Immaculate Conception boys, girls hoops squads head to county tournament semifinals
The Immaculate Conception boys and girls basketball teams moved a win away from reaching their respective Essex County Tournament finals.
First top-seeded Lions girls team took care of ninth-seeded Glen Ridge, 66-32, on Saturday in the county girls hoops quarterfinals as Immaculate Conception girls (17-3) look to repeat as county tournament champions.
And then the fourth-seeded Immaculate Conception boys team (14-8) dispatched fifth-seeded East Orange, 72-54, in the second game of the double header at home in Montclair, also on Saturday in the county boys hoops quarterfinal.
With the pair of victories, the Immaculate Conception girls team will take on fifth-seeded Columbia on Saturday, Feb. 11 at West Orange High School, time to be announced. And the Lions boys hoops will get another crack at top-seeded Seton Hall Prep, also on Feb. 11 at West Orange High School, time to be announced.
In the win over Glen Ridge, senior guard Tyonna Bailey led Immaculate Conception with 17 points while junior Brenae Jones and sophomore Nila Giraud added 13 and nine points respectively. In the first half the Lions jumped out to a 25-8 lead after Immaculate Conception senior Ciera Cevallos drained a three-point shot from the top of the key.
The Lions would never look back in the game.
In the boys contest against East Orange, Immaculate Conception made it a three-game sweep over the Jaguars. The Lions won 60-48 at East Orange on Dec. 22 and then collected a 67-61 victory over the Jaguars at home on Jan. 24.
In the county quarterfinal match it was the most impressive win of the three for Immaculate Conception against East Orange.
The Lions duo of junior TJ Robinson and senior Tavian Pullock led Immaculate Conception with 21 and 16 points respectively.
Like the Lions girls team, the Immaculate Conception boys jumped out fast.
Lions boys hoops sophomore Akeem Langevine drained a shot with a little less a minute in the first quarter to give Immaculate Conception a 19-4 lead.
The Lions boys led the entire way, but East Orange did give them a little scare especially just before halftime. The Jaguars sliced the Immaculate Conception lead to six, 29-23, with two minutes left in the first half.
But Robinson completed a three-point play with three seconds left in the first half to increase the Lions lead to 38-25.
Immaculate Conception continued to build the lead in the second half and East Orange never was able to put a scare into the Lions.
In the fourth quarter, Robinson surpassed a thousand points in his high school career that included playing out of state and also at Teaneck High School in New Jersey.
For the boys team they made it back-to-back county tournament semifinal appearances. Last season, the Lions lost to Newark Central in the 2022 Essex County Tournament semifinal.
Coming into the semifinal against Seton Hall Prep, Immaculate Conception has split with the Pirates. The Lions lost to Seton Hall Prep, 61-60, on Jan. 21 and then Immaculate Conception defeated the Pirates, 60-57, on Feb. 2 on the road.
And the Immaculate Conception girls basketball team will look to make a three-peat against Columbia. The Lions won at Columbia, 63-25, on Jan. 5 and then Immaculate Conception won at home against Columbia, 84-47.