GLEN RIDGE--As Elettra Giantomenico was warming up prior to Glen Ridge's game against Belleville on Jan. 11, her coach knew she could be in a for a big game.
"She was shooting the ball real well," said head coach Joe Mazzarella. "I told her she could score 25 today."
Giantomenico got off to a blistering start, scoring 14 points in the first half as the Ridgers opened a 22-6 lead, thanks to an 18-0 spurt spanning the first and second quarters. The sophomore guard eventually finished with a career-high 18 points, including five 3-point baskets, as Glen Ridge defeated Belleville, 38-20, in Glen Ridge.
The win was the second straight for the Ridgers and third in its last five games as Glen Ridge improved to 3-4 after an 0-2 start to the season. The Ridgers were set for a big week, with three road games at Verona (Jan. 14, 4 p.m.), West Essex (Jan. 16, 7 p.m.) and Cedar Grove (Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m.).
Entering this season, Mazzarella was looking for someone on the team to take the lead on offense, as the Ridgers lost its top two scorers from last season, Claire McMahon and Jenny Lisovicz, to graduation.
"I felt Elettra was capable of being a top offensive player for us," said Mazzarella. "And she showed it today. We're starting to come around, as a team, which is what I was hoping we'd do by early January. It was a good win for us over Belleville, and we picked up a good win against Payne Tech (on Jan. 9)."
Giantomenico, a 3-sport athlete at Glen Ridge, was excited about her performance. The sophomore guard seems fully recovered from a serious hand injury which curtailed her soccer season last fall, after going through surgery.
"I wanted to help get our team going," she said. "I think we're starting to gain confidence and I want to be a part of that. My injury is fully healed. It's good to be healthy. Today, my shot felt really good and I just went with what worked."
Sarah Cullinan had a good game for the Ridgers, with 10 points while Haleigh Pine scored four and Holly Vincent, Amayah Melbourne and Jillian Goffe had two points each.
Versus Payne Tech, Glen Ridge fell behind, 13-6, after one quarter before rallying to take a 22-18 lead at halftime. The Ridgers led, 28-27, after three quarters and went on to win, 39-36.
Melbourne led the way with 11 points while Giantomenico scored 10, Cullinan and Goffe had six each, Pine scored four and Olivia Carbonell finished with two points.
Glen Ridge has been without the services of Michaila Dowd, who sprained her ankle in a game against Livingston, on Jan. 6.
"She's feeling better," said Mazzarella of Dowd. "We're hoping to get her back in the lineup soon. Michaila is an important part of our team."