NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- With less height than a lot of the teams they compete against, the New Providence girls basketball team is more reliant than most on defensive quickness and passing.

Junior guard Amy Maurer has been a perfect fit in that system, helping the Pioneers to a 20-2 record as the Union County Tournament begins this week.

Maurer is averaging 8.5 points a game for a balanced team, but her offensive production has spiked lately. In three games last week, Maurer averaged 16.7 points a game, including 19 against Westfield in a 48-45 regular-season loss to the team rated the best--by the Union County Tournament seeding committee--in the county.

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"Amy is a great leader both on the floor and off," New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera said.  "She is constantly communicating with her teammates both on the floor as well as from the bench--she is her teammates' biggest cheerleader."

Maurer is the Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week.

"Amy is an extremely valuable piece of our defensive press," Pazdera said, "and she is also contributing a lot in our offense with her outside shooting and ability to get the ball to the basket."

Maurer's presence in New Providence's pressure defense has included eight steals in one game against Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and five steals in another game.

She took time to answer some questions for TAPinto New Providence.

Q: Have you seen your game change since last season?  
A: My game has changed from last season because I am more confident in my shot and knowing the plays. I think a lot of that comes from experience.

Q: What has been the best advice you have received from a coach?
A: The best advice I have received from a coach is to never give up and play hard until the end.

Q: What has been your most memorable game to date?
A: Definitely the Oak Knoll game this season. We came back from a 16-point deficit. We were shut out in the first quarter, which has never happened to me in any game I’ve played. I think it showed who we are as a team to be able to overcome the adversity and pull out a win.

Q: What do you like most about New Providence High School?
A: My favorite part about New Providence High School is the community. My teachers, friends and coaches make New Providence amazing to me.

Q: Do you have a favorite subject?
A: My favorite subjects are probably history and criminology.

Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: My favorite athlete is Megan Rapinoe. Her willingness to stand up for herself and other people and to fight for what she believes in inspires me to be the best I can be.

Q: Do you have a role model?
A: I think my role models are basically anyone who does something positively significant. Anyone who inspires others to be better and strives to make the world a better place.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not playing a sport?
A: When I am not playing a sport I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family.

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The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham.  Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market.  Joe can be reached at jeberle@weichert.com or call 908-868-4800