BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -  Junior point guard Skylar Dowling remains the top scorer for the Lady Highlanders because her ability to shake a defender and get to the rim, averaging 14.9 ppg. Last season the long range bomber connected on a whopping 69 three-pointers and this year to date, she is averaging 2.9 three point shots made per game. 

"One thing that makes Skylar special is that she is a student of the game, she loves watching film and knows all of the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents," said Gov. Livingston head girls basketball coach Chris Eckert. "She also has a special skill of hitting a big shot when we need it most. Skylar continues to get better at taking on and attacking double teams and setting up her teammates to be successful."

Dowling was named Lady Dodgers Tournament MVP for scoring a combined 32 points against Whippany Park and Mount Olive to help lead Gov. Livingston to winning the tournament championship. 

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"Skylar did a great job of making the team better. We emphasize team first and throughout the tournament, she did that," said Eckert. "She's doing a great job of letting the game come to her this year. We were excited for her to be named MVP two years in a row."

Coming off the holiday tournament championship, Dowling scored 20 points against a pesky Plainfield team for the Lady Highlander's 6th consecutive win.

Next, we saw a complete team effort by the Lady Highlanders in an OT thriller against New Providence in front of a Super Saturday raucous crowd. It was Dowling's heads up play and laser beam pass to Shannon Polimeni under the basket that would be the game winner with seconds remaining on the clock. Polimeni in one motion caught the ball and went right up for the lay in. On the play, Polimeni was fouled and she finished off the conventional three point play when she sank her foul shot to put Gov. Livingston up 36-34. Dowling (14 points) and Polimeni (6 points) added foul shots to seal the 38-34 win as the Lady Highlanders came away with their 6th straight victory.

"Going forward I am excited to see what Skylar can do," he said. "She continues to get better every day and she wants to be great. I'm also excited to see her take more of a leadership role going forward. As for the team, our goal is to continue to get better every day. We will continue to practice hard and leave everything out there on the court at the end of each day. Our goal every game is to be competitive on every possession on both ends of the court for four quarters. If we continue to do that we will have a great season."

For Skylar Dowling's contribution as the team's leading scorer in their 7-1 start to the season and being named MVP of the Lady Dodger Holiday Tournament, Skylar is named the Valairco Heating & Cooling Highlander Athlete of the Week.

The following are comments from Skylar about her past, present and future:

TAPinto: How did the team approach the Championship against Mount Olive a big group 4 school from Morris County?

Skylar: Our approach was to compete and win each quarter. 

TAPinto: What are the biggest challenges that you and the team face this season?

Skylar: Our team this year is small in height, but we use that to help us with our quickness on defense. 

TAPinto: Now that you are junior how do you think your overall game has evolved since your freshman season?

Skylar: I have worked on improving my defense and vision on the court over the past two years. 

TAPinto: What's the team's goal for this year? 

Skylar: We want to take each game at a time, but we would like to win our division and go further in the county and state tournament than we did last year. 

TAPinto: You also play lacrosse, are there any aspects of that game that you can bring onto the court?

Skylar: My vision on the lacrosse field and basketball court work hand-in-hand through distributing the ball to my teammates. 

TAPinto: You’re the youngest in a family of athletes. Have you given any thought about playing at the next level yet?

Skylar: I am planning on playing basketball in college. 

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Valairco Heating & Cooling is the proud sponsor of the Highlander Athlete of the Week. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

Valairco Heating & Cooling is celebrating 50 years in business. They are family owned and operated and know that keeping your HVAC systems running smoothly is important to the comfort of our customers, their families, and their guests. That is why their family is dedicated to taking care of yours, no matter what the issue may be. Using only top-quality parts to perform a higher-standard of service and all their services are backed by their 50 years of professional experience and 5-year comprehensive warranties. This means that when you call our team at Valairco, you benefit from their total commitment to your complete satisfaction.