February 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM
CLARK, NJ - Almost one week after beating Linden, the Summit girls' basketball team fell to the Tigers, 55-37, on Monday in the first round of the Union County Tournament from Arthur Johnson High School.
Linden outscored the Hilltoppers in every quarter, despite holding only a four-point lead after the first.
"We came out and jumped on them," Linden head coach Paul Gorski said.
Linden's Jada Lewis controlled the tempo early on for the Tigers. She scored two quick baskets in the opening 30 seconds to give Linden the lead they would never relinquish. Keajah Hall followed with her own layup, and the Hilltoppers quickly fell behind 6-0.
Despite never leading in the game, Summit had their opportunities to score and keep the game close throughout, which they did for the first quarter and a half. Several missed shots and failed put-back attempts put the Hilltoppers in a deep offensive hole on the scoreboard.
"We did a lot of good," Summit head coach Brian Erickson said. "We missed some shots. For most of the kids, this is their first county tournament. From our standpoint, I wanted to get this one over with so that we can build off it."
Defensively, Summit never allowed Linden to get comfortable in their half-court sets. The Tigers never went on extended point streaks, which played a big help in keeping the game close in the first half.
The Hilltoppers were able to respond quickly whenever they allowed Linden to get back-to-back baskets. At no point in the contest, aside from the opening minutes, did either side score more than two consecutive baskets.
With Summit's young team, led offensively by Anna Baumiester and Cassie O'Malley, who both had eight points, Erickson was pleased with his team's performance.
"We fought hard and didn't quit, kept playing," Erickson said. "They really wanted to win. If you give us a couple of cutbacks early, things could have been different."
The Tigers will play Plainfield in the tournaments second round match. The Cardinals defeated No. 4 seeded New Providence 57-51 on Monday night.
Linden has already defeated Plainfield twice this season, making Gorski confident that his team can three-peat against the Cardinals.
"We've beaten them twice this year, so we have them on tape," Gorski said. "If we bring the same intensity that we brought today, we should be good to go."