PLAINFIELD, NJ - New Providence's Cassandra Squeri scored 24 points to lead the Pioneers' to their 19th win of the year, a 51-38 victory over Plainfield on Thursday.
Squeri led New Providence to the win on a night where freshman phenom Sydney Morang scored only 13 points.
"We knew we have to get out there early, to an early lead, and not give them any confidence," New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera said. "Our focus today was to come out with the intensity of a county game…Our goal was to set a message, let them know that we're for real."
The Pioneers led 18-3 after the first quarter, allowing only one basket in the first eight minutes. Offensively, New Providence hit four 3-pointers, two each from Morang and Squeri.
In the second, despite allowing Plainfield to score 16 points, New Providence kept the pace of the game on their side, never giving up extended runs to the Cardinals.
Squeri added added six points in the second period, leading the Pioneers into halftime with a 30-19 lead.
"Cassandra [Squeri] stepped up," Pazdera said.
New Providence owned the third quarter, allowing only three baskets, while Squeri and Morange scored all but two of the Pioneers' 13 points to go ahead 43-27.
After expanding their lead to 49-27 less than three minutes into the fourth, Plainfield embarked on a 11-0 run. Breana Spencer scored six of her team-high 18 points during the stretch.
Despite the hot streak, the Cardinals never came within 10 points in the fourth, losing to the Pioneers 51-38.
"I think we came out really strong," Squeri said. "We played really good defense in the first half. In the end it was definitely a little shaky, but we definitely set the tone for counties."
New Providence now awaits their draw in the first round of the Union County Tournament on Monday. Their potential opponent will play in the preliminary round on Saturday, pending inclement weather.