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Bloomfield's Isaiah Reyes elevates as he puts up shot vs. West Orange in end-to-end action in Bloomfield Summer League playoff final on Thursday, July 30, at Bloomfield High School gymnasium. West Orange won 52-49. (Photos by Gene Nann-nannphoto)
West Orange's Andrew Scholz (15) puts up shot over Bloomfield's Kyle Barrow as the Bengals' Olivier Georges (left) positions himself in Bloomfield League's playoff final.
West Orange sophomore Trey Meaux goes up high to swat away shot by Bloomfield's Isaiah Reyes as both Essex County teams went head-to-head in exciting playoff final.
West Orange's 6-6 Hodari Morrison (left) and Bloomfield's Olivier Georges get up on jump ball as Bloomfield Summer League playoff championship game gets underway.
Coach Bingo Silvera confers with his West Orange Mountaineers during timeout
West Orange captured 2015 Bloomfield Summer Hoops League playoff championship with a 52-49 win over Bloomfield in the July 30th final. From left, kneeling in front: are players Nick Dover, Nashiem Harte, Patrick Jamison, Gabe Silvera and Dylan Sequier. Standing; Coach Bingo Silvera, Trey Meaux, Anat Cnaran, Hodari Morrison, Jeremiah Moore, Stephon Sheard, Andrew Scholz & Kenyon Sheard. West Orange also edged Verona in the quarterfinals and then defeated North 13th Street Tech in semifinals.
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Deliberately and very calmly, West Orange inbounded after Reyes’ rainbow ‘3.’ Silvera delivered the ball to Scholz on the left wing and the lanky forward then drilled the game-winning shot.
Bloomfield called timeout with two seconds left but was unable to deliver an answer to Scholz and the Mountaineers as time expired.
“I got a nice pass from Gabe, then just took my time, had a good, clean look at the basket and took my shot,” said Sholz, who is a top player for coach Stephan Zichella’s Mountaineers baseball squad in the spring. “Reyes is a great player and really showed the type of talent he has out there tonight, but we’ve hung together as a group all summer long, have continued to battle, and just continued to work as hard as we could to win this championship.”
Bloomfield, which had played Clifton in the summer league playoff finals the previous two years, defeated the Mustangs in one of the semifinals played before the July 30th playoff final. In the evening’s first semifinal, West Orange beat North 13th Street Tech.
“We had real good competitive games among our 19 teams all season and the playoffs were just a continuation of that,” said Bloomfield head coach Pat Brunner who had longtime assistant Mike Passero doing much of the coaching for the summertime Bengals. “The last couple of days in the playoffs were real exciting. We beat West Side at the buzzer in the quarters, Morristown-Beard and Clifton had a close game and Verona gave West Orange a great run for its money in a tightly played contest.
“I really think teams got what they needed out of a summer league in terms of it being a place where you can see a lot of your kids you may not get the opportunity to watch as closely during the winter season, and kids get to mesh together while working toward next season which – believe me – always comes quick enough.”
West Orange, which finished 17-7 last winter while also sharing the SEC-Colonial regular-season title with Barringer, each at 12-2 in the division, graduated a couple of key performers off last winter's squad in forward Jeramiah Boone-Alexander and guard Andy Fleurantin, plus promising sophomore forward Justin Winston has transferred out, reportedly to Montclair Immaculate, although school officials there have not confirmed that fact.
Meanwhile, the new-look Mountaineers rely on their rising seniors Scholz, Moore and Jamison along with a host of talented youngters such as the soph point guard Hart and the promising freshmen Sheard twins, Stephon and Kenyon. Plus, others such as Silvera and 6-6 senior Hodari Morrison will help a great deal in 2015-2016. Morrison shined on the boards in the Bloomfield Summer League playoff final.
“A lot of different guys stepped up for us,” said Jamison, a heady backcourt ace with a good outside touch, who began his high school career at nearby Seton Hall Prep. “We’re coming off a pretty good 17-7 season and even though we lost a few guys from that team I think we can be better, especially with kids like Stephon continuing to mature and other younger guys continuing to improve.”
Having more players like Jamison either returning or simply staying in West Orange will be huge for the present and future of Mountaineer basketball which has Silvera portending better days ahead for the high school program.
“We’re starting to keep more of our kids instead of losing them to Seton Hall, MKA and even Hudson Catholic,” said Silvera. “We have a good young group to build with and our seniors lead the way.
“It’s a good combination for coach Tynes to get back together with in the winter season, and the success over the summer has to help us moving forward.”
For Bloomfield, which has its own young group in addition to three seniors, the summer league was a beneficial experience for a still developing group.
"There was good, competitive basketball just about every night," said Passero, the key aide to Brunner in guiding the Bengals. "We have a young team and they all had an impact for us this summer. Now we hope they continue to develop as they keep working hard while looking ahead to next season."
Olivier Georges, a highly-regarded football recruit, is a 6-4 senior center for the Bengals, while another 12th-grader seen hustling all over the court in the playoff final was 6-1 forward Brandon Abplanalp. Key rising juniors on the team include 6-3 Myles Toppin, 6-5 Al Samad Henderson and 6-1 Najeem Wilson. Sophomores to watch are 6-2 Aaron Henry and 5-10 Kyle Barrow, while rising freshman Michael Ramos, a 5-10 guard, is another young Bloomfield High hoopster to watch.
BLOOMFIELD SUMMER LEAGUE NOTES- Silvera, who has coached on the youth level in West Orange for several years, is the former head coach at Montclair where he played and then coached through the 1992-93 season…Gabe is coach Silvera’s youngest son. Another son, Gerald Jr., played under Marc Cacciacarne at West Orange a few seasons back…Jamison, who said he has aspirations to play Division I hoops, has received interest from D-3 Bard College…former University High assistant coach Demond Cowins is now an assistant with Tynes at West Orange and was urging on the Mountaineers from the stands at the July 30th playoff final…Reyes, who had been rumored to be transferring to Marist of Bayonne, has remained at Bloomfield High School after putting in extra time in summer school classes, Brunner said, who hopes to have his prize point guard fully eligible for next winter when college scouts are sure to continue to come around to see the talented backcourt ace for the Bengals, who played his freshman ball at Christ The King for the late Bobby Hurt before transferring to Bloomfield for his sophomore season…former West Essex head coach and ex-Montclair State chief recruiter Mike Tierney was at the Bloomfield Summer League playoff semis and finals along with his son, Mike Jr., one of the area’s quick-rising, young basketball official...Another aide to Tynes in the West Orange hoops program during the high school campaign is a familiar face at many games, area gym rat Brian Dorf, who is one of the impressive, young assistant coaches in Essex County hoops circles.
Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister
West Orange's Jeremiah Moore (23), who was a force inside down the stretch in playoff final vs. Bloomfield, gets up high in air with ball against Bengals during July 30th action.
Bloomfield coach Pat Brunner shows his intensity during the summer league playoff final
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