January 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence freshman Sydney Morang is taking Union county by storm. Her latest victim: the Union Catholic Vikings.
Morang scored 25 points as the Pioneers ousted Union Catholic 54-34 on Thursday at New Providence High School.
"She's got that in her every game," New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera said. "She's got the green light. If she can light it up like she did, then great, awesome."
Morang paced the game in the first quarter, scoring 10 of the first 12 points for the Pioneers.
After opening the game with a left win deep ball, the freshman followed with a long 2-pointer from the left corner then two free throws. She capped the opening minutes with a left corner three to give the Pioneers a 12-7 lead.
"I was on, obviously, in the beginning," Morang said. "I think i was looking more for my shot, knowing that they're a good team. I think I was being a little more offensive in this game."
The Vikings fought back, taking a one point lead in the final minute before Morang hit a running layup in the last 30 seconds of the first.
New Providence took control of the game in the second quarter, extending their lead to 11 points on the back of a 10-0 to start the period. Cassandra Squeri had four points during the streak.
However, after pushing their lead to 12, the Vikings clawed their way to a six point deficit at halftime thanks to seven points from Shana LaRocca.
After halftime, the Pioneers outscored Union Catholic 18-2 in the third quarter to take a commanding 49-27 lead. Morang scored nine points in the third, including seven consecutive tallies to close out the frame.
"Offensively I thought we looked awesome," Pazdera said. "At halftime we said we have to pressure and make them put the ball on the floor and try to attack the basket as opposed to getting wide open looks."
Aside from leading the team and scoring half their points, Morang was the on-floor general. She continually directed traffic and called for the ball, as well as dishing it out to open teammates.
Pazdera said he has never seen a freshman with as much talent as Morang.
"She's a special player," he said. "She's a freshman in grade, but very mature, more like a senior on the floor."
Despite all the success Morang has led the Pioneers to this year, the victory over the Vikings was NP's 14th of the year, the freshman feels no pressure going into her first Union County Tournament next week.
"I think if we go in their thinking there is [pressure], we might psych each other out," Morang said. "We need to go in there and play our game, just play the way we've been playing."
The Pioneers will play at Arthur Johnson on Friday in one of their final tune-ups before next week's county tournament.