BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Plainfield High School came out with a victory over Gov. Livingston in a nail-biter of a girls basketball game, 59-53, Thursday at Gov. Livingston.
Breanna Spencer led the Plainfield Cardinals with 22 points, followed by Drew Winter of Plainfield, with 16. Foul shots were a key factor in the game. Spencer scored nine points from foul shots and Winter sunk four.
"In the first half we played really well," remarked Hayley Berliner, leading scorer of Gov. Livingston, "But in the second half we got a little sloppy and let the game get away from us for a while."
The tense game began with immediate aggression on both sides. Critical communication by GL's defense kept the Plainfield Cardinals on their feet and caused countless jump-balls and turnovers.
However, Plainfield rarely missed a layup, and Gov. Livingston battled back through Berliner, who sunk two foul shots to put the Highlanders ahead, 22-20, near the end of the first half.
Plainfield scored two baskets from the low post in the last twenty seconds, closing out the half 24-22, Cardinals.
Both teams returned from halftime with noticeable hunger and hustle. With twenty seconds to go in the third quarter, Sara Dilly sunk two free-throws to put the Highlanders ahead, 36-34.
The referees' whistles were busy, with many foul calls to kick the second half that continued throughout the entire game.
Plainfield stepped up toward the end of the third quarter when number 15 of Plainfield, Breanna Spencer, sunk all three foul shots awarded when she was fouled on an attempted three-pointer. She brought the score up 37-36 Plainfield.
The score seesawed when Hayley Berliner brought the Highlanders up, 38-37, to end the third on two free-throws.
A high level of anxiety embodied the fourth quarter. Plainfield went into it ahead 39-38, until Berliner tied the game, making her second free-throw on a technical foul. Berliner was fouled again and made both shots, putting the Lady Highlanders up by two.
The score differed by one or two points for the majority of the fourth quarter. A combined fifteen fouls for both teams occurred and delayed continuous play of game, halting any offensive momentum for either team.
Plainfield had a free-throw percentage of 80% for the game, and Governor Livingston had an accuracy of 71%, which may have been the determining factor in the game.
Plainfield finally gained their climactic momentum late in the game when Spencer tied the battle 47-47 with 3:22 to go.
Plainfield continued to pick up their pace, scoring six unanswered points in the next minute, 53-47.
The Cardinals then began to stall and hold possession, forcing the Highlanders into yet another fouling situation with the Cardinals sinking their foul shots.
With thirty five seconds to go, Plainfield was ahead, 57-48. Berliner was fouled and sunk two free-throws, finishing the game with 17 points. Lauren Soranno of Gov. Livingston closed the game with a long three at the buzzer, reaching within six of the victorious Plainfield Cardinals.
The Lady Highlanders face rival New Providence this upcoming Saturday at Gov. Livingston's Super Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Plainfield faces Roselle Catholic Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Plainfield: Breanna Spencer (22); Drew Winter (16); Asia Hill (10); Alexis Covevly (4); Jasmine Griffith (4); Janeia Simmons (2).
GL: Hayley Berliner (17); Patrice DiTommaso (13); Sara Dilly (9); Jenny Pires (7); Lauren Soranno (3); Katie Reilly (2).