BERKELEY, HEIGHTS, N.J. - The Governor Livingston girls' basketball team had yet to be tested at home since their season opening loss to Cranford on December 14. Their streak of outmatching opponents came to an end on Tuesday night, as the Highlanders outlasted parochial girls' basketball powerhouse Roselle Catholic, 38-33.
Both teams scored in the single digits for two of the four quarters, including nine points each in the fourth quarter, as the Highlanders held on for their eighth win of the season.
"We know that they're a very good team, we just wanted to come out and work hard and continue to get better," Highlander head coach Andy Silvagni said. "Roselle Catholic, year in and year out, is a very good team, so for us to beat them here is pretty good but we have a lot to still work on."
Tuesday's game came down to the fourth quarter, after the Highlanders led by two at halftime and stretched their advantage to five at the end of the third quarter.
Mallory George opened the final period with a free throw to extend Gov. Livingston's lead to 30-25, but Roselle Catholic responded with back-to-back baskets.
Niavani Grant hit a running layup, then Kate Tobie knocked down two free throws to cut their deficit to two points.
GL's Lauren Sorrano answered with a long 2-pointer from the left win putting the Highlanders back up four.
After Roselle Catholic sunk two more free throws, Gov. Livingston scored the next six points, all from the free throw line, including three from Alyssa Cranston, to seal the win.
"I had a little trouble with free throws in the first part of the season," Cranston said. "But I have it all worked out now.
The Highlanders made only one conventional basket in the fourth quarter, but still managed to come away with the 38-33 victory.
Despite the poor shooting in the final period, Silvagni is not concerned because of the defensive effort.
"We knew it was going to be a defensive slugfest with this team, thats just the way both our styles are," he said. "We both like to defend and be physical, almost get a little bit ugly and we knew that was going to happen. We just happened to 'out-ugly-them today."
The Highlanders have one day to prepare for a road game against Plainfield (2-9) before facing New Providence (9-0) on Saturday.
Cranston said it is important for the team to stay focused on Thursday before looking towards their rivalry with the Pioneers on Saturday.
"We can't overlook any team," the senior point guard said. "We kind of overlooked Union and that got us a loss, so we really need to focus on the next team ahead. We're excited to play New Providence but we can't overlook (Plainfield)."