BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Union girls basketball team defeated the Governor Livingston Highlanders, 49-43, in the honorary senior night game for Gov. Livingston.
Governor Livingston seniors Lauryn DiStaso, Patrice DiTommaso, Jenny Pires, and Katie Reilly all started the game for the home team.
GL Senior Patrice DiTommaso, leading point scorer of the night, finished with 15 points for the Highlanders. All of DiTomasso's 15 points came from three-pointers- she had five in total, a streak of four in the second quarter. Trailing behind DiTomasso, senior Jenny Pires shone with ten points, helping the Highlander's offensive upkeep.
For Union, Adora Moheme finished with 15 points to lead the Farmers, and Nneka Moneme followed with 10. Their foul shooting and quick jumpers spurred the team to a victory over Governor Livingston.
"Tonight we played with a lot of heart and tried our best to get a win for our seniors," starting junior point-guard Sara Dilly commented, "We came up a little short, but with Patrice back from a concussion and more hard work we're looking forward to counties- we're definitely going to end our seniors' year with a highlight."
Spirits were high prior to the game while the seniors were presented their flowers and their commitment to the program honored at half-court. The girls translated this energy into their play, GL senior Katie Reilly winning the jump ball to begin the game.
Jenny Pires had the first two baskets for Governor Livingston, and Union followed by getting on the board, quickly tying it 4-4. The Farmers rose above the Highlanders by sinking four foul shots, gaining a lead of five. Sara Dilly followed with a three and a shot, helping the Highlanders make use of possession with Jenny Pires, who sunk another basket. The score at the end of the first quarter was tied at 12.
Pires and Dilly were the only two members of the Highlanders to score during the first quarter, contributing a combined 12 points. They aided the momentum shift that brought Gov. Livingston up with Union.
Both Union and Gov. Livingston added 17 points throughout the second quarter. Union gained foul shots at the hands of the Highlanders throughout the game, forcing Gov. Livingston into foul trouble. DiTommaso brought the Highlanders within three of the Farmers with her first three-pointer to make the score 20-17. Jasmine Bonaparte of Union battled back with a three, and junior Hayley Berliner added an additional three-pointer. Patrice scored three more long threes to send the crowd into hysteria.
DiTommaso brought the Highlanders on top for a short amount of time, but Union fought back with aggressive ball handling and long jumpers, and the half ended a tie, 29-29.
DiTommaso opened up the second half with her final three of the night. Possession continually shifted throughout the third quarter, resulting in a tight score- both teams were sinking shots.
The game ended for the Highlanders in the late fourth quarter. The team did not capitalize on scoring opportunities and failed to possess the ball on offensive and defensive rebounds- the rebounds were dominated by the Farmers' height in the post.
Scoring was stymied and slow in the fourth quarter, the Highlanders scoring 4 points throughout the quarter and Union scoring 6. The Highlanders tightened on defense by doubling the ball toward the end of the game and fouling, as did Union, who shut down the Highlander's shooting.
In the last minute, Union had spurred ahead 49-41. The leading team held possession as the clock wound down and GL continued to foul. Hayley Berliner was fouled shooting a long three-pointer and sunk her first shot, bringing the score up to 49-43, Union, to end the game.
The Highlanders face Summit away this Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Union will compete against West Morris on Feb. 24.