BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston girls basketball team defeated the Cranford Cougars Tuesday night, 53-40. 

Junior Lindsay DiStaso led the Highlanders with 13 points, followed by junior Lauren Soranno and senior Hayley Berliner with 11. Senior Sara Dilly closely trailed with 10 points. Junior Cerys MacLelland of Cranford finished with the team high of 14 points.

"I thought we played really tough, we came out strong. When they [Cranford] made their little run I thought we rebounded well. We actually rebounded the basketball instead of giving them second opportunities," Gov. Livingston head coach Vin Gulbin said. "We shot 70 percent from the free throw line, which was crucial towards the end of the game, and then we shot close to 50 percent from two. And 55 percent from threes, which is unheard of! Usually teams shoot about 30 percent, 33 percent. When we do that it opens up everything for us and now we can get down low and isolate Lindsay Gerrato, Lindsay DiStaso, and Courtney."

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The previous statistics about the Highlanders' performance was truly proved through their teamwork. Throughout the entire game, the team played incredible defense and had clean transitions from the defensive end. Their patience on offense, constant cutting and ball movement helped the team accumulate points.

The Cougars began the game with a four-point lead, but the game quickly turned around. Soranno opened up the game for the Highlanders with a three-pointer, followed by DiStaso's 9-points in the first. Dilly had many assists for these post plays. Sophomore Lindsay Gerrato made it 18-9 to end the first quarter.

In the second quarter, DiStaso, Gerrato, Dilly, and senior Courtney Osieja all had aggressive rebounds that helped the team gain crucial possessions. Berliner and Soranno contributed with threes, and the half ended with a 3 point buzzer beater from Soranno to make the score 35-22 at half.

The Highlanders hi a lull at the beginning of the third quarter with Cranford coming within five points, 35-30, with four minutes left. The Highlanders had not scored yet, but the entire team soon took control, aided by Osieja's rebounds and Gerrato's free throws. By the second half of the third quarter, the Highlanders had regained their strength and continued to dominate on offense. 

Highlander defense was a tenacious force in this game. Dilly's incessant hustle relatively hindered the power of #24 on Cranford in the post, and clean blocks by DiStaso gave the Highlanders a majority of possessions. By the fourth quarter, Cranford got into foul trouble and one and ones began. Dilly had a total of nine foul shots in the fourth quarter, and made six of them. The game ended 53-40, with a complete team effort from the Lady Highlanders.

Gov. Livingston will travel to Union on Thursday for a 4 p.m. tip off and will play in Summit  on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m.