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Elizabeth Girls Basketball Team Wins Union County Tournament

First UCT Championship for Lady Minutemen since 1997

Elizabeth, N.J., February 20, 2024 – The Elizabeth High School Girls Basketball team showed great determination and resiliency in overcoming a game-tying three-pointer with under 10 seconds left in regulation, outlasting Cranford in a 59-57 overtime victory at Kean University’s Harwood Arena on Sunday.

Elizabeth finished it off with late-game heroics of its own, with their season leading scorer Alexandra Koon putting in her final basket of a 21-point effort with under five seconds remaining in overtime to provide the difference in the two-point win. The game-winner delivered the Lady Minutemen their first Union County Tournament championship since 1997.

The road to the program’s first county championship in over 25 years was a challenge every step of the way, winning their first round and quarterfinal round games by a combined seven points before knocking off two-time defending UCT champion and No. 12 ranked New Providence in the semifinal.

The final proved no easier as there were several lead changes throughout the game in a back-and-forth battle. Cranford led at the end of each of the first two quarters by only two points and then managed to open the lead to only four points at the end of three quarters. In the highest scoring quarter of the game at 21-17, Elizabeth fought back to make up the deficit in the fourth before edging Cranford 6-4 in the overtime session.

In addition to leading the Lady Minutemen with 21 points, Koon grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and added two blocks, an assist, and a steal. Jah’nae Lembrick also finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and dishing out 10 assists along with three steals, three assists, and a block.

Dynasty Chandler, Elizabeth’s leading rebounder for the season, filled the stat line with four points, 10 rebounds, four assists, a block, and five steals. Ashanti Dewalt and Alani Gordon scored 13 and 11 points respectfully while each adding three assists and two steals and a combined five rebounds. Samiya Bryant chipped in with two rebounds.

The Lady Minutemen continue their season on Tuesday as the fifth seed in a game against twelfth-seeded Westfield in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Tournament at the Thomas G. Dunn Sports Center.

“It is so exciting to see our girls basketball program return to a championship level,” stated Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “It had been a while since our girls team won a title, but now that they have claimed the county championship, I think they are really enjoying that feeling and are more confident, determined, and focused than ever to set their sights higher as they enter the state tournament. The present and future looks very bright for the Lady Minutemen.”

“What an amazing game that our girls played against Cranford on Sunday afternoon,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Charlene Bathelus Dorgely. “They have shown throughout this tournament that they have the heart of a champion and will battle to the very end. Congratulations to the players and coaches for bringing the championship back to Elizabeth. I look forward to seeing some more big wins this season.”