CHATHAM, NJ - Senior point guard Sara Dilly scored a game-high 18 points and Lindsay Gerrato sparked a big fourth quarter that helped Gov. Livingston finish undefeated at the Cougar Classic with a 51-37 girls basketball victory over host school Chatham on Tuesday.
Gov. Livingston (4-1) defeated Columbia, Hunterdon Central and Chatham for a 3-0 mark at the Cougar Classic.
Chatham (2-3) had scored the final six points of the third quarter to cut the Highlanders' lead to 34-32 entering the fourth quarter. That's when GL coach Vin Gulbin inserted sophomore Gerrato into the lineup, fueling a 15-5 surge that closed out the game for Gov. Livingston.
Gerrato scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and Dilly sank four consecutive free throws in the closing minutes to ice the victory.
"I saw that they went small and started bringing in more guards for shooting, so that's basically our go-to lineup sometimes," Gulbin said. "We bring in Gerrato and that gives us two bigs in there. Gerrato is a good finisher around the rim and we'll run some plays to get her the ball around the low block
"Obviously, I would have been happier if we finished them off in the second and third quarter. They made three really good runs, they shot the ball well to cut the lead down to two. What I liked about our team is all three times we responded. We came back strong and didn't collapse."
Gulbin credited that to a lesson learned in a 47-45 loss to Summit on Dec. 23.
"We had a loss to Summit in the same situation," Gulbin said. "We learned from our Summit game how to handle pressure. When a team makes a run, we handle it better. We're making better decisions and not going out of our offensive realm. Once we run our stuff and execute, we're fine."
Dilly, who also had five rebounds and four steals, hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter to give the Highlanders a 28-20 advantage. But Cassandra Falone (16 points) and Shea Matta hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Chatham.
The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Gov. Livingston, which received three baskets from Gerrato in an opening 8-2 burst.
"Our bigs came up and they played like they were big," Dilly said. "It was awesome. We can throw it inside and then kick it out for the shot. Everyone got involved and everyone played great."