NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Lady Pioneers knew what to expect going into Tuesday’s opening round of the girls basketball state tournament against North Star Academy.
Despite the game being played a day late due to a statewide weather postponement, the Pioneers handled their first foe, 55-18, on Tuesday at New Providence High School.
Pioneer sophomore Syndey Morang, who scored her 1,000th career point on Friday, scored a game-high 17 points on Tuesday.
“Last year, the first round was similar to this, but we knew going out that because we had a game tomorrow, we still had to work hard,” Morang said. “We also had to take it seriously for the respect of the other players. We had a good time. We won. We’re ready for tomorrow.”
New Providence never seemed to doubt their talent level in the game, starting off fast and finishing even faster.
The Pioneers opened the game on a 22-2 run through the first quarter where Morang accounted for 11 of the team’s first 15 points. The rest of the game was eerily similar, with New Providence controlling North Star Academy at will, holding the Knights to a single basket in two quarters.
The only North Star Academy player to cause the Pioneers any trouble was Tamia Burks, who scored 14 of her team’s 18 points.
New Providence coach Cap Pazdera thought the win was a team effort, which in recent years, has been common in the team’s opening round game.
“We try not to expect anything,” Pazdera said. “We just ask the kids to play hard and let the chips fall where they may. In the past, typically that first game is not super competitive. We kind of knew that coming in so we told our girls to play hard. Our goal was to make sure everybody got some playing time to get their dust off for the state tournament.”
Freshman Katie Kinum added 10 points in the victory that secured the Pioneers a second-round game on Wednesday. New Providence will host Dunellen at either 6 or 8 p.m.