SUMMIT, N.J. - Summit narrowly escaped with the victory Friday afternoon as they used a fourth quarter comeback to defeat New Providence 48-45. The Hilltoppers improved to 14-2 on the season, while the loss dropped the Pioneers to 8-9.
“We played well enough to win,” Summit head coach David White said. “For the most part we didn’t play a very good game against a team that played a very good game and is very well coached. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a team play as hard and as spirited as (New Providence).”
Down four points going into the final quarter, Summit tied the game just two minutes later on a 3-point shot by Petie Cummins and took their first lead since the first quarter on a layup from senior Ba’shawn Mickens. Mickins finished with a game-high 23 points, 15 of which came after halftime.
Facing their first deficit in over 23 minutes, down two, New Providence’s Curtis Kyzima hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game and put the Pioneers back on top 44-43 with 3:35 to play.
“He hit some big shots for us and that’s certainly reason why we were in the game,” New Providence head coach Art Cattano said.
Down one Summit would once again turn to their leading scorer, Mickens, who put back a missed layup attempt to put the Hilltoppers up for good.
The Pioneers did have their chances to pull out the win, especially with 18 seconds left. Down two, Bryan Sherman was on the free throw line with two shots. Sherman hit the first one but the second did not fall and New Providence’s upset bid fell by the wayside.
“They are a very good team and a team like that is going to make a run on you,” Cattano said. “Have to give them credit for coming back and they did a nice job, they got it done.”
Part of what kept the Pioneers ahead for most of the game was the slow pace that they played. From the beginning, New Providence waited to be pressured before starting their play and when they did take shots they knocked them down.
“They slowed the pace down a lot and shot the ball very, very well,” White said. “Even making that shot at the end of the half, they just played a very good game.”
That shot at the end of the half was made by Kyzima well behind the 3-point line, and it was also his second buzzer beater of the game. The shot gave the Pioneers an eight point halftime lead. Kyzima finished with a team-high 17 points for New Providence.
Both teams return to the court Tuesday, as Summit hosts Cranford and New Providence travels to Westfield.