WESTFIELD, NJ — In a regular-season girls basketball matchup between two teams that have a chance to meet for the county championship in two weeks, Westfield defeated New Providence, 48-45, on Saturday.
Westfield (16-5) is the top seed, and New Providence the No. 2 seed, in the Union County Tournament. Both teams will play their first tournament games on Tuesday. While not a lot was at stake Saturday, the game was nonetheless contested with just as much effort and intensity as a tournament game.
Amy Maurer scored 16 points for the Pioneers, who rallied from a seven-point deficit in the first half to take a lead, and came back from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game. After trailing, 40-31, with 4:20 to go, New Providence went on a 10-1 run to tie the game with 2:10 left, 41-41, on Maurer's 3-point basket.
Westfield went ahead for good with 1:14 left on a 3-pointer by Ali Lisanti. Westfield went ahead, 48-41, but the Pioneers scored five points in the final 17 seconds on a jumper by Meghan Lamanna and two foul shots by Juliana DeGeorge with three seconds left.
When Westfield then missed the front end of a one-and-one, Maurer grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with 0.7 seconds left. But the Pioneers had to go the length of the court, and the well-designed long inbounds play did not produce a game-tying 3-pointer.
Lamanna finished with 13 points, six of them in the fourth quarter. Lindsay Kinum handed out five assists to go with six points for New Providence.
Westfield had a 17-10 lead early in the second quarter before the Pioneers went on a 17-6 run to open a 27-23 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter. New Providence scored the first eight points of the second half and held Westfield scoreless until 2:18 was left in the third quarter. From there, however, the Blue Devils stole the momentum and built a nine-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Both teams gave one another some trouble with their full-court pressure at times, and Westfield's size advantage kept New Providence from controlling the boards.