DENVILLE _ Kate Kolb was discussing her career-high 18-point game and her contributions to Morristown's 50-45 defeat of Hanover Park in the Morris County Tournament quarterfinals.
The Colonials' center noted that she thought she played well and stopped speaking.
"I hate talking about myself like that," she said before resuming the interview.
Kolb, very humble, had every right to revel in her play which helped top-seeded and defending champion Morristown come out on top. The 6-foot-2 senior, sidelined for the first six games of the season with a concussion, was exceptional when the Colonials (16-2) needed her most.
With leading scorer Elizabeth Strambi in foul trouble, which resulted in her sitting out for 19 minutes, Kolb asserted herself. Not only did she have a memorable night offensively, she took down seven rebounds. Nicole Ferrara joined her in double figures with 12 points. Elizabeth Mongey had eight points and seven rebounds. Strambi had three points, all on foul shots.
"I had to really fight for rebounds," Kolb said. "I had to jump a little higher today. The Hanover Park girls do everything. They crash. We all knew we had to work together with Elizabeth out. We had to get the ball up and do what we do without Elizabeth."
Before Strambi went to the bench, Kolb was busy. With the Colonials trailing, 16-9, she scored three baskets in a span of 1:19 to cut the deficit to one. In the third period, Kolb had three more field goals from close range. She did her job with efficiency and did not exhibit any signs of nervousness.
"I think our guards were out so far that it isolated me in the post," Kolb said. "That, of course, was an entire team effort because everyone had to be in position."
Kolb's heroics didn't surprise Morristown coach Jim Pisciotto.
"Kate does the dirty work," Pisciotto said. "She boxes out. She scores points. She dribbles. Kate is the stereotype of an inside player. She had some nice moves today."
Eighth-seeded Hanover Park snapped the first deadlock of the game, gaining a 7-5 edge on Meghan Macaluso's 10-foot jumper with 3:48 left in the opening quarter. The Hornets kept the lead, remained even or stayed close in the game which was tied seven times.
Following Kelsey Stites' 12-foot jumper with 2:48 left, Hanover Park was in front, 45-42. A basket by Kolb 10 seconds later brought Morristown within one, 45-44. Free throws were critical as the seconds ticked off the clock.
"If you told me Elizabeth would have three points and we win, I'd take it," Pisciotto said. "It was a gritty performance. We're a really tough team. If you look through our schedule, there were games where we were down and came back. Hanover Park had us on the ropes and we ground it out."
Another Morristown player who came up big was sophomore Tara O'Neill. O'Neill handled the ball in Strambi's absence and chipped in six points. Ferrara had back-to-back baskets in the fourth quarter when the Colonials were engaged in a tight battle.
Hanover Park used five points by Brielle Junda to secure a 14-9 lead in the first quarter. Camryn Coffey had 13 points, including three 3-pointers for the Hornets. The other Hanover Park players in double figures were Stites with 12 and Junda with 10.
"Survive and advance," Pisciotto said. "This prepares us for tough games. I commend Hanover Park. Doug (Wear) is as good of a coach as anyone in the county. They'll throw haymakers at you. Hanover Park had nothing to lose. They had us on our heels."
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