SUMMIT, NJ - Three weeks to the day after getting blown out of the gym by 17 points at Roselle, a near-full strength Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball squad was determined to put things right in their rematch against the Rams.
The game's first quarter spoke volumes about The Maroon & White's resolve, as they played with rhythm and confidence, shot lights out -- hitting five three balls -- and put up 21 points to claim a nine-point lead.
From there, they had to withstand a furious third-quarter Roselle storm, but the Hilltoppers did enough to hold off their opponents and eventually eased away, winning 66-49 at the Main Gym.
Senior captain Chip Roriston scored 22 points to lead all scorers, sophomore Malcolm Sidebottom drained four 'treys' and had 12, while senior captain Will Schaffer added 10 points to pace Summit. Roriston is now averaging 22.6 points per game over the past three contests.
Stephan Celestin led Roselle with 16 points.
Sophomore Finbar McCormick, missing due to injury from the line-up in the January 17 loss at Roselle, hit one of the Hilltoppers' five threes in a dynamic opening eight-minute performance which also saw Sidebottom (2), Roriston, and senior captain Jack Washburn connect from beyond the arc.
Up 21-12, Summit grew their lead by taking the second quarter by eight points, with Sidebottom finding more joy from Three Point Land in the frame's final two seconds off a perfectly executed play engineered during a timeout called by Head Coach Dan Healy.
Despite being ahead 36-19, the Hilltoppers knew Roselle hadn't shown their best, and that metric came in a torrent during a 12-2 Rams' run to open the second half. The blitz trimmed Summit's lead to 38-31, a margin that stayed intact through the end of the stanza.
After allowing 21 points against in the third and leading by just seven points at 47-40. Summit returned to the form that saw them dominate the first quarter. Roriston led the way, scoring 12 points -- eight from the free throw line -- in the final eight minutes including two big, emotional three-point plays, and the Hilltoppers pulled away.
On the 34-point -- a 17-point loss versus a 17-point win -- reversal in the game's scoreline compared to the January loss, Healy said, "We were fired up. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we are not that team (that lost big January 17). Having Finbar back was a big plus, and we started fast and have come a long way offensively since the first game against them and since the start of the season."
Summit, now 10-10 on the season, has been given the number 13 seed in the Union County Tournament, and will open play at Elizabeth on February 11. Game time is still TBD.
Prior to that, the Hilltoppers will travel to Rahway February 9. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at the Dunn Center.