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East Orange's Angel Osagie-Erese puts up an acrobatic one-hander as Acstra Robinson (11) of Shabazz defends her under basket during Sunday's Super Essex Conference-American Division game that was a part of prestigious Newark National Invitational at the Prudential Center. The Jaguars posted a 70-44 victory. (Photos by Glenn Kross-visit

East Orange Campus coach Derrick Johnson enjoys what he sees as his team shines vs. Shabazz

Danielle Robinson (4) of Shabazz puts up shot in front of East Orange's Sahara Crawford (5)

East Orange's Kyirah English (3) readies herself to defend Shabazz's Acestra Robinson (11)

East Orange's Kyirah English looks to deliver pass around Jayla Thorton (23) of Shabazz

Cohesive East Orange Defeats Shabazz
In Newark National Invitational Victory
By Aaron Matthews

NEWARK - Even after an emphatic 70-44 victory over long-time nemesis Shabazz, the mood within the East Orange team was not one of celebration. Sure, for seniors such as Kyirah English and Nyasia Franklin, Shabazz has been a constant source of frustration throughout their stellar four-year careers. But defeating their Newark rival is just one of many goals for a Jaguars squad, which also has Essex County and state tournament aspirations in their sites.

In Sunday’s win at the Newark National Invitational, East Orange not only showed its extraordinary talent on both ends of the court, but also the cohesion and maturity need to meet the other tasks on its checklist.

“We have a lot of experience because we all played varsity as freshmen,” English said. “The level of focus in our practices and games has been really high because we have that experience and we know where we want to go. We all know what our mindset is, to get to the T of C and win it.”

“It feels good. Honestly, I don’t know what this feeling is that I have,” said Derrick Johnson, whose East Orange team had never beaten Shabazz in his 13 years as head coach. “But until we can be county champs, I don’t consider my team to be on top. It feels good to finally get over the hump of beating Shabazz. They’re a great team and they’ve been a great team for 15-20 years and for us to come out on top, I can’t even explain how it feels.”

he Jaguars (11-1) have put up eye-popping offensive numbers, averaging 69.4 points per game. But they know that such offensive success - as well as championship - don’t come without a strong and opportunistic defense.

It’s a message, East Orange took to heart right from the opening tip as it forced 37 turnovers, including 16 steals. Those steals resulted in 18 points for East Orange.

“That’s where we score most of our points, off turnovers,” Johnson said. “My girls just want it. We got an ultimate goal. If we play defense, we can win because defense wins championships.”

East Orange took the lead for good 1:51 into the contest thanks to an Angel Osagie-Erese steal and dish to Franklin for a layup. Angel Osagie-Erese had five steals while sister Marvellous Osagie-Erese and English had four apiece. English’s final speed and fast-break layup gave the Jaguars their biggest lead of the day at 66-24 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.

“We pride ourselves more on defense than offense because we know defense wins games,” English said. “If we play good defense, we’ll get our points on offense. We’re trying to get stops on defense.”

“Defensively, our team is always going after it on the boards and making them turn the ball over,” said Franklin. “This year we just execute more and make sure we all just do our part. Everyone has a key role on the team. We make sure we all work together.”

Franklin, who named Most Valuable Player for East Orange, scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the first half and added four rebounds. English, the Bucknell-bound point added 19 points. Angel Osagie-Erese had 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds while Marvellous Osagie-Erese chipped in with eight points, six assists and four rebounds. The quartet have been together in the East Orange lineup for each of the past three seasons.

“This is their fourth year together,” Johnson said. “In the previous three years they all lost to Shabazz two or three times during. We had a conversation with the seniors and they were like ‘this is it.’ They’re tired of taking the (loss). Shabazz is a little down this year, but it’s still Shabazz. They took it to heart today and it showed in how they played.”

Shabazz (9-4) was led by Danielle Robinson, who scored 19 points to earn team MVP honors for the Bulldogs. Her basket in the opening minute gave Shabazz its only lead of the day at 2-0.

Fellow freshman Cait Townes added eight points, Iyannah Kirksey had six points and five rebounds and Imani McCray pulled down nine rebounds in defeat.

EAST ORANGE (11-1) 18   25   25   2   -   70

SHABAZZ (9-4)  7   10   11  16  -   44

East Orange: Marvellous Osagie-Erese 0-2-2-8, Kyirah English 4-3-2-19, Ny’asia Franklin 8-0-6-22, Angel Osagie-Erese 4-0-2-10, Barbara Jackson 2-0-0-4, Sahara Crawford 1-0-1-3, Lauren Lewter 0-0-0-0, Dainyea Richards 0-0-0-0, Jessica Woods 0-0-2-2, Bianca Warren-Lamby 0-0-0-0, Bianca Timmer 0-0-0-0, Niydira Parrish 1-0-0-2, Hadiyah Hassan 0-0-0-0, Mariyah Jordan 0-0-0-0. Total: 20-5-15-70.

Shabazz: Ivana Negron 0-0-0-0, Danielle Robinson 6-1-4-19, Acestra Robinson 2-0-1-5, Robin Engleman 0-0-0-0, Jayla Thorton 0-1-1-4, Cait Townes 1-2-0-8, Katelyn Ocasio 0-0-0-0, Imani McCray 0-0-2-2, Taniyiah Williams 0-0-0-0, Iyannah Kirksey 3-0-0-6. Total: 12-4-8-44.

East Orange: A. Osagie-Erese 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 steals; M. Osagie-Erese 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals; English 4 steals; Franklin 4 rebounds. Shabazz: McCray 9 rebounds; Kirksey 5 rebounds, Negron 5 rebounds; Thorton 4 steals.

Kyirah English, who had 19 points for East Orange, hoists up outside shot against Shabazz

Marvellous Osagie-Erese (1) of East Orange eyes basket as Acestra Robinson (11) of Shabazz is on the defensive during National Newark Invitational action at The Rock.


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