in the locker room with teams before the game and it gave them an opportunity to see how they prepare and go about their business and the level of excitement that all the players in the program freshman through varsity have for that.
“They could hear me talk about it but the visual for them to go down there and being in that locker room and seeing it for themselves was important. One game (a tournament contest) went to triple overtime. They saw the amount of fans that came to watch the team play and the energy that the players put into it. It’s something our guys want to be a part of and that’s what we are going to try to build here at Morristown.’’
The play of A. J. Tracy (12) is one of many reasons why the Colonials are excited about the future.
Connolly revamped the Morristown program which finished at 9-15 and hovered just below .500 most of the year in the competitive NJAC-National. Wins against out of conference foes New Providence and Millburn and local opponents Delbarton and West Morris helped build confidence. Morristown also had a Morris County Tournament preliminary round triumph against Morris Catholic. However, Connolly believed the team made bigger strides off the court than on.
“Going into the season everything was new to the kids and they did a good job picking up what we were trying to put in.,’’ Connolly said. “They were in a tough situation. I was hired in the fall. Everything was new for them: how we practiced, how we prepared, scouting reports, pre game. Everything was about them getting to know me for the first time and getting to know what we wanted to do.
“We tried to build relationships with the guys on and off the court. In just having a plan for what we wanted to do in practice and how to prepare for an opponent, they got a lot of experience for young guys.’’
Morristown’s Ryan Brunnock (5) wasn’t afraid to go to the hoop. He was one of the Colonials top scorers.
One key player for the Colonials that will be moving on is starter Dylan Black. He had enthusiasm, experience and was a true team leader.
“He was a pretty good three-year varsity player,’’ Connolly said. “He was a great athlete. He could really attack the basket. He improved his ability to hit an outside shot. He got to the foul line. He was somebody other teams had to prepare for because of his athleticism and his ability to get to the rim.’’
Ceasar Coronado, a senior captain, brought toughness and rebounding to the team. Tommy Hillenbrandt was a great shooter off the bench with a high basketball I Q. Brandon Burke, Jahmil Jefferson and Chris Shields also made contributions in limited roles.
Morristown’s Dom Pisciotto (10) provided the Colonials with some perimeter firepower.
Morristown will have a lot to build on for next year including some of its key offensive playmakers. The Colonials nucleus includes point guard A.J. Hoehn, scorer Ryan Brunnock and shooter Dom Pisciotto.
“Brunnock and Hoehn carried a lot of the scoring load for us this past year as well as Dom Piscotto,’’ Connolly said. “Were going to work with them this year to try and improve their shooting. Sean was our point guard. He really handled the ball and shot the ball well.’’
A. J. Tracy is another important piece of the puzzle. Zach Certner, Trey Davis, David Smith, Naaem Pierce and jayvee player James Mongey will also be back a year stronger and more experienced giving the Colonials a solid foundation for the coming year.
The future looks bright for Morristown coach Bill Connolly and his players after a season of change.
In his first summer with the team, Connolly doesn’t want to give out too much information on his plans. The Colonials will do some open gyms and scrimmages and emphasize a lot of individual improvement. He will also take advantage of his relationship with schools like Montgomery and North Hunterdon, places he’s coached before or knows the assistants and feels comfortable with when it comes to developing his players.