WESTFIELD, NJ — New Providence High School’s girls varsity basketball team, ranked No. 2 in the conference, defeated No. 3-ranked Westfield Saturday, 34-20.
“It was a super physical game, both sides,” New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera said. “I think this has become, not a rivalry, but a game both teams really want to win, so you can see the emotions on the court.”
The game began with the Pioneers and Lady Blue Devils keeping the score even and a couple of early three-pointers from both sides. Each team played strong defensive games, but in the second quarter the Pioneers started to see the net more. At the half the Pioneers were up 17-8.
“I think we played great defensively, we held them off to 17 points at the half, but we were missing shots we should’ve made,” WHS senior captain Shannon Devitt said. “We probably could’ve pulled out a win, but we just didn’t execute on offense.”
Westfield’s strong defense was led by seniors Danielle Rinaldi and Devitt and juniors Grace Elliott and Molly Ryan. New Providence’s win was led by seniors Katie Kinum and Sarah Zeto and sophomore Elizabeth Parker.
“I think we played a really good team game,” Kinum, a Pioneer senior captain, said. “I think everybody contributed and did what they had to do. We were down one of our starting players [Hannah Caminiti] and I think we all did what we were supposed to do and we played up to our best potential.”
Kinum scored 20 of the Pioneer’s 34 points and had 10 rebounds in total. Westfield’s highest scorer was Rinaldi with 8 points.
“I thought we played great defensively today. Unfortunately, our shots weren’t falling on the offensive side, but New Providence is a very talented team and to hold them to 34 points I think is huge,” Westfield head coach Liz McKeon said. “I think the girls worked their butts off. They fought for every ball and I think we caused more turnover for New Providence than they caused for us. I mean, I’m very proud of all of them. Danielle Rinaldi played her butt off on defense and I think we just did a great job collectively. We’re used to winning so a game like this hurts, but it’s nothing we can’t bounce back from. I would love to go and play against them a third time and have it go our way, because I really believe we can do that.”
Westfield celebrated senior day before the game, honoring players Nicolina Albano, Shannon Devitt, Jenna Iorio, Casey Popowski and Danielle Rinaldi and team manager Madelyn Jacobs. The girls posed for pictures with their parents at their sides and received posters from their teammates and flowers.
Next up, Westfield (11-2) will play Governor Livingston away at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and New Providence (14-3) will play Rahway on Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.
Sarah Slavin is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.