Warriors earn their first state playoff berth

BY MIKE WHITE Staff Writer

Staff Writer

PLUMSTED – The New Egypt High School girls basketball team made school history last week when it qualified for the NJSIAA Group I state playoffs.

The Lady Warriors, which had set modest goals at the start of the season, won four consecutive games right before the cutoff date to secure a berth in the event, which starts later in the month.

“The support we’ve received from the school and the community has been great,” first-year coach Matt Brogan said. “There has been a lot of excitement for the girls this year. This is a real nice goal for them to accomplish. It is nice to see when you log a lot of hours and hard work that it is paying off.”

With the state playoffs still weeks off, Brogan wants his club to remain focused and finish out the regular season playing with intensity. New Egypt was scheduled to square off South Hunterdon, Palmyra and Hightstown this week.

“We have a rough week ahead,” Brogan said. “We don’t want to sit back and rest on our accomplishments. We need to keep pushing forward and trying to get better as a team.”

New Egypt posted consecutive wins over Maple Shade, Pemberton, Burlington City and Medford Tech to earn its first-ever trip to the states.

“We knew the position we were in,” Brogan said. “Fate was in our hands. We took it one game at a time. The girls just concentrated on the opponent they had in front of them. We need to get one victory at a time. And that’s how we did it.”

Last week, the Lady Warriors scored victories over Burlington City and Medford Tech. New Egypt posted a 47-34 win over Burlington before blowing out Med Tech, 54-35.

“We felt pretty confident we could win both of those games,” Brogan said. “The week before we had two nail-biters against Maple Shade and Pemberton. That was the tougher week for us. So we knew if we played hard and smart, we would be in good shape this week.”

The win over Med Tech clinched the state tournament berth. Sophomore forward Stephanie Partyka led the offense with a 22-point effort as New Egypt registered its 10th win of the season.

Teammate Kristie Martin chipped in with 11 points as New Egypt dominated from the opening tip.

“We were able to get the ball to Stephanie down on the block and she made it happen from there,” Brogan said. “We like to pound the ball inside to her. She is well equipped with good post moves and is an excellent passer when teams try to double her. She presents matchup problems for many of our opponents.”

In the win over Burlington City, Partyka went for 28 points and Kelly Cameron added nine. Despite winning by 13 points, the game was much closer than the final score indicates.

“They played us very tough,” Brogan said. “They’re a talented club, but Stephanie gave them fits. She basically scored at will. They could not stop her and that was the difference.”

Brogan is smart enough to realize come state playoff time, New Egypt is going to need contributions from a lot of sources.

“We’ll need to play team defense and show a bit more patience on offense,” he said. “Whatever team we’re playing is going to be keying on Stephanie, so we may need to do some different things. We have options on this team. We have a number of different players who are capable of stepping up and making key contributions.”