BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The New Providence boys basketball team sank 12 3-pointers, exhibited balanced scoring and hounded Gov. Livingston with a trapping halfcourt defense to record a 61-42 victory Monday afternoon.
Senior guard James Reilly scored a career-high 18 points, passed for three assists, and buried five 3-pointers to pace the torrid outside shooting the Pioneers displayed throughout the contest.
Senior center Carsten Schumm finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and one assist for New Providence (6-4), which handed the Highlanders (8-2) just their second loss of the season. Tim Walsh and Nick Bisaccia each had 11 points and four assists in the victory. Walsh also grabbed six rebounds.
Brian McGrath led Gov. Livingston with 13 points and Nick Gold finished with nine points for the Highlanders, who were within five points at 23-18 late in the first half when New Providence embarked on a 13-0 run that bridged the two halves and gave the Pioneers control of the game.
Walsh canned a 3-pointer to give the Pioneers a 26-18 lead, then Reilly's trey off a kickout assist from Schumm underneath with 2:14 extended that lead to 29-18. New Providence held GL scoreless for the rest of the first half, then reeled off the first seven points of the third quarter.
Schumm controlled the inside defensively with eight rebounds and four blocks in the first half, when New Providence kept the Highlanders from mounting a consistent offense by employing an active zone defense and trapping GL on the wings. While GL's man-to-man defense collapsed on the 6-foot-7 Schumm to keep the Pioneer big man from doing too much offensive damage in the first half, New Providence made GL pay with crisp ball movement, coming off screens and consistently knocking down deep shots.
The Pioneers sank seven 3-pointers in the first half, including four treys by Reilly.
"We've improved quite a bit, and we have a lot of kids contributing," New Providence head coach Art Cattano said. "One very simple play we've been having a lot of success with, the guard dribbles to one side, we have four across, and he passes to a guard on the opposite elbow and we set a screen for a guard on the wing. We've been hitting those shots."
When Gov. Livingston opened the second half respecting the Pioneers' outside game more, Schumm went to work inside, scoring the first four points of the half inside the paint before Walsh drilled a 3-pointer for a 36-18 lead.
The Highlanders showed some spark late in the third quarter, and came back to within 12 points at 44-32 after Gold went up strong for a rebound basket. Gov. Livingston applied full-court pressure and appeared to have Bisaccia trapped in the backcourt, but the junior guard from New Providence passed out of trouble and Will Lattmann found Walsh up ahead of the field for a long, press-breaking layup that triggered a 12-0 Pioneer run that thwarted any potential GL momentum.
"James Reilly had a very good game today, and that's the way it's been lately, with so many kids contributing," Cattano said. "On Saturday, James Pazdera came off the bench and gave us eight points in the fourth quarter (in a 55-49 win over Cranford), Matt Demareski has helped us out a lot off the bench, Colin Smith has been able to come in and spell Carsten up front for some minutes.
"I'm playing more kids than I've ever played," Cattano said. "Even for a couple of minutes here and there, we're playing nine or 10 kids. Even when we won the state championship in 1999, we were basically playing six kids."
Normally, these showdowns between New Providence and Gov. Livingston are held as part of a "Super Saturday" gala. The mood was a little different on a desolate, slushy Monday afternoon.
"Not having the normal big-crowd atmosphere was certainly not what we're used to for these games," Cattano said, "but we are happy to be playing. We have been lucky with the schedule and the weather to get almost all of our games in as scheduled."