CRANFORD - Lauren Williamson scored a career-high 25 points to lead Cranford to a 54-47 victory over Watchung Hills, on Monday.
"We've come really far," said Cranford head coach Jackie Dyer. "We started off really slow, then we got over a little hump, and now things are looking good."
Trailing 15-9 after one, Williamson, along with Kirsten Williams, combined for all 14 Cranford points in the second quarter to keep the deficit at six as the Cougars went into the half trailing 29-23. Cranford opened up the second quarter on a 9-1 run to take its first lead since the opening minutes before turnovers allowed the Warriors a run of their own.
Williams, a rotational player off the bench more known for rebounding and defense, scored six in the second and finished with a career-high eight points.
"Lauren is consistently one of our leading scorers," said Dyer. "But what's nice is every game, there's always someone else who contributes big. And it's nice because if someone is having an off day, I know I can put someone else in to take over."
The story was the same in the third quarter as Cranford once again started strong with a 10-0 run to jump ahead by four before four straight turnovers allowed Watchung Hills to tie it up 39-39 to close out the quarter. Gianna Toretta, who had just two points in the first-half, found her shot from behind the arc and finished with seven points in the third.
Though Williamson entered the final quarter with a game-high 16 points, her best was yet to come as she netted the first five points of the quarter for the Cougars by making her way to the basket and drawing fouls.
"I knew I had to drive a lot," said Williamson. "I knew we also had to keep pressing them because the more that we pressed them, the more they would break and turnovers would happen, which allowed us to get more points."
Williamson scored nine in the fourth quarter and Toretta knocked down her third three-pointer as Cranford used an 8-1 run to control the final minutes.
Despite no points, K.C. Pringle was a force on the boards. Pringle snatched 14 rebounds, which allowed the Cougars multiple second-chance offensive opportunities. Olivia Speer added six points and six rebounds.
With the win, Cranford improves to 5-3 on the year, and Williamson says the team is really putting things together.
"The five seniors on this team really play well together because we've been playing since the fifth grade together," she said. "Everybody is starting to step up and get more comfortable with the ball, leading to us winning more."
The Cougars take on Oak Knoll (4-4) this Saturday at home at 12 noon.
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