SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - The Scotch Plains-Fanwood boys basketball team took the court for the second time in as many nights at home on Friday against Cranford.
And, one night after pulling out a thrilling overtime victory on the road against Roselle, the Raiders seemed a step slow against sharp-shooting Cranford, which delivered a 59-46 victory over Scotch Plains-Fanwood in Scotch Plains.
Despite struggling with some turnovers early, the Raiders were still right with Cranford until the final minutes of the second quarter, when the Cougars ran off six straight points to open a 28-20 lead. After SPF notched the first point of the third quarter on a foul shot by Leo Ramos, Cranford began to run away, ripping off 10 straight points to extend its lead to 39-23.
During the critical 10-0 burst, Cranford hit a 3-pointer and three layups, including one that led to a conventional three-point play. Jack McCaffrey had seven of his 12 points for Cranford in that spurt. Six of Cranford's eight baskets in the third period came on layups, as the Cougars exploited the Raiders with fastbreaks, running frequently off SPF turnovers. Mike Guarriello led Cranford with 15 points.
The Raiders' 59-58 overtime triumph over Roselle 24 hours earlier may have had an effect on their stamina. It was the second time this season that SPF has played on back-to-back days. Previously, the Raiders defeated Gov. Livingston on opening night, then lost by 21 to Westfield a day later.
Overall, Scotch Plains-Fanwood is now 5-3, matching Cranford's record. Ramos, a junior guard, paced Scotch Plains-Fanwood with 12 points. Junior forward Dan Lopez had seven points.