RAHWAY, NJ- The Johnson Crusaders and the Patrick School Celtics took it to the court in the Union County Tournament Quarterfinals matchup Friday night at Rahway High School. The Celtics won, beating the Crusaders by a score of 50-42.
The two teams played a back-and-forth game in the first quarter, with Johnson leading after that part of the contest 10-8.
Patrick School responded strongly in the second quarter, with a 9-0 scoring run in a span of about two minutes to turn a 14-8 deficit into a 17-14 lead with 3:30 remaining in the first half. The Celtics led by a score of 19-17 at the half.
For Johnson, junior Stephanie Visconti scored a team-high 12 points, while Molly Panetta contributed 11 points in the loss. Sophomore Meghan Gallagher added seven points to the Crusaders final score.
The Crusaders struggled from the free throw line, going nine out of 17 in the game.
“We have two more games next week to get ready for states,” said Johnson Head Coach Michele Sharp. “I thought we did a good job, we played them tough. We lost it on the boards, and we missed eight free throws, and what did we lose by? We lost by eight. We've got to knock down free throws, and we've got to control the boards.”
As the second half got underway, Patrick School and Johnson continued the close battle as both teams were connecting on scoring opportunities. Johnson sophomore Sabrina Parin scored a 3-point basket to tie the game at 30.
When the fourth quarter began, the Celtics would not look back, using a 6-0 scoring run within a span of just over a minute to go up 42-34 with 2:47 remaining in the final part of the game.
Patrick School was led by senior Shyasia Pridgen’s 13 points, which led all scorers on the night. Sophomore Raven Farley-Clark contributed 11 points in the victory.
“I think that we need to work on defensive boards [rebounds] because I think that’s where we hurt tonight,” said Johnson senior and co-captain Christina Bonaccorso. “We lost by eight, we missed eight foul shots, so working on foul shots too, will definitely help.”
Next up, the Patrick School Celtics (19-6) face off against New Providence High School in the Union County Tournament Semifinals on Tuesday. The Johnson Crusaders (12-9) take on Union High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at home in regular season play.