SUMMIT, NJ - The New Providence girls basketball team appeared to be in good shape on Friday night.
The Lady Pioneers had taken control against the Oak Knoll Royals late in the second quarter until the beginning of the fourth quarter and had built a 10-point lead in a defensive battle.
But that double-digit lead disappeared in the next four minutes. New Providence would only score four points in the fourth quarter and dropped a 36-31 decision at Oak Knoll in Summit.
The loss continued the slide for New Providence who dropped to 8-6 on the season. After a win over Elizabeth on Tuesday, the Lady Pioneers are on a two-game slide (including a loss to Cranford on Thursday) and have another tough game on Tuesday, this time Governor Livingston.
"The whole season we have three to four possessions and we look good offensively and then we’re a completely different team in another three to four possessions," said New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera. “We were up 10 in the fourth quarter and then the next thing you know we are making bad passes and bad shots.”
Against the Royals, Emma Culleton led the Lady Pioneers in scoring with 12 points, but no other New Providence player scored in double figures. Both Cassandra Squeri and Kaycee de Voogd added five points each for the Lady Pioneers.
While Oak Knoll was led by Kerri Moran with 14 points, Pazdera liked how his team defended her including Sara Lowenstein. "We tried to hold Moran from making those 10 to 15-feet jump shots," said Pazdera. "I thought that we did a pretty good job at that."
Pazdera was impressed by the play of backup Lauren Cronin who scored three points including a basket right before the third quarter buzzer went out to end the period. "Lauren did a nice job coming off the bench and hit the big basket to end the third quarter," said Pazdera.
Cassandra Squier completed a three-point play at the start of the fourth quarter for a New Providence 30-20 lead for the 10-point lead.
But the Lady Pioneers offense stalled and Oak Knoll's Kelly McAloon took advantage of it by dropping five of her seven points in the next four minutes.
The one-time 10-point Lady Pioneers lead was sliced to two with a little more than three minutes left in the game.
And then Oak Knoll's Gabriela Pallicer dropped what would turn out to be the Royals' lone three-pointer of the game.
The one-time double-digit New Providence lead now was a one-point deficit, 32-31, with two and half minutes left in the game.
The Lady Pioneers could not respond as the New Providence offense was shut down the rest of the way.
In the first half, Oak Knoll took the early lead but New Providence had a strong second quarter that included de Voogd feeding Marta Gosiewski who banked a shot inside for an 18-12 Pioneers lead to end the first half.
New Providence 2011-12 girls basketball schedule
(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Jan. 31: Governor Livingston
Feb. 2: Johnson
Feb. 3: at Union Catholic
Feb. 7: Dayton
Feb. 9: at Hillside
Feb. 10: Roselle Catholic
Feb. 22: at Somerville