MORRISTOWN _ After a 37-year drought, Morristown, powered by Elizabeth Strambi, captured the Morris County Girls Basketball Tournament title last winter.
The top-seeded Colonials, awarded the No. 1 seed for the 2018 MCT at the seeding meeting held on Sunday, Jan. 21 at Villa Walsh, are ready to defend.
The 10-1 Colonials have a bye in the preliminary round and will play the winner of 17th-seeded Madison and 16th-seeded Morris Tech in the first round. Morris Catholic (14-0) received the second seed. Chatham (8-5), Montville (8-2) and Jefferson (9-3) were third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 were Mendham (6), Morristown-Beard (7), Hanover Park (8), Morris Knolls (9) and West Morris (10). Twenty-seven teams will compete in the MCT.
Despite the graduation of three starters and several injuries, the Colonials remain a force in the conference, county and state. Nicole Ferrara, a junior guard, has been stellar since returning from a sprained ankle. Ferrara is a 3-point threat.
Strambi, now a senior, earned MVP honors for the 2017 tourney when Morristown defeat second-seeded Jefferson, 47-23. The MCT title was the first for the Colonials since 1980. In 2016, they made it to the final but fell to Morris Catholic.
Man-to-man defense is one of Morristown's fortes.
"It's the heart of our game," Strambi said after a victory over Chatham earlier this season. "We buy into it. It's good when we're not executing offensively."
First-round games will be held at the sites of the higher-seeded teams and must be completed by Saturday, Jan. 27. Second-round matchups will also be contested on the court of the higher-seeded team and must be played by Saturday, Feb. 3.
On Saturday, Feb. 10, the four quarterfinals will be played at Morris Knolls High School at noon, 1:30, 3 and 4:30. The semifinals are slated for Friday, Feb. 16 at County College of Morris with the first game set for 6:30 p.m. The final is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at CCM.
Winner of Madison (17) at Morris Tech (16) at Morristown (1)
Winner of St. Elizabeth (18) at Pequannock (15) Morris Catholic (2)
Winner of Butler (19) at Roxbury (14) at Chatham (3)
Winner of Morris Hills (20) at Villa Walsh (13) at No. 4 Montville
Winner of Parsippany (21) at Randolph (12) at Jefferson (5)
Winner of Boonton (27) at Mendham (6) at winner of Parsippany Hills (22) at Kinnelon (11)
Winner of Dover (23) at West Morris (10) at winner of Mount Olive (26) at Morristown-Beard (7)
Winner of Whippany Park (24) at Morris Knolls (9) at winner of Mountain Lakes (25) at Hanover Park (8)
Link to bracket: http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?tid=468860