SUMMIT, NJ - If a team is having challenges with its offense, playing some good old-fashioned pugnacious defense is a pretty good antidote. While every coach and team aspires to owning an offense that is so electrifying that it warrants a heavy-duty surge protector be connected to their House's scoreboard, the hardwood truth is that solid 'D' is the best way to rack up some serious 'Ws'.
So, despite a disjointed night with the rock by the Summit High School Girls Varsity Basketball Team at the Main Gym versus AL Johnson, the Maroon and White was able to corral a victory by making life miserable for the visitors when they had the ball, a trade-off that yielded a 38-30 Hilltopper win on 'Senior Night'.
Six team members of the Class of 2018 were -- along with their families -- honored pre-game, with team captains Christina Richson, Grace Keegan and Catherine Maloney joined at center court by classmates Mary Nelson, Tatyana Lewis and Victoria Harvey.
Once the ball went up in the air, both teams played a bit of helter-skelter first frame, with Summit coming out on the short end of an 8-5 scoreline. The bulk of the Hilltopper points were via a three-ball from freshman Annabella Yorio after a five-minutes-long drought through the middle of the quarter.
Summit got going in the second, and rolled the Crusaders to the tune of 13-5 and took a 18-13 lead to the locker room at the break.
Johnson managed but seven points in the third and -- while it was a grind -- the home team managed to get to double digits in the stanza and took a 28-20 advantage to the final eight minutes.
Summit went back to its first quarter offensive funk and mustered but one free throw over the first four minutes of the fourth, which made for some Maximum Strength TUMS-iinducing moments for Hilltopper Nation faithful. Johnson closed to 29-25, but Richson got a key bucket to take the lead back up to six, and the Hilltoppers were able to close things out from there.
Maloney led Summit with 12 points and Richson added nine and six rebounds. Sophomore Sylvie Goudreau grabbed seven boards.. Bailey Rosenmeier was top scorer for the Crusaders with nine.
Summit, now 11-7 on the season, has been given the ninth seed in the Union County Tournament and will open tourney play February 13 at number-eight seed Jonathan Dayton. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.