They’re the Florida Connection and they may be the key to the Northern Essex men’s basketball team this winter.
Their names are Peterson Morency, an ultra-quick guard who stands a mere 5-foot-8, and 6-5, 220-pound Javonte Forbes, who is the team’s tallest and best option inside the paint. They’re best friends who came from Miramar, Fla., a city of 122,000 just outside of Miami.
“They’re both very talented and do a lot for us,” said Northern Essex coach Darren Stratton. “Peterson has been a real surprise for us and is the best point guard we’ve had in awhile. Javonte just has some great moves and has a knack for getting the ball.”
Thus far, that’s been evident as the Knights have compiled a 5-5 record and been competitive with every team they’ve played, including nationally ranked Mass. Bay Community College. No one has been able to slow down Morency (11.3 points, 6.4 assists) and Forbes (9.3 points, 6.8 rebounds) has been the lone factor inside against taller and more experienced players.
“They’re both playing well,” said Stratton. “They have things that they need to work on, but they’ll just keep getting better and continue to help us.”
But the Florida duo, who made their way to Northern Essex at the last minute when an aid package to Anna Maria College didn’t materialize as expected, seem to be benefitting as much as the Knights.
“I see this as a great opportunity,” said Morency. “I wanted to get out of Florida and try something new. This gives me the chance to learn to be away from home and develop my skills before going to a four-year college.”
They live off campus in an apartment and are learning life skills when not fine tuning their skills on the court. And the Floridians realize that they have areas in which they need to improve.