SUMMIT, NJ - Freshman Christina Richson hit five three-pointers, the last coming with just more than 40 seconds remaining in the game, and Cassidy O'Malley added 17 points as the Summit High School Girls Varsity Basketball team stormed back from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat Governor Livingston (GL) , 47-45.
Perhaps it was the fact that classes let out mid-day. Perhaps it was the due to the onset of the holiday break, or maybe it was the 4 p.m. start-ime but, whatever the reason, the Hilltoppers came out flat and discombobulated, and subsequently fell behind 9-0. It was a deficit they they would fight all game to overcome.
After the rough start, filled with turnovers and missed shots, Summit regained their equilibrium to trail just 11-7 at the end of a ragged first quarter. The second quarter was played to a virtual stalemate, with the half ending with the Highlanders ahead 21-16. The gap was just five points, thanks -- in large part -- to Richson's two three's and eight points.
Both teams lifted their games after the break, as evidenced by the fact that the third quarter saw more points scored -- 38 -- than in the first two quarters combined. Summit trailed by as many as 11 points, but fought back, getting the ball into O'Malley's hands more often, and rode a Rchson three and a three=point play from O'Malley at the end of the third to pull within a point. The Hilltoppers won the quarter 21-17, but still trailed in the game, 38-37, heading into the fourth quarter.
Summit surrendered the first four points of the fourth quarter but, again, got a grip and allowed only three more points the rest of the way. Still down one with just over 40 seconds to play, Richson drained her fifth three of the game to put Summit up 47-45. It was the Hilltoppers first lead of the game and, despite a couple of GL possessions in the last 30 seconds, it was a lead that stood until the final buzzer.
"We said at halftime that we can't play worse than that and we're only down five points." said Summit Head Coach Tom Kenny. "We kept plugging away, went back to our bread-and-butter, which is a half-court man defense. That allowed us to get more pressure on them, and rebound the ball better."
On Freshman Richson, whose 17 points earned her a share of game-high scoring honors along with O'Malley, Kenny said, "Christina is starting to come on ever since our last pre-season scrimmage. She made a big-time shot in a big-time game."
Next up for Summit is a two holiday tournaments, followed by a home game January 3 v. St. Pat's at Noon.
Girls JV Wins, Freshman Fall
The JV defeated Governor Livingston 42-38, while the Freshman Team were defeated 44-20.
Boys Varsity, JV Defeat Cranford
The Boys Varsity, behind 25 points from Will Schaffer and a double-double from Michael Kaelin that included 16 points and 16 rebounds, defeated Cranford 77-64.
The JV also beat Cranford 44-39 in OT, shutting out the Cougars in the extra period.