PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Home for just the third time all season long, the Piscataway High School girls basketball team defeated Old Bridge, 65-52, on Thursday afternoon.
The Chiefs are now 11-5 on the season and 8-1 within the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division with the win while the Knights dropped to 10-6, 5-5.
“We only have six home games this season. I don’t know who put the schedule together, but it felt good,” junior guard Tori Fisher said.
Old Bridge took an early 11-5 in the first quarter before Piscataway ended the frame on a 13-2 run. Throughout the first three quarters, Piscataway’s defense stepped up to the occasion and the Knights couldn’t make a basket.
Piscataway led 33-21 at halftime and by as many as 24 points at 59-35 and 61-37 in the third.
“We just needed to calm down,” Fisher said. “Everyone sometimes is focused on what they are doing wrong. I was just like ‘Let’s go play’. We play better when we’re not thinking too much.”
Fisher drained two 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds. She had 11 points at the half. Rah-Khia Mack added 15 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals, and three blocks. Kaelonn Wilson was a force in the paint, notching a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds with five blocks. Mia Rose added nine points as well.
“I don’t go into the game thinking I need to score. I just play and feed my teammates the ball,” Fisher said,
Back on Jan. 7, Piscataway edged Old Bridge on the road by three points in a low scoring game, 32-29. This time around, Piscataway had more points at the half than it did that entire contest. The Chiefs have been as consistent as they come as they own a six-game winning streak.
“We have a high ceiling. If we play together, we’re very hard to stop,” Piscataway coach Chris Puder said. “We have so many girls who can dribble, handle, and can shoot. We had to revamp our offense after last year when we’re dominant with bigs. Now we’re guard dominant.
“Last time it was a slow, slow paced game. I told them this time we have to share the ball, attack the basket, and we’ll be fine. That’s what we did. They’re a good team. They are 10-6 now.”
In the third quarter, Mack had a block and on the other end, Rose made a 3-pointer and was fouled. She converted the free throw for a four-point play. It was a key moment as Old Bridge had cut down its deficit to 35-28, but that made it 43-28 Piscataway with 5:01 remaining in the quarter.
“That was huge. She’s awesome,” Puder said of Mack and her defense that started the play. “We played Brianna Sliwinski (of East Brunswick) who is D1, Rachel (Kuhl of Old Bridge) is D1. Mack’s our go-to. She’s so long and she gets it. One time today she got caught up but then Rachel never drove by her again. She’s a great defender.”
In the fourth, the unthinkable happened as Malvina Sullivan for the Knights also recorded a four-point play. Sullivan ended up with just those four points while Gabby Walker netted 14, Kuhl scored 13, and Payton Alcorn recorded 12.
“I said to the team you had to give it to them too? We haven’t had a four-point play since maybe Raven (Gerald) played,” Puder said. “It’s been a while.”
As it stands, the Chiefs remain one game back from first place in the GMC Red behind Monroe. Piscataway let its previous matchup with the Falcons slip away a few weeks ago, but the Chiefs will be ready in due time next week.
“We’re one game back behind Monroe and we play them again next Thursday night at home.,” Puder said.
And what is it going to take to potentially take over the top of the standings and/or keep the winning going?
“Energy and hard work,” Fisher said. “We have to make sure we rest our legs.”
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
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