SUMMIT, NJ - Hilltopper Girls Varsity Basketball Head Coach Tom Kenny's team is having a rough go offensively. He knows it. The numbers show it and, against a player Kenny calls "the best player in Union County" -- New Providence's Katie Kinum -- the impact of Summit's struggles when they have the ball was magniified.
Again showing the troubling tendency of switching off for prolonged offensive stretches, the Hilltoppers were no match for Kinum and her Pioneer teammates on 'Hoops For Hope' day at the Main Gym, falling behind by double digits at the half and eventually suffering a 54-31 defeat. The loss sees the Hilltoppers record slip to 3-8 on the season.
Junior captain Christina Richson led Summit with 20 hard-earned points, but no other Hilltopper scored more than five. Kinum had a game-high 24 for the visitors. Also contributing for the Pioneers were Sara Zeto and Hannah Caminitti chipping in 8 points apiece, and Brielle Carleen with six points.
Leading 9-4 in the first quarter, Summit saw New Providence reel off an 18-0 run over the latter stages of the opening eight minutes and continuing midway through the second stanza. In fact, the Hilltoppers basically went an entire quarter of basketball without a point until junior Richson scored with 4:16 left before halftime.
Trailing 31-19 after dropping the second quarter points battle 20-10, the Hilltoppers never really threatened the Pioneers in the second half. When Richson proved that the bank was open past noon on Saturday by using the glass to ricochet-in a three-ball, Summit got the lead to 11 at 42-31 in the final quarter.
Thereafter, however, The Maroon & White allowed a 10-0 run, much to the dismay of the significant number of home fans which came to support the 'Hoops For Hope' event, which saw every Summit basketball team in action and benefited the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation and the Adrienne Reid Memorial Scholarship.
Afterwards, Kenny was quick to note that his team's effort and intensity was there for all to see, but so were "the lapses and stretches that have plagued us and cost us several wins." To his credit, Kenny did not make excuses for the absence -- due to injury -- of junior forward Catherine Maloney, although any objective source would say that Maloney's presence is missed big time.
Without a face-value solution at hand, Kenny says he and his team will "have to keep working at it and keep trying to improve."
Next, New Providence will travel to Staten Island on Tuesday, Jan. 17 to play St. Joseph's Hill with a 7 p.m. tip off.