NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The Pioneers boys basketball team held Arthur L. Johnson to six points in the fourth quarter and sank three long-range baskets  to come within three -- but it was not enough as the Crusaders held the lead on Thursday night for a 52-47 victory.

Kevin Vass led the Pioneers with 18 points followed by Jack Barletta with 13 points including a first quarter buzzer beater ending the quarter down by four, 18-14. 

New Providence was down by five at the half (30-25) and trailed by 12 points (46-34) going into the fourth quarter.  

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Both teams fell into a late game shooting slump in the fourth quarter -- creating turnovers, throwing the ball away, and missing lay-ups.  Each were scoreless during the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. 

Vass sank a jumper that ignited a Pioneer streak of luck.  Peter House nailed two consecutive threes from the low outside post and Barletta hit a three to put New Providence within three with less than a minute left in the contest. 

The Pioneers increased their pressure and were successful in taking the Crusaders out of their game holding them to just six points in the fourth.

With 23.9 seconds remaining on the clock, Vass would score the Pioneers last layup, however, it was not enough to mount a comeback victory, and the Pioneers fell by a score of 52-47.

Pioneer contributors: Romeo - 3 pts; Faucher - 3 pts; J. Barletta 13 points; Monroe - 2 pts; Vass - 18 pts; House - 6 pts; Davidson - 2 pts. 

Up next, the Pioneers host the Cranford Cougars on Saturday, Feb. 6 with a 2 p.m. tip off.