NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Last year the New Providence girl’s basketball won the Group 1 state championship, and to some, this year was going to be a rebuilding year without two of last year’s starters. That all changed Friday night as the Lady Pioneers won comfortably over Elizabeth 62-33.
Before the game senior captain Kaitlyn Cresencia said that the team's goal was to pick up where they left off last year and continue to improve.
To start the game New Providence showed off their strong defense and held Elizabeth to zero points as their offense countered with twenty. Sophomore Cassandra Squeri, last year’s sixth man, stepped up early, leading the Pioneers with ten points, three steals and two assists. When asked about this season's goals Squeri said that they haven’t set many but if there were any it would be to "spread the court, play ‘d’ as a team" and the ultimate goal is to return to the championship.
Every Lady Pioneer got to play on Friday night including three freshmen Jillian Balog, Gabby Zepnick and Maxine Ibrahim, who combined for double digit points, with each receiving at least 15 minutes of playing time.
Gabby Zepnick, who played center, had a nice play in the fourth quarter to secure the New Providence victory. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, with New Providence up fifteen, forward Lauren Cronin rebounded a ball off the boards. Zepnick, already down the court, called for the ball, made a nice catch and drove hard to the hoop, making the basket and drawing a foul.
The Lady Pioneers played as a team in their season opener. With strong defense and solid offense, a return to the playoff picture this season seems likely.