SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD — Players on this year’s Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls’ basketball team were either in middle or elementary school when the program last won a state tournament game.
Yet, given the final score and absolute domination from wire to wire Tuesday, it seemed as though the Lady Raiders were fairly used to winning tournament games.
In its first state tournament game in two seasons, five-seeded Scotch Plains-Fanwood routed 12-seeded Elizabeth, 56-26, in the first round of the NJSIAA North 2, Group 4 sectional tournament. The Raiders move to 15-10 on the season and advance to play arch rival and four-seeded Westfield in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
It had been seven years since Scotch Plains-Fanwood last won a girls’ basketball state tournament game prior to Tuesday. The tournament victory was the program’s first since its 23-point triumph over Newark West Side on March 1, 2011.
Stefanie DeVizio dropped a game best 15 points on two three pointers, brought down five rebounds, and dished out five assists to guide the Raiders, who never trailed. Abbe-Gayle Burton chipped in 14 points on eight rebounds and three steals, while Brianna O’Brien, Nya Downing, and Corinne Lyght each combined for 24 points (eight points apiece). Downing also added nine rebounds and Eboni Davis came down with eight boards.
While its offense was clicking on all cylinders, Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s defense was equally as impressive. Elizabeth was limited to just six total points in the first half, which the Raiders had already built up a 23-6 lead. In fact, no Elizabeth player scored over six points.
As a team, Scotch Plains-Fanwood out-rebounded its Union County counterparts, 39-35, and controlled a 23-9 advantage in field goals made.
Beating Westfield on the road in the quarterfinals will be no easy task for Scotch Plains-Fanwood, but the Raiders did give Westfield a scare on January 20. The start time for the game on Thursday, March 1 is currently TBD.