SUMMIT, NJ - There were 10 Hilltoppers on the court at the same time during the Summit High School Girls Basketball Team's game versus St. Mary's at the Main Gym but, in the first quarter, only one set of five was able to score.
And, of that productive quintet, one player in particular was throwing a veritable points party.
In a battle of two teams that share the same competitive moniker -- Hilltoppers -- the girls hoopsters from the 07901 made quick work of their like-named opponents from Elizabeth, as Summit sailed past St. Mary's 69-39 in a Union County Tournament preliminary round contest.
Junior captain Christina Richson scored 15 of her game-high 26 points in the opening eight minutes, a quarter which saw The Maroon & White overwhelm St. Mary's and take a 23-3 lead.
All ten Summit players scored, and Eliza Rustum grabbed 11 of the home team's 46 rebounds. Zaria Butler had a strong game for St. Mary's, finishing with 22 points.
Summit scored the game's first 11 points, nine of which were dropped by Richson. In addition, the girls from Hilltop City unleashed an 85-foot, trapping defense that -- especially when activated off 'makes', or made-baskets -- totally flummoxed their opponents.
After looking like they had essentially settled the outcome after just the first frame, two developments disproved that hypothesis.
First, St. Mary's kept working hard and competing and, second, Summit delivered a less-than-picturesque performance in the second quarter.
The result? Summit dropped the quarter 14-8 and found itself still leading comfortably at the half, 31-17, but the advantage was not nearly as toasty and cozy and it should have been.
Summit had a chat at halftime in which they discussed getting back to the aggressive play they showed in the opening quarter, a period they owned by 20 points.
The Maroon & White put their words to work, outscoring St. Mary's by 22 points while 'winning' the quarter 26-7, cementing the victory, and triggering minutes for all of the reserves. In the first and third quarters combined, Summit outscored St. Mary's 49-10.
Up 57-24, Richson -- who also conributed six rebounds, four assists and four steals -- and most of the starters got the rest of the evening off and 13th-seeded Summit, now 7-15 on the season, could begin to think about their next opponent, -- fourth seeded Roselle Catholic.
The Hilltoppers road date with the Lions is set for February 14. Tip-off time is TBD.