Senior guards Katie Kinum and Sarah Zeto paced the Pioneers with 22 and 12 points, respectively. Senior Hannah Caminiti chipped in with seven of her own.
Senior Lindsay Gerrato’s 12 points led Governor Livingston.
As was the case in the first game between the two squads, the veteran Pioneers proved too much to handle for the up-and-coming Highlanders.
The Pioneers didn’t waste much time exerting their will on both ends of the floor. After the Highlanders took a brief two-point lead thanks to a Gerrato free throw, the Pioneers responded with an 8-0 run to take a 10-4 lead into the second period.
The underlying factor in holding Governor Livingston to just four first quarter points was the stymying defense on Gerrato. It was no secret that Gerrato would need to have one of her best games of the season if the Highlanders were to have any chance at a victory.
Instead, Gerrato struggled to find a rhythm offensively which seemed to affect the rest of her teammates as no Highlander scored more than two points.
New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera’s gameplan was working to perfection.
“We worked on having at least two people on Lindsay every time she touched the ball because she’s tough once she gets the ball in her hands,” Pazdera said. “If she gets the ball up it usually goes in. So we felt that if we pressured her we would have a good shot to slow her down.”
The second quarter was the Kinum-Zeto show as both began to find their groove offensively. Kinum got things going for New Providence when she turned a long pass from Zeto into an easy layup to open the period.
The Highlanders would respond with a basket of their own only to be combatted with a 7-0 run by New Providence to push their lead to 13.
As far as defense goes, the Pioneers continued their tight pressure which no doubt made it tough for the Highlanders to establish a rhythm. And throw in the number of missed shots by the Highlanders, the Pioneers had officially put their stamp on the game as the Highlanders were searching for answers they never found.
By the time the first half ended, Kinum had 14 points while Zeto had seven. But the most critical stat was holding the Highlanders to just 14 first half points.
“I told the GL girls they played a good game and that we have a high amount of respect for them,” Pazdera said. “But fortunately it was our time tonight.”
The second half wasn’t much better for the Highlanders. They continued to miss shots which led to their 19-point deficit at the end of the third period.
Even though they held a commanding lead throughout the fourth quarter, the Pioneers never let up defensively and were hell-bent on not giving their rivals even an ounce of hope.
The Pioneers will need to take the same mentality into the semifinal round on Wednesday against a Westfield team that will be looking to avenge a loss in the first meeting between the two teams this season.