SUMMIT, NJ - Due to approaching 'Winter Storm Harper', which caused the game's start time to get signficantly pulled forward as well as the postponement of every other Hilltopper sporting event set for the day, the Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team had to eschew the snooze button in order to make a extremel rare -- as in never happens -- 10 a.m. tip.
Thankfully, for the team and its spectators, the trip to the game was a short one, with the Maroon and White needing just a short walk to reach DeGaeta Hall on the campus of Oratory Prep. Once there, the real hoops-related 'danger' inherent in the latest edition of the Boys Summit Roundball Derby was -- from a Hilltopper perspective -- the odd start time itself. The Maroon and White needed to have their basketball body clock adjusted from the get-go in order to take care of business.
After a drowzy first minute or two that saw the Rams take a 3-0 lead, The 'Top kicked into gear and ripped off a 17-0 run over the next six-plus minutes to take control of the contest, command that they would never come close to relinquishing as they comfortably defeated Oratory Prep, 51-37.
Junior Eric Baier had 19 points and senior captain Dom Yorio had 11 points for Summit, which improved to 9-3 and snapped a two-game losing slide. The Hilltoppers, as they were on January 17, were again without injured guard and senior captain Malcolm Sidebottom, but got quality minutes off the bench from the likes of seniors Nick Loeloff and Harry Walsh, who brought copious amounts of energy during their time on the hardwood.
Peter Byrne led the Rams with 11 and Tyler Maloney had eight.
Summit's defensive pressure and the ability to knock down some open looks created by solid ball movement were the keys to the first-quarter sprint. The Rams were down 17-3, but were able to nibble back four points in the final 60 seconds of the stanza to trim the visitor's lead to ten, at 17-7.
From there, the game didn't move much one way or another, with Summit claiming the second quarter 11-8 to take a 28-15 lead at the break and then seeing the lead hold at 12 points through the super-majority of the third quarter. At that point, the Hilltoppers dropped a 6-0 run to close the frame and take a 39-22 advatage to the fourth quarter.
The final eight mintues was a drive-the-speed-limit exercise for Summit, a test they passed easily.
Next up for Summit is a trip to Westfield January 22. Game time is set for 4 p.m.