TOMS RIVER, N.J.– The Northern Valley/Old Tappan girls basketball team won its first NJSIAA Group 3 state title on Sunday, beating Middletown South, 47-36, at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.
"This was such a tough accomplishment," head coach Brian Dunn told Daily Voice. "It really takes special kids. It goes way beyond playing ability.
"I could not be more fortunate to coach such a team or more proud of a squad."
The Golden Knights (27-4) are the first Bergen County team to win a Group 3 title since Pascack Valley in 1989 and the first Bergen squad to win a girls basketball state title since 2008 (also Pascack Valley).
Old Tappan senior point guard Emily Crevani scored a team-high 20 points.
"She is the most loyal and fierce competitor ever," Dunn said of Crevani, who is committed to the University of Tampa. "With her on your side, you always have a shot."
OT led 23-5 at halftime before putting down a second-half rally by the Eagles, who beat the Knights in last year's Group 3 final.
"I felt very confident going into this game that we would play well," said Dunn, who led the Golden Knights football team to a state title back in December.
The team was greeted by fans and first responders upon returning to the high school.