WARREN, NJ - A team of 4th and 6th graders from Warren, plus one player from Green Brook, are the champions of the West Orange Recreation Summer Basketball League after a thrilling victory over Belleville by a score of 10-8 in double overtime.
The players competed in the league's 5/6 girls division against teams from West Orange, Verona and Belleville.
Going into this week's playoffs, the Warren girls had a record of 5-0 but, despite the gaudy record, it wasn't an easy season by any means. The first game of the season was also an overtime thriller over Verona. In the final regular season game against the same Belleville team they met in the finals, the girls were down by a score of 8-1 at the start of the fourth quarter before pulling out a 10-8 victory.
Warren outlasted a tough but undermanned West Orange team in Tuesday's semi finals, setting up a rematch with Belleville in the championship game Thursday night at West Orange High School. The final was a defensive struggle at the start, as both teams finished the first quarter scoreless. Belleville broke out in the second quarter to take a 6-2 lead at the half. After another scoreless quarter in the third, Warren scored 6 points in the fourth and tied the score on a basket by Kate Carmody with under a minute to play.
The teams were then scoreless for the rest of regulation and the first overtime before Danielle LaCanna gave Warren its only lead of the game. The Warren defense held off Belleville's furious attempts to tie the score and came away with the championship. In addition to Carmody and LaCanna, the other 6th graders are Victoria Appice, Meghna Bobb, Nicole Draper, Micah Edwards, Nikki Lee, Hunter Miller, Alexandra Schmitz and Abby Shanahan. The fourth grade members of the team are Kendall Lee, Julia Puglisi and Fiona Shanahan.
Coaches Mike Edwards and Nolan Shanahan congratulated the girls on a great summer season.