By Mark Kitchin
It will take an iron-man effort and then some for Mendham to repeat as sectional champions on Thursday.
The Minutemen host Plainfield on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a game that promises to be fast and physical.
Mendham (20-8) relies primarily on their starting five and that attitude wasn’t more prominent than in the team’s 78-69 win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood in which the starters were left in the contest all 32 minutes.
Tore Vicarisi is the team’s lead workhorse. He works hard on the inside, scoring layups and putbacks and drawing fouls. The more success he has on the inside, the more perimeter shooters Colin O’Donnell, Andrew Jacobs and Alex Vicarisi have to knock down threes and opens up lanes for Kyle Dennis to slash to the basket. Defensively, Mendham has to keep up with the athleticism that Plainfield brings.
Plainfield has a balanced attack. Justin Sears and Sekou Harris are key scorers, but like Mendham they have four or five players who usually score in double figures. Although the eighth seed by record the Cardinals (16-7) have plowed past their competition. Plainfield topped Chatham 67-41, pounded top-seeded Somerville 58-47 and then blitzed Rahway 66-48.
Mendham opened the tournament with a solid 65-48 win over Warren Hills and a 56-49 win over Colonia. The third-seeded Minutemen have had all home victories but none was more strenuous than the triumph over Scotch Plains. If they can find a way past an athletic Plainfield squad, the Minutemen will certainly have earned a title.