NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence was able to avenge last season’s disappointing Union County semifinal loss to Cranford with a convincing 73-37 victory over the visiting Cougars.
Coming off their second loss of the season, both of which were against top 20 teams in the state, New Providence proved that they would have no trouble bouncing back as they never looked back after a huge first quarter surge that saw senior guard Katie Kinum put in 12 points, part of her game-high 26 points for the Lady Pioneers.
Even though Kinum dominated the scoring, it was a team effort on the defensive end as relentless full court pressure from the Lady Pioneers forced turnover after turnover for Cranford, leading to easy buckets on the other end for the home side.
“We knew coming in that we wanted to pressure them,” New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera said. “We knew we could force them into making bad decisions if our press and defense was working really well.”
New Providence showed no mercy as they expanded their 26-9 advantage after the first quarter to a 39-16 lead at the half, giving them their biggest lead after the half all year.
Kinum got more than enough help on the offensive end over the span of the game, as second leading scorer Sarah Zeto contributed a season-high 20 points in the winning effort, and senior forward Hannah Caminiti added 9 for the Lady Pioneers.
In the fourth quarter, with New Providence nursing a comfortable 65-24 lead, the reserves were able to see a full quarter’s worth of action, which Pazdera sees as very beneficial in the long-run for his program.
“It’s great to see those girls get the experience,” Pazdera said. “They are the future of our team, so with five seniors leaving the younger girls are going to need the experience now to make sure they are ready when it really counts for us.”
Iris Kaloshi, Cassie Barth, Kaitlyn Cumiskey, and Alexa Boyle are all players who will return next season who contributed on the offensive end in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Pioneers improve to 5-2 on the season with the win, and they will take on fellow county foe Union on Thursday in New Providence with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. at New Providence High School.