SUMMIT, NJ - The last time the Summit High School Girls Varsity Basketball Team met AL Johnson, they allowed 27 fourth-quarter points -- nearly 70 in total -- en route to a 19-point loss on their home floor.  The return match in Clark was a different story, as Cassidy O'Malley scored a team-high 19, and freshman Christina Richson added 15, as the Hilltoppers responded with a solid effort and came away with a 56-52 victory.

The two teams kept it close in the first quarter, with Johnson getting out to an early lead.  Summit fought back and managed to take a 13-11 lead as the quarter ended.  The second quarter was more of the same, with Johnson working to overcome a razor-thin deficit.   The Hilltoppers led 23-19 at the half, on the strength of a three-ball from senior Jenny Martino as time expired.

As the second half got underway, Summit went on an 8-0 run, connecting off turnovers and scoring chances to build their lead up to 35-24 midway through the third quarter.  The Hilltoppers pulled away early in the fourth, leading 52-41 at one point.  Johnson battled back to close the gap, but Summit withstood the push and claimed the win.

“We definitely played a heck of a lot better," said Summit Head Coach Tom Kenny.  "They embarrassed us in our place and played great basketball in our place.  So, we came in with a mindset that we had to get our dignity back, we had to play better as a team, and for the most part, I do believe that we did that; especially in the third quarter when we came out."
Kenny added, "I think we ran off the first eight points in the second half, got it [the lead] up to around ten or 12 [points].  We didn’t play well with late-game situations, and we have to take better care of the basketball.  We were like 2-8 from the foul line with about a minute left, so we have to play better that way.  It was a huge win for us; it keeps us in the hunt to share the division with Governor Livingston.”

Next Game: February 7 v. Linden at 3 p.m.
Note: The game is part of a Boys / Girls "Hoops for Hope" Charity-Fundraising Doubleheader