Jenkins reaches milestone as Morristown-Beard advances in MCT

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball

MORRIS TWP. — Chris Jenkins doesn’t want to stop for anything — even a milestone. Jenkins scored 18 points including his milestone 1,000th point and teammate Brian Bartner added 20 to lift Morristown-Beard to a 65-48 victory over Morris Hills in the opening round of the Morris County Tournament on Saturday.

Harrison Rosemond added 13 points for the Crimson which remain the only unbeaten team in Morris County. Morristown-Beard (16-0) feasted on Morris Hills turnovers and converted on Scarlet Hills mistakes to take a 32-18 halftime advantage. Morristown-Beard will face Randolph in next Saturday’s quarterfinals which will be played at Randolph High School. Randolph handled Whippany Park 67-33 on Saturday.

Evan Staikos scored 15 points an Ranell Bell added 12 for 16th-seeded Morris Hills.

Chris Jenkins (4) goes up for two of his 18 points in Saturday’s Morris County Tournament win against Morris Hills.

Jenkins hit a 3-point shot from the left side of the arc at about the six-minute mark to set his record. Even though he knew he set it and his fans and friends also let him know from the stands, Morristown-Beard decided ahead of time not to stop the game. It didn’t matter much to Jenkins, who joins Rob Tucker, Jyles Tucker, Rey Jefferson and Mickey Solodar among others in getting past the individual barrier. His accomplishment will be recognized properly during a future contest.

“We have big games and it’s too big for them to stop the game,’’ Jenkins said. “ It felt really good to see all my friends cheering for me. All my teammates have been behind me from the beginning. It was just a great feeling.’’

His record setting score made it 53-33 in a game that was nearly over. It was defense that decided the battle. Guards Malik Valentine, Matt Rosenberg and Ben O’Connell worked at harassing the Morris Hills guards and pestering them on entry passes to the paint. It was there that Jenkins and Harrison Rosemond among others were able to anticipate the feeds, intercept or tip away balls and create turnovers which turned into fast break baskets for the Crimson.

Morristown Beard’s Brian Bartner (15) drives to the basket as Morris Hills’ Brian Walls defends.

“We were going to press them but we just started playing aggressive man (defense) when they went over in the halfcourt so we didn’t want to tire our starters out,’’ Jenkins said.

Morristown-Beard built a 32-12 second-quarter lead before Morris Hills hit its last three shots to make it a 32-18 game at the half.  

A couple of layups by Staikos to start the third quarter cut the Crimson lead to 10 points, but that was the closest the 16th-seeded Scarlet Knights would get. Morristown-Beard went on a 15-4 run. Seven of those points came from Bartner. He knocked down a 3-point shot off a Tyler Terens feed with 2:34 left in the period to make it 47-26.

“It was just defense,’’ Jenkins said. “We always play well offensively at home, but it’s our defense that’s going to win games. That’s why were so successful.

Morristown-Beard’s Tyler Terens (30) brings the ball upcourt but Morris Hills’ Brian Kelly is right with him.

Next the Crimson will play eighth-seeded Randolph in the quarterfinal round of the tournament which is being held at the Randolph High gym. Morristown-Beard knows that Randolph, with Morris County leading scorer Julian Aiken, is a dangerous opponent. The Crimson had a tough time edging the Rams in a regular season game earlier in the year.

At least now they have a day or two to relax and enjoy an MCT triumph.

“It was great,’’ Jenkins said. “We work hard every day in practice. We deserve this.’’

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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