By Mark Kitchin
ROXBURY — When opposing teams play Morristown a tough decision must be made. Should it try to shut down high scoring point guard Sean Hoehn, or allow him his points and stifle those Colonials around him.
It’s Morristown’s job to make sure no matter what that opponent decides — it is the wrong decision.
On Tuesday, Hoehn might not have been at his very best but his Colonials teammates made sure it didn’t matter.
The senior guard scored 16 points and Nick Duff added 12 to lift Morristown to a 69-47 victory over Roxbury in boys basketball action on Tuesday.
James Mongey contributed 11 points, Jack Mongey had 10 and Zach Certner added nine points for the Colonials (10-1).
Stephen Loring had 14 points and Doug Alexander added 12 for Roxbury (4-8).
Morristown’s Sean Hoehn drives for a layup during first-half action on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
With a 25 points per game average going into the contest and his reputation as a shooter and creator that began to generate interest last year, Hoehn is the engine that fuels the Morristown offense. However, his teammates have worked hard to find ways to score when Hoehn is heavily covered or having an off shooting day.
“He is the focal point,” senior forward Duff said. “I know if we were playing against him we would stress stopping him. We’ve played 11 games and we’ve seen five box-and-ones (zone defenses) just trying to stop him. He doesn’t care if he scores. He just wants to win. It makes no difference to him.”
Roxbury made sure that Hoehn had to fight off two if not three defenders hanging on him during his drives to the hoop. The attention focused on him made his teammates available for open shots.
“He knows that and he knows guys like Drew (Hahn) and Matt (Strambi) and Jack (Mongey) can all hit shots,” senior guard James Mongey said. “I think it’s nice that when they key on him we have guys that can knock down some shots and get to the rim.”
“It’s tough for teams to double him when we have a kid (Certner) who can take anyone to the post,” Duff added. “All we do is shoot in the summer. We just try to get in the gym and get better. As we prove ourselves, it gets tougher for teams to key on him. We can just beat them in so many ways.”
It is by design that Morristown have surrounded Hoehn with shooters. Duff, the Mongeys and Hohn all hit threes against the Gaels on Tuesday. They also have A. J. Tracey who uses his quickness to cut to the basket and Certner who has improved his offensive repertoire in the paint.
Nick Duff’s dunk was a first half highlight for Morristown. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
“It’s not natural,” Morristown coach Bill Connolly said. “They work very hard at it. They put in a lot of time to improve their skill level; their ability to drive it, their ability to cut, their ability to screen on offense. All 12 of these guys really work hard at it. They are always around. They are so coachable. That’s why they continue to get better.”
Certner, a senior center, had a battle of his own on Tuesday. He scrambled and scrapped with Roxbury’s Alexander for rebounds ad inside points. It was no surprise. The Colonials knew that the Gaels were a scrappy bunch looking to post an upset.
“I just tried to bang around and play hard,” Certner said. “Just wall up on him. He’s going to score his points. We just tried to limit him as much as we could.”
The Colonials were in control from the opening tap. They started the game with an 11-0 run. The Gaels rallied to cut the deficit to 14-8 by the end of the first quarter. Morristown took control with a 25-12 second quarter effort to take a commanding 39-20 advantage at the half.
Morristown’s Zach Certner and Roxbury’s Doug Alexander battled all night long. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
Duff scored 9 of his 12 points and Hoehn had seven points during the pivotal second quarter. The Colonials matched the spirited Gaels nearly bucket for bucket the rest of the way. It was another win for a team that still hasn’t suffered a loss against a Morris County opponent. It was a job well done but the Colonials know they have a long way to go.
“I still think we haven’t won anything yet,” James Mongey said. “We haven’t won the conference or the county title or the state title. We still have to come out every day and work to get better. Those three goals are what we strive for. Anything can happen. We have to keep playing.”
Morristown’s A. J. Tracey reaches past Roxbury’s Anthony McMyne to get his hands on the ball. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
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