ROSELLE, NJ - The Summit boys' basketball team trailed by 16 points after the first three quarters. Facing a team like Union Catholic, the Hilltoppers could have easily forgotten about the fourth quarter and started prep work for the state tournament.
However, that's not Summit's way.
Instead, the Hilltoppers fought back to within one possession before losing to the Vikings 64-56 in the second round of the Union County Tournament.
"It was a tough one," Summit center Rob Walsh said. "It sucks to lose a game that close, but we have other games coming up. We have to get ready for states."
Going up against one of the county's top scorers in Damon Lynn, Summit held Union Catholic to just four points in the first seven and a half minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Hilltoppers carried an 20-4 run that saw two separate 8-0 streaks to bring Summit back into the game.
"We had to fight," Summit head coach David White said. "We came back three times but in the end, we couldn't get the last shot to fall. I told the guys that this is the kind of game you have to experience to learn how to get to the next level."
Summit came within one possession with 1:55 to play when senior guard Ba'shawn Mickens picked up an offensive rebound and converted on a lay-up, making the score 58-56.
After making several defensive stops down two points, Summit couldn't put any shots into the hoop in the final two minutes. When forced to the free-throw line, Union Catholic hit five of their last six to seal the game. The games' leading scorer, Lynn, scored two of his 21 points in the final minute.
"[Union Catholic is] a good team," White said. "The ball bounces well for good teams. I told those guys that we never gave up and continued to fight. I hope that we earned some respect from the other teams in the county."
The Hilltoppers were led offensively by Walsh and Rob Sweeney.
They carried Summit offensively, Walsh with 14 points and Sweeney a team-high 16, in a game where Mickens struggled due to flu-like symptoms.
"It was a really tough first half," White said. "Ba'shawn [Mickens] has been sick the last couple of days. That clearly had an impact. He kind of turned it around in the second half."
Mickens scored 14 point, but only two in the first half.
Summit has a quick turnaround, as they will face Arthur Johnson on Thursday at 7 p.m.