Morris Catholic tops Parsippany; Mount Olive, Chatham fall

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball

DENVILLE — They are talking basketball in the halls of Morris Catholic lately — and it’s not all about the girls team either.

Sophomore guard Wayne Patterson scored 21 points and sophomore forward Amir Allen added 16 to lead Morris Catholic to a 75-45 romp of Parsippany High in boys basketball action on Thursday.

Senior forward Ryan Feeney chipped in with 10 for the Crusaders (8-4). Leonard Lee scored 16 points and Lionel Chambers added 12 for the Red Hawks (1-10).

Morris Catholic took control with a 20-10 first-quarter spree. They would build a 48-28 advantage at the half and maintain at least a 20-point edge the rest of the way.

With eight victories in the win column already, you would have to go back to the 2003-2004 season and the days of Mike Luzzi for the last time the Crusaders have gotten off to such a good start. It’s been a long time coming for  Morris Catholic which is guided by third-year coach David Grande.

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Morris Catholic’s Wayne Patterson goes up in traffic for a layup during first half action. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“In my sophomore year we were 6-20,” Morris Catholic guard Andre Spruil said. “Last year our team chemistry got better. It’s even better this year. … The fact that we’ve been winning blowout games and only losing games by five or six points has built our confidence. It’s helping us get better as a team as the season goes on.”

A couple of talented newcomers have certainly helped the Crusaders. Offensively, Patterson, who is from Wharton, can drive to the basket but is also capable of pulling up and hitting from the perimeter, too.

“Wayne is one of the top scorers in the county,” Spruill said. “He’s been a huge help for our team this year.”

Allen, who is from Randolph, provides a legitimate low post presence and can block shots with his timely leaping ability and overall athleticism.

18 bb mcparMorris Catholic’s Amir Allen draws contact with Parsippany’s Lionel Chambers on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“He’s a huge help in the post,” senior forward Feeney said. “I used to be one of the biggest guys on the team. I would try to get on the boards. Now Amir is here and he clears the boards and he’s a big threat down low. No one can block his shot. You just get it to him and he makes one or two good post moves and it’s in the basket.”

Some aspects of team chemistry started clicking late last year when the team finished 10-15 but won four of their last six games. Morris Catholic was able to develop some aspects of it during the summer. They attended basketball camps at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia and Rutgers and played in a summer league at Fairleigh Dickinson.

They also plan to bond more as a team with a few road trips. It has become a tradition for them to take their show on the road. They will be traveling to play games in Philadelphia and Providence in the upcoming weeks.

37 bb mcparMorris Catholic’s Ryan Feeney pushes the ball forward as Parsippany’s Leonard Lee tries to slow him down. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“The team trips help a lot,” Feeney said. “You are around the guys all the time. It’s a ton of fun. We stay at hotels and go to dinner as a team and be together.”

It also doesn’t hurt to get off to such a good start. Having positive experiences and finishing the game on the winning side gives a team a level of confidence that can increase as the season progresses.

On Thursday, Morris Catholic did what winning teams do. They wasted little time in taking control of their game against Parsippany. The Crusaders played man defense against the Red Hawks, at times picking them up full-court and creating some turnovers with their pressure. Against their smaller opponents, Morris Catholic attacked the basket and was usually rewarded for their determination.

The Crusaders built a 20-10 first-quarter edge with Allen and Patterson combining for 13 of the team’s points. Feeney had eight of his points in the second half to help his team build an insurmountable 48-28 halftime lead.

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Parsippany’s Lionel Chambers seems to have all ball on this shot attempt by Morris Catholic’s Wayne Patterson. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

It ended up becoming another solid victory for Morris Catholic, which expects to capture a good seed and at least one Morris County Tournament home game when the tournament starts rolling next week.

Local Results

Randolph 75, Parsippany Hills 62

The Rams took a 30-16 advantage at the half. Michael Talbert scored 19 points for the Rams and Patrick Archer added 16 points. Jason Laugai paced the Vikings with 19 points and Nazier Wheeler added 17. Strong second and third quarter efforts fueled the Rams (6-6) to victory.

Roxbury 56, Chatham 49, OT

The Gaels 7-0 overtime run provided the stunning upset victory. Doug Alexanders scored 14 points and Timmy Pilrun had 13 for the Gaels. Robert Raiola and Niko Goles had 12 points each for the Cougars (8-4).

Midland Park 57, Pequannock 45

James Hitchcock had nine points for the Golden Panthers (5-5). Midland Park led 25-19 at the half.

Pope John 75, Mount Olive 55

The Lions took a 21-10 first-quarter lead and never looked back. The win ends an nine-game Marauders winning streak that dates back to the season opener. Mount Olive falls to 9-2.

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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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