NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Kaitlyn Cresencia scored 21 points and the New Providence Lady Pioneers stopped a fourth quarter surge from their opponents as they defeated Roselle Park 45-32 on Friday night at New Providence High School.
It seemed like the Lady Pioneers had the game well in hand, as they were leading 37-18 going into the fourth quarter. Up to that point, Cresencia and other starters were capitalizing on scoring chances and forcing turnovers from Roselle Park which led to many easy transition baskets.
However, about midway through the fourth quarter ,Gabby Clauer and Jessica Johns had a combined nine points and other scorers contributed for Roselle Park as they cut the New Providence lead to 7, 39-32 with 3:35 left to play in the game. This came against the Lady Pioneers' bench players as Coach Cap Pazdera decided to sit out his starters midway through the third quarter with a seemingly comfortable lead. "They have girls that can shoot. (Clauer) is a good player," Coach Pazdera said. "Our goal was to focus on her and we didn't do that in the fourth quarter."
After a timeout, the Lady Pioneers regained their composure and put Friday night's game away. Cresencia scored six straight points and the team was able to shut down Clauer and Roselle Park, not allowing any baskets from the opposition in the final three-plus minutes of play. "(Coach Pazdera) just told us to go back in and play our game and show what our team is all about. He said we have to play hard until the end because the game is never over until it's over," Cresencia said.
With the win, the Lady Pioneers improved to 18-2. They have three winnable games left in their schedule before they participate in the Union County Tournament at the end of the month.
The Lady Pioneers have not fared well in the annual tournament, as they have not advanced past the first round during Pazdera's coaching tenure. However, the Lady Pioneers' Coach believes that this year his team can make noise in tournament play. "I think we're playing more as a team this year. Everyone understands their role and they do a good job of executing in that role," Coach Pazdera said. "Hopefully we continue to do that. Our goal is to get past the first round and see what happens after that," he continued.
The Lady Pioneers also believe that this year will be different from past seasons in the Union County Tournament. Cresencia says that her team can go a long way if the team continues to play the way they have been in recent games.
The Lady Pioneers remaining schedule is as follows:
2/16/10 7:00 PM vs. Brearley (Kenilworth, NJ)
2/24/10 7:00 PM @Summit (Summit, NJ)
2/26/10 4:00 PM vs. Linden (Linden, NJ)