BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. - There's no question the Governor Livingston girls' basketball team has been struggling as of late. Despite beating both Roselle Catholic and Plainfield last week, it took the Highlanders a full 32 minutes to figure out a recipe for success.
It was no different on Saturday, when Gov. Livingston hosted undefeated New Providence for the annual Super-Saturday event.
After trailing by as many as eight points in the first half, the Highlanders stormed back to beat the Pioneers 44-42.
"It was a really hard fought game," Gov. Livingston senior Alyssa Cranston said. "I was just really proud of my team. Its our last Super-Saturday and Super-Saturday is so big for us, so we're just happy we can get the win."
In front of a sold-out crowd in the "Blue Gym," New Providence controlled the pace in the first half. After falling down 8-3 in the opening minutes, the Pioneers rallied for an 11-2 run to take a 16-10 lead in the second quarter.
Freshman Sydney Morang scored seven of her team-high 15 points during the streak.
New Providence expanded their lead to 23-15 late in the half courtesy of a 7-0 run and led by seven going into halftime.
After the break, the tides turned drastically into Gov. Livingston's favor. When New Providence opened the half with a layup, the Highlanders responded with a 10-0 run, started by back-to-back long balls from Cranston, that saw GL take a 27-25 lead.
The Highlanders never trailed again. New Providence tied the game five times in final 10 minutes but could not gain the advantage.
"Its a lot of adjustments during the game and throughout the game," Governor Livingston head coach Andy Silvagni said. "We wanted to do stuff, but we wanted to wait until later in the game because we didn't want to give [New Providence coach Cap Pazdera] time to adjust."
With the score tied at 40 in the final minute, Cranston hit her third 3-pointer of the game, a straight-away shot to give the Highlanders the lead for good.
The senior guard sealed the game with a free throw in the final five seconds to lead Governor Livingston to their 10th win of the season and the Pioneers' first loss.
"I wasn't shooting well in the first half, so I was happy I could start so I was happy I could start hitting them in the second half," Cranston said. "This helps us so much. We just know that everyone on our team can play. I was really happy that my team could come out. We didn't play well in the first half, but we did well in the second. Its a big win for us."
Despite the win, Silvagni said there is still a lot to work on to get back to a game with this much importance: a sold-out crowd with more than pride on the line.
"We were just saying if we want to back to a game like that, its the county finals, its the state finals," Silvagni said. "Hopefully, this game, with the experience it gave us can help us get to one of those games later on."
The Highlanders return to the floor on Tuesday when they host Arthur Johnson, while New Providence will play at Roselle Catholic on Tuesday.