SUMMIT, NJ - Contrasting styles met head on at the Summit High School gym, as the Hilltopper Girls Varsity's swarming defense and spread the floor, pass-first offense met the shoot first and ask questions later offense of Jonathan Dayton. In the end, it was Summit outlasting a barrage of three-point and long two-point baskets to prevail 51-39.
Cassidy O'Malley led the Hilltoppers with 14 points, and Madeleine Gramigna added 13, as Summit broke open a close game in the second quarter by changing their defensive structure, which shut down the steady flow of outside shots that sustained Dayton through the first quarter and a-half of the contest.
"Late in the second quarter, we went to a man defense," said Summit Assistant Coach Tom Kinney. "We have one of the best athletes in the school in Madeleine Gramigna, and we put her Dayton's top player, slowed them down and got control of the game."
Summit, which improved to 7-2 on the season, jumped to an early 8-0 lead, and led 18-12 after a high scoring first quarter. Thanks to some long-range bombing, Dayton evened the score at 20 with four minutes to go in the first half, but the Hilltoppers tightened the screws defensively and took a 29-24 lead into the locker room at the break.
The third quarter resembled the last four minutes of the first half, with Summit playing tight defense and, until late in the third, Dayton missing most of their shots. The quarter ended with Summit up 38-29, a lead they maintained throughout the fourth stanza to earn the win. The Hilltoppers ended up winning comfortably despite Dayton hitting seven three's in the game.
Earlier in the evening, the JV, behind 15 points from Ellie Galiardo, came from behind to beat Dayton 34-27. The Varsity is back at home January 16 versus Scotch Plains-Fanwood, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.