BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston High girls basketball team is playing some of its best basketball of this short season.

The Lady Highlanders began the final week of its 2021 campaign with a dominant 46-25 victory over Kent Place in Berkeley Heights.

The complete team effort was led Gianna Ciccimarra's game-high 14 points as Gov. Livingston won for the third straight time and improved to 7-2 this winter. 

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"We played very well today and this was a fun game to coach," said Gov. Livingston head coach Chris Eckert. "We've been trying to get Gianna to be a leader on the court, and she's been responding. She's fast, physical and a tough player to cover. She's just a gamer."

Ciccimarra, a junior guard, made four 3-pointers in the contest and also added five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

The Lady Highlanders also received solid efforts from Caroline Freer (11 points, five assists, two steals, two rebounds), Reagan Hopeck (eight points, four rebounds, three steals, two blocks), Julia Byrne (seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal), Allie Post (four points, one assist, one steal) and Sara Castrovinci (two points, two steals, one assist).

"This was Allie's first game in a while, and she played about 14 minutes off the bench," said Eckert. "Caroline has really picked up the game and has really improved and Reagan is a workhorse and has been a physical presence inside for us."

Freer, a sophomore guard, now averages 10.1 points to lead the team in scoring.

Gov. Livingston, which defeated Kent Place, 42-31, in Summit in its season opener on Feb. 8, led the Dragons, 7-5, after the first quarter on Monday, The Lady Highlanders then used a 17-4 second-quarter salvo to wrest control of the game and take a 24-9 lead into intermission.

Since suffering a 56-28 decision to New Providence on Feb. 22, Gov. Livingston has defeated Rahway (30-11 on Feb. 24) and Elizabeth (32-30 on Feb. 26) on the road.

"With Elizabeth we tried to slow them down and in the  fourth quarter they were playing aggressively," said Eckert. "We were up four with 20 seconds left and had trouble inbounding the ball, but we were able to hang on for a scrappy win.

"Those are definitely learning experiences for next year."

Gov. Livingston has three games remaining this season including away games against Johnson (5-5) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and Plainfield (1-7) on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

The Lady Highlanders will then complete this truncated season on Saturday with a home game against Union Catholic (4-6) at 2 p.m.

"We're 7-2 but there is still room for improvement," said Eckert. "We're not there yet, but we're coming along and developing and this season has been a lot of fun win or lose."