NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - In their season opener the New Providence boys’ basketball team lost to Summit by a score of 74-56. The Pioneers were down by as much as 25 in the second half but cut the lead down to as little as 12 but were unable to complete the comeback Friday night.
“They played very well. They shot the ball well, and their one kid is a heck of a player,” New Providence head coach Art Cattano said. “I was just proud of our kids that we played real hard at the end.”
Right from the start, New Providence struggled shooting the ball but only trailed by three half way through the first quarter. However, Summit went on a 12-4 run to close out the first quarter with a 19-8 lead.
One of the keys for Summit to just out to such a lead was their size. Cattano felt that his team was undersized at every position on the floor.
“I think they were bigger than us at every position,” Cattano said. “What are you going to do? You just have to compete, play hard, try to front the post.”
The second quarter was more of the same as Summit scored the first seven points and the Pioneers did not record a point until the 4:47 mark. The Hilltoppers’ dominance continued as they widen their lead, outscoring New Providence 18-10 in the quarter to lead 37-18 at the half.
“We were 8-30 at halftime,” Cattano said of his team’s shooting in the first half. “Certainly makes a difference even if we hit three or four more, it’s still not good but it would have made a difference.”
Summit continued to pull away in the third quarter, scoring the first five points of the half and opening their lead to as much as 25 with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter. New Providence would only slightly close the gap to 21 by the end of the third.
Things would finally start to go the Pioneers way midway through the fourth quarter. With 6:16 remaining they trailed by 22 before going on a 17-7 run in to trail by only 12.
“We put in a whole new defense where we are trying to pick up full court and run and jump people all the time,” Cattano said. “We really didn’t start doing that well until the fourth quarter, where we were getting a lot of steals.”
With their lead down to 12, Summit returned their starters to the court and immediately started to pull away after getting in the double-bonus. In a 30 second span Summit made six consecutive free throws to go back up 18 and seal the victory.
New Providence returns to the court Tuesday against Johnson at 7 p.m.