SUMMIT, N.J. - The Summit boys basketball team learned first-hand what it would be like to play without three of its five starters on Tuesday night, and it wasn't pretty. Memorial High School of New York came to Summit and were up by double digits for most of the night, cruising to a stunning 64-51 win over the Hilltoppers at Summit High School.
Summit began the game without Mac Wiesner due to a stomach illness, and without leading scorer Ba'Shawn Mickens, for an undisclosed reason. Ryan Sweeney was poked in the eye early on in the contest, and did not return.
"You're down three starters, and you get guys in a role they aren't necessarily used to, it took a little while to get them started," Summit head coach David White said. "They're athletic, and they're scrappy and they made shots and we didn't."
With 2:09 remaining in the first quarter, the game was tied at three, and both team's offenses had not been doing much, combining to hit just 2-of-18 during that stretch. But Summit center Robbie Walsh, picked up his second personal foul and went to the bench with just over two to play. Memorial then went on an 11-1 run which Summit was never able to recover from.
"I think the game kind of changed at the beginning when you let a team jump up on you by 10 points. That's a hard thing to overcome," White said.
Memorial took a 14-4 lead into the second quarter, and because of an 8-3 Tiger's run to close the half, they expanded that lead to 16 at the break and never looked back.
Summit trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, and was able to cut the lead down to 10 on two occasions late in the fourth, but Memorial's offense just kept making shots. A big reason for that was the hot shooting of Memorial's Jamal Agurto, who at times looked indefensible. Agurto scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half, and was a huge factor in holding off the Hilltoppers.
"We got up on him, and give the kid credit, he made shots," White said. "Every one of us, every coach has had a game where it seems like there's somebody on the other team where no matter what they do, the ball goes in the basket."
Offensively, Summit had trouble making baskets all game long. They shot 36 percent from the floor (29 percent in the first half), and at the free throw line, they made 13-of-20. Meanwhile, Memorial didn't exactly shoot the lights out at just under 40 percent and at 14-of-19 at the line, but eight team 3 pointers compared to three for the Hilltoppers proved to be a big difference.
"Sometimes you have bad games. We had a bad game," White said. "Unless you learn from it, then it's a waste of time...They weren't doing anything we haven't seen before and that we haven't handled before. We just weren't executing and weren't getting necessarily the kind of looks we want. We'd like to attack that zone a little more, as opposed to going over the top of it."
Walsh led Summit with 14 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while Kyle Crotty caught a bit of a hot hand off of the bench for Summit, scoring 11 points.
Summit, which has locked up the No. 4 seed in the upcoming North II Group 3 state sectional championships, fell to 18-4 and is in action again at home on Thursday against Hunterdon Central. Memorial improved to 12-12.