By Mark Kitchin
RANDOLPH — It’s difficult to call a player that scores more than 20 points a game unselfish. Scorers have to be aggressive or they wouldn’t be scorers.
Morristown’s Sean Hoehn is the exception because he triggers the Colonials offense. The Morristown senior has gotten better at recognizing scoring opportunities and making good decisions with the ball. His skill and the ability of those around him to capitalize on his choices have made Morristown a very dangerous and successful team.
The Colonials showed it again on Tuesday with a 78-50 win over Randolph. Hoehn scored 28 points, but only eight in the first half. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t making shots in the first half. His teammates were making theirs and helped Morristown build a 16-1 first-quarter lead against an opponent which won eight of its last nine games.
“My teammates are always there for me,” Hoehn said. “If I play good, they are there. If I play bad, they are there. No matter what, they are going to be there for me. I have trust in them to hit a shot. I can dump it off to the big man. If I get to the foul line I can hit free throws. I trust them to get me open and knock down shots.”
It helps that the Colonials role players have some variety to their offensive games. Zach Certner is their low post option. Nick Duff and A. J. Tracey can take it on the drive as well as the perimeter. The Mongey brothers James and Jack can fire away from the outside. Hoehn, of course, is dangerous everywhere.
“They really work at it,” Hoehn said. “All of them have worked really, really hard in the off season. It’s starting to pay off. Everyone knew they were good shooters from the get go. They have only gotten better. You can only go up.”
None of it works at all unless Hoehn is making the right decisions with the ball.
“Sean knows when to go and when to kick it,” teammate James Mongey said. “He’s gotten a lot better with that this year. … Any time he sees three or four guys in the lane taking away the drive, he knows to kick it out. We have guys who can knock down shots. I think he has confidence in us and we have confidence in him.”
Unofficially, Hoehn is averaging nearly five assists a game to go along with his 26.8-points per game average. It has been a stellar season overall for Hoehn, whose season high was a 37-point performance against Princeton High in his second game of the year. Hoehn recently passed the 1,000-point mark for his varsity career in a win against Chatham. While some athletes act nervous while approaching a goal, the milestone didn’t seem to bother the 6-foot, 3-inch athlete.
“It was awesome having that milestone and being one of the very few players in Morristown to do it,” Hoehn said. “I’m in a very elite club. It’s an awesome feeling. Doing it with these guys is nothing better.”
Despite an offensively slow start in Tuesday’s win, Hoehn likes the Randolph gym with its wide court and challenging baskets that test a shooter’s depth perception because they hang far in front of the back walls. It served as good preparation for Saturday’s Morris County Tournament game against West Morris which is being held at the neutral gym.
Tuesday’s game was also a good time for him to catch up with some friends. Hoehn has been buddies with Randolph’s Mike Talbert for years. He also knows Barry Lynch from basketball leagues in tournaments over the years. Hoehn and his teammates knew how important it was to keep the two Randolph standouts from taking over the game.
“Playing against them is weird but when you stop them — no offense to the others — you can stop Randolph,” Hoehn said. “Shut them down, your success rate is going to go up.”
Morristown led 21-8 by the end of the first quarter and 35-20 at the half. Lynch and Talbert combined for two first-half points.
“We thought if we played good team defense, we would have a chance to win,” Mongey said. “We did a good job of following our game plan. We made them take some tough shots in the beginning and it helped us go on a run. They are a good team so they came back and made a run in the second quarter. We were able to just kind of neutralize them and stick to it.”
The second half didn’t go much better for the Rams. Randolph’s 3-8 record to start the season included a 72-59 defeat on January 15. It was at that point the Rams righted themselves and won eight of their last nine games to post an 11-9 record going into Tuesday’s contest.
Jack Mongey (3) is one of Morristown’s perimeter threats. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
Randolph made a run in the late third and early fourth quarters. A driving layup by Lynch cut the Rams deficit to 49-40 with 7:16 left in the game. Morristown responded with a long distance barrage to seal the win. A 3-pointer by James Mongey and two more by Hoehn triggered a 13-2 run and made the score 62-42 just two minutes later.
“We just had to maintain our composure and concentrate on our game plan,” James Mongey said. “We knew if we stayed to that and played good solid defense, we would be okay.”