BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – The tides have turned in the Gov. Livingston-Summit girls’ basketball rivalry. A year since getting beaten by a combined 40 points in two games, the Hilltoppers got the best of GL on Saturday, beating the Highlanders 52-35.
Jenny Martino scored a game-high 14 points to lead Summit to their ninth win of the season, while Gov. Livingston’s Hayler Berliner put up 14 of her own.
“They’re a very good team,” Summit head coach Brian Erickson said. “They’re ahead of us in the sectional rankings. They have a lot of power points. This was a big game for both teams. This will be a big swing for us in the section.”
The Hilltoppers never trailed in the game, going on a 9-0 run to open the contest before GL broke the shutout in the final minute of the first quarter.
The Highlanders kept the game within 10 points for most the second quarter until Martino hit two 3-pointers, including a half-court buzzer beater to give the momentum back to Summit.
“A 3-point shot is an interesting shot in this game,” Erickson said. “It makes a big difference, it’s a real momentum swing. Jenny had three in the first half, including the one at the end of the half from beyond half court. That’s big. We always talk about scoring at the end of quarters, but Jenny practices that every day at practice.”
In the third, both teams spread the ball out, as nine different players scored between the two. GL only managed four baskets, which allowed Summit to extend their lead to 18 points.
Hayley Berliner led a slight comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of her team-high 14 points before the Summit put the finishing touches on GL in the game’s final minutes.
“Any time you beat Gov. Livingston in their gym, that’s a bench mark,” Erickson said. “That is something you look back on and say ‘look what we did’ because we have that much respect for that program. When you beat them, you don’t just beat a team, you try and beat the program. Its huge. We’ll use this now and we’ll enjoy it.”
Both teams are back in action on Tuesday against two of the best teams in Union County. Summit visits Plainfield, while Gov. Livingston matches up against Roselle Catholic.