DENVILLE — Morris Knolls defeated Whippany Park 58-53 to capture the championship of the Morris Knolls Summer League on Tuesday.
It is the first time the Golden Eagles had been in the final in three years. They advanced to the title game with a 47-32 win over Pequannock. The eighth-seeded Golden Panthers pulled the surprise of the tournament by knocking off top-ranked Hanover Park in the quarterfinals. In the other semifinal Whippany Park beat defending champion Wayne Valley 65-56.
In the title game Whippany Park, the third seeded team which only suffered one loss in summer league play up to that point, pulled out to an early 15-6 lead. Morris Knolls rallied to take the lead just before half. A buzzer-beating jumper by sophomore Nico Vitorio gave the Golden Eagles a 29-25 advantage at halftime.
Morris Knolls maintained an advantage the rest of the way. The Golden Eagles twice built leads as high as eight points before the Wildcats rallied. Whippany Park went on a 9-2 run and cut the deficit to 48-47 with just over three minutes left.
However, the Wildcats went 1-for-7 from the floor from that point on and the Golden Eagles built enough of a lead to put the game away.