Fort Lee Falls to Orange in First Round of Basketball Tournament
The Bridgemen fell to 0-4 on the season with the 15-point loss as they look for their first win of the season on Thursday.
The Orange Tornadoes defeated the Fort Lee Bridgemen 52-37 Tuesday night in the final game of the opening round of the Jack Reilly boys' Basketball Tournament at Fort Lee High School.
Junior forward Kahled Muhammad led all players with a game-high 14 points for the Orange as freshman guard Josh Ford netted 10 points for Fort Lee.
The night began with a 6-0 run by the Tornadoes that forced the Fort Lee to play from behind yet again.
"We got outhustled," said Fort Lee's sophomore guard Nick Gentile. "It was the hustle that killed us. We just couldn't execute."
Gentile and Fort Lee then successfully rallied to tie up the score, but a taller, quicker Orange team was able to rebuild a double-digit lead before the end of the first quarter.
"We are starting out too slow," Ford said. "We end up doing good at the end and going hard, [but] we just need to start off at the beginning."
Turnovers also hurt the Bridgemen in the early going as the Tornadoes converted many Fort Lee turnovers into points at the opposite end of the floor.
"Our problem the last couple games has been turning the ball over for easy baskets," said Fort Lee Head Coach John Ziemba. "We don't have enough offense to get back in the game once a team runs off six, eight, or ten points."
Ahead by 15 at halftime, the Orange Tornadoes pulled even further ahead when senior center Ryan Lingham used his offensive rebounds and fastbreak opportunities to score eight points in a single quarter.
But the Fort Lee Bridgemen showed heart in the fourth quarter, playing hard in spite of being down by 20 points and winless on the season.
The team made adjustments late to open up Ford for some open looks and long-distance threes. Ford scored 10 points on the night, all of which came in the second half of the game.
"He was good popping those threes," said Gentile. "Those were excellent shots that we needed."
Gentile was also one of the Bridgemen playing tough and hard into the final minutes. The sophomore hurt his knee and was banged in the nose during the first quarter but still showed quickness late in the game, diving late for loose balls.
"Nick is a great kid, and he is always on the floor," Ziemba said.
The Orange Tornadoes improve to 2-1 on the season with the win, while the Bridgmen drop to 0-4, something that is starting to get to players like Ford.
"I want to get a win," said Ford emphatically after the game. "Maybe Thursday."
The Jack Reilly Boy's Basketball Tournament continues on Thursday with the loser's bracket. Montclair will meet Snyder at 2 p.m. as Fort Lee looks to rebound and notch their first win in a game against Mahwah beginning at 3:45 p.m.
"There is no break, and it is not going to be an easy game," Ziemba said of his next opponent. "If we just hang around and get a game into the fourth quarter, we'll have more energy and the crowd behind us and hopefully pull one off."
The Tournament continues Thursday night with the winner's bracket. Wayne Hills and Old Tappen tip off at 5:30 p.m. with the St. Mary's – Orange matchup scheduled for 7 p.m.
Make sure to check back during the week for more updates on the 2010 Jack Reilly Boy's Basketball Tournament.