NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence’s Girls Basketball team defeated Roselle Catholic at home 43-40, with a stingy defense, provided by a team effort and key plays. Both teams came into the game with an impressive record; New Providence 7-2, Roselle Catholic 7-1 -- but it was New Providence’s hustle plays that gave them the edge.

Katie Kinum played a full 32 minutes ending with a double-double, 23 points, 11 rebounds, but it was the hard-nosed defense that allowed the Pioneers to overcome an early four point deficit and retain the lead the rest of the game.

With a slow start, the Pioneers seemed to be off synch, unable to hit shots. Roselle Catholic dominated on the boards, an issue New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera hoped his team would curb. Midway through the half, the Pioneers began settling down and Kinum gave her team the spark needed to jumpstart the offense with a big 3-point shot. 

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From that moment, the Pioneers took over with a relentless defense that the team seemed to harness their confidence from. On Roselle Catholic's ensuing possession, Kinum blocked the ball, allowing for a fast break opportunity, when she missed, the Pioneers immediately transitioned into defense, allowing Katie to steal the ball and score two points. This indefatigable type of play occurred throughout the game, never allowing Roselle Catholic to gain full momentum.

At the end of the first quarter, the score 9-8, New Providence, and while Roselle Catholic opened the second quarter scoring quickly, the Pioneers' defense once again tightened up. Sarah Zeto led the way with her rambunctious play, relentlessly putting her body in harm’s way, even drawing an offensive foul, and while she’s small in stature, Zeto was constantly battling down low, earning four rebounds and five steals.

The first half ended with the score 22-17, New Providence. The Pioneers hit the ground running when they started the third quarter, scoring on their first possession and making a defensive stop, leading to a Zeto 3-pointer.

 The third quarter exhibited what the Pioneers would look like when they operate on all cylinders, their offense began gaining traction, scoring 11 points in four minutes, more than what they scored the whole first quarter, while continuing to harass Roselle Catholic ball handlers and causing turnovers.

But late in the third, Roselle Catholic saw a glimmer of hope as their offense gained new life, bringing the score at the end of the third to 36-31, New Providence.

Roselle Catholic began battling back, mounting their own offensive strike and exhibiting the same defensive pressure that the Pioneers had shown the entire game, but Kinum, in big league fashion, extended the Pioneers’ one point lead, when she scored on a floater, while being fouled to extend the lead to four.  

With less than a minute left, the Pioneers were faced with a meager one point lead again, but a crucial turnover caused by Zeto led to a Kinum score.

Kinum, the star of the game, realizes how her teammates contribute to her success. Kinum was the first to score and the last, but when scored on a 3-pointer to give her team the first points on the board, Kinum voiced appreciation to her teammates for giving her confidence. “I knew I was open for the shot, and if I missed, my team would have backed me up,’ said Kinum.

Coach Pazdera was proud of his team’s defense, crediting Brielle Carleen and Hannah Caminiti’s refusal to give up 3-point field goals to just two made. Caminiti was equally as important on offense, contributing 8 points and scoring two 3-pointers of her own.

New Providence’s win improved their standing to second in their division. Next, New Providence will face the 3-7 Lady Hilltoppers in Summit on Saturday, Jan. 14 with a 12 noon tip off.