Down Big Early, Summit High Boys Basketball Storms Back to Beat Warren Hills 65-57, Advances in NJSIAA Tourney

Summit's Malcolm Sidebottom elevates to score in Summit's 65--57 NJSIAA Tournament victory over Warren Hills. Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit

SUMMIT, NJ - It is way too early to call them 'The Comeback Kids', but this was a comeback that, someday, many might just tell their kids about.

Pitted against a Warren Hills team that essentially got off their bus making three-balls and shooting lights out, the Hilltoppers found themselves down by a whopping 18 points after one quarter, an opening eight minutes that saw their opponent miss just two shots from the field and drain seven shots from beyond the arc, all while racking up a remarkable 28 points.

In between the first and second quarters, Summit Head Coach Dan Healy got out the smelling salts, helping his young team -- which had taken a standing eight count over the opening eight minutes -- regain its footing. The metaphorical compound offered by Healy was a measured tonal delivery of a basic message: "do a better job of what we are doing."

Sign Up for E-News

Put that message through the 'coachspeak' translator and one gets 'start playing better defense, go over Warren Hills' ball screens and not under them, your opponent will start to cool off and we can make a run.'

And, as soon as one could say 'third quarter', Healy's message had become reality, Summit had erased the deficit and pushed ahead. All that was left was to close the deal, and the Hilltoppers did just that, earning a 65-57 victory over the Blue Streaks at the Main Gym and moving on to round two of the NJSIAA North 2, Group 3 state tournament.

Sophomore Malcolm Sidebottom scored 21 points and senior captain Will Schaffer had 18 to lead Summit who, after the opening frame, outscored their opponents 55-29. Warren Hills' James Jordan led all scorers with 22, while Isaac Aziz added 14, with all of his points coming in the first half.

The Hilltoppers were shot right off the court in the first quarter, their lack of applying adequate defensive pressure on the Blue Streaks' shooters leading to a much too comfortable environment for the visitors. Still, full credit to Warren Hills for knocking down virtually everything, including a 30-foot heave at the buzzer that rattled around the rim, dinged off the glass and, tauntingly, feel through the twine. Summit was left shell-shocked and searching for a toe-hold.

The Hilltoppers did way better than that in the second quarter, actually climbing up and finding a ledge by winning the quarter 19-5 and trimming the mountainous 18-point deficit to a molehill-like four points by halftime.

After chipping away and whittling the lead to 11, sophomore guard Finbar McCormick drained a three and it was 33-25. Schaffer then drove to the basket and finished with a Houdini-like move to make it 33-27 with 1:10 left. Sidebottom dribbled right, pulled up and hit a 12-footer with 10 seconds remaining in the half and the deficit was just four, at 33-29, as the teams went to their locker rooms.

The third quarter was a near mirror image of the second, as the Hilltoppers finally pulled even at 41-41 when freshman Joe Lusardi knocked down two free throws. Sophomore Dom Yorio -- whose rebounding and hustle exemplified Summit's 'this one is ours' mentality over the game's final 24 minutes -- put The Maroon & White ahead for good when he scored inside on the next possession. After being down 20 points in the second quarter, Summit had come all the way back to lead 43-41.

The game stayed tight throughout a fourth quarter that began with the Hilltoppers leading 45-42. Sidebottom looked to have put Summit in the clear when he, in order, hit back-to-back three's and then threw a no-look, honey-of-a-pass to Schaffer for a layup, all of which added up to a 53-45 lead for the home side. The crowd was going 'bananas', the Hilltopper bench was on its feet, and all seemed well in the 07901.

But a series of turnovers and failed possessions allowed Warren Hills to climb back into it, with the Blue Streaks closing to a bucket, at 59-57, with two minutes left. Summit dug deep, however, with McCormick driving to the rim and finishing and then stealing the ball at the other end. Warren Hills would score no more, and Head Coach Dan Healy and his team had earned a memorable win.

Admitting more than 15 minutes after the final horn that he was still "stunned" by what his boys just did, Healy called the comeback effort "incredible, which is what I just told our team -- that they were incredible tonight."

Eighth-seeded Summit advances to the second round of the tournament, which will see them travel to Rahway to take on number-one seeded Indians March 2. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Thu, March 22, 12:00 PM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

FREE Tax Assistance

Community Calendar


Thu, March 22, 4:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Gr. K-5: Programs with Mrs. Wheeless

Arts & Entertainment Education

Summit Fire Department Blotter

01/01/2018 9:26 am     FD dispatched to a motor vehicle accident, car vs. pole in front of 196 GLENSIDE AVENUE.  On arrival occupant was out of the vehicle.  Summit EMS assumed patient contact. FD made notification to the power company to make repairs.  Summit PD remained on scene for traffic control and road closure until repairs were made.

01/02/2018 7:36 pm ...

Summit Police Blotter

March 12, 2018

3/3 - Daniel T. Lipkin, 20, of Millington was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and possession of an alcoholic beverage under legal age. Mr. Lipkin was processed and released with a pending court date.

3/3 - Taurino Alday-Benitez, 28, of Summit was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Mr. Alday-Benitez was processed and released with ...

Experience New Jersey Art with the Summit Area YMCA

March 21, 2018

This Spring, discover the wonders of Grounds For Sculpture with a self-guided tour in the morning, view the beautiful spring landscapes, life-size whimsical art installations and indoor galleries. A three-course gourmet sit down lunch will be served at the renowned Rat's restaurant in a chateau-like setting surrounded by the sculpture garden. After lunch, see the ...

Susan G. Komen's Annual Pink Tie Event Raises Funds, Awareness

Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. And every 13 minutes, a woman will lose her battle with the disease. These are mothers, sisters, wives, and friends. 

Susan G. Komen was one of them. After the Texas native passed away from breast cancer, her sister founded the Susan G. Komen Foundation and it blossomed into a national force for ...

Financially Savvy Charitable Giving: Donor-Advised Funds

Americans are known to be philanthropic, with an estimated 83% donating to charitable causes. Making the donation convenient and tax-effective is a win-win for both charities and those with a generous heart. Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are a simplistic funding structure available to those with both small and large charitable giving pots.  

Mechanics of Donor Funds

DAFs can be set up ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Coffee, Tea or Fleas?

Two ducks are on a flight to Miami.  The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?”  The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”


Pa rum pum.


There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes.  Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring ...

Learn a Language @ Your Library

Anyone can learn a language at the Summit Free Public Library!

Did you know that the Summit Library has a subscription to Muzzy Club? Funded by a grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Muzzy Club is an online resource that allows Summit Library cardholders of all ages to learn a new language. Languages in Muzzy Club include British and American English, Spanish, ...