You know the roll call of legendary names when it comes 1,000-point scorers in Bloomfield High School boys basketball history: Alaa Abdelnaby, T.K. and Kelly Tripucka (who scored more than 2,000 points), Ted Jasieniecki, Paul Lape and a few other names come to mind.
For the inaugural "Five Questions With" column, we’re flipping the coin, and visiting with the first female 1,000-point scorer for BHS, 1988 graduate Dana Morton, who cracked the century mark in her senior year. She finished her Lady Bengal career with 1,198 points, was recognized as one of the best players in Essex County and New Jersey, and then went on to play at Bloomfield College, where she was named a Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American in 1992.
- What are you up to now?
I've worked at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey for 14 years. I work in Information Technology as a release specialist.
I am also now the head junior varsity coach and assistant head coach for the girl's basketball team at BHS.
- Describe scoring your 1,000th point and how it felt to be the first to break the century mark on the female side.
The moment I broke 1,000, they stopped the game and presented me with flowers and the ball. I felt honored to be the first female to ever reach that mark and I did it in three years with only one year having a 3-point line. At that time the 9th grade was still part of the middle school. I knew it was a record that could never be broken and I was proud of that accomplishment as a player and for our team. That team presented two more 1,000 point scorers after me.
- Your favorite memory of Bloomfield and BHS?
I love the township of Bloomfield and I would not want to coach anywhere else. I was honored when they inducted me into the Bloomfield Hall Of Fame.
One of favorite memories of BHS would have to be when I made the All-Essex County and All-State First Team. I was just playing the game that I loved for the school that I loved and all just fell into place.
- Jim White - who was both a legendary soccer as well as basketball coach at BHS - was your coach. What did you learn from him and what do you do the same and/or differently as a coach yourself?
Jim White was my coach and he did what a good coach should do. He developed my game to the level it should be to prepare me to play at the next level. He taught us discipline and the meaning of team. No one player was more valuable than the next and we were successful because we played as a team – a family.
And I instill the same into my players. We all love to win every game, but the ultimate goal is to get my players ready for life after BHS and given the best chance for opportunities for college.
- If you had to change anything or do anything differently, what would it be?
There is not much I could say that I would change for all the good and bad have made me who I am today. I can say I am proud to have been a graduate of BHS.
Maybe one thing I would change is me having played four years instead of three to see what my total points would have been compared to those who did play four years at the high school level.
Author's note: As a special postscript to this first "Five Questions With" feature, Dana Morton remembered 16-year-old Christina Lembo, who was tragically killed in a car crash.
"I coached Christina for three years: sixth, seventh and eighth grade. And I feel like I lost a member of my family. It is so tragic and sad and one of the hardest parts is seeing that sadness and the hurt on the players faces and just wishing that you could make it all better.
I have reached out to my players, asked them how they were, how they were feeling and to just let them know that I am here for them. I have discussed with some of the parents, and we are going to set up a meeting with all of them to just let them vent, cry or whatever they need to do."