SUMMIT, NJ - "Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu."
No, William Shatner did not deliver the halftime talk during the Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team's game versus Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Hilltoppers Head Coach Dan Healy did, and he must have done a formidable job channeling his inner Captain Kirk, as his Summit team came out in the second half playing at a supersonic pace, putting up 56 points in the final two quarters, and burying Scotch Plains-Fanwood under pile of transition baskets on their way to a 82-59 victory at the Main Gym.
Pat Maloney scored 24 points for the Hilltoppers, who improved to 6-6 on the season, virtually all of which came from less than five feet from the bucket. In fact, only one basket in the second half -- a Dan Montgomery three -- came from outside the paint, as Summit played at a frenetic pace that wore down -- and eventually wore out -- the Raiders, producing turnovers that led to easy transition scores.
This was a rapidly developing Summit offensive storm, as there was no sign of it coming in a first half which saw the Hilltoppers play slow, suffer through an ice-cold shooting streak from both the floor and the charity stripe, turn the ball over on offense, and allow Scotch Plains-Fanwood to have a relatively comfortable 16 minutes of play.
Playing sluggishly, Summit fell behind 15-9 and ended up trailing after one quarter, 17-13. The Raiders lead grew to 25-14 halfway through the second frame, before a baskets by Wayne Wong, Will Schaffer, and two free throws from Michael Kaelin, narrowed the gap at 29-26. Summit surrendered the final five points of the half, however, and went to the locker room down 34-26.
Cue the Star Trek theme.
As if launched from Cape Canaveral, Summit rocketed out to a 11-0 run to start the second half. Playing with a dramatically elevated pace and level of intensity, they overwhelmed the Raiders, taking the ball away repeatedly through a swarming defense, and pushing the ball up the floor in transition to earn lay-up after lay--up. The Hilltoppers scored 29 points in the third, eclipsing their entire first half total, while allowing just 11. Summit looked fast, Scotch Plains-Fanwood looked slow and tired, and the Hilltoppers led 55-45.
Not to be outdone, Summit opened the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, eventually dropping another 27 points on their opponent, as part of a second half barrage that featured contributions from no less than 10 Hilltoppers. Afterwards, first-year Head Coach Healy acknowledged the game was, "the most satisfying win so far," and complimented his squad's commitment to the up-tempo style which carried them to victory.
"We talked about it at the half, and the kids -- to their credit -- all bought in," said Healy. "This was important for us. That is a good team we beat, and we won the 'legs battle' today.. We rotated 10 guys, which you need to do if you are going to play that style, and everyone contributed."
Next Game: January 20 @ Hillside - 7 p.m.
Next Home Game: January 22 v. Cranford - 7 p.m.
JV Wins, Freshman Fall
The Hilltoppers Boys JV (6-3 on the season) defeated Scotch Plains-Fanwood 53-49, as Jaden Jackson led the way with 17 points. The Freshman (3-6) were defeated 67-43 by the Raiders.