SUMMIT, NJ - On a night when the Summit High School Girls Varsity Basketball Team honored its seniors, their upper class student athletes returned the favor.
If one would look up the definition of 'feel good' in the dictionary, a photo of this evening would be an apropos definition, as both of their seniors -- Noelia Todorov and captain Anna DiSibio -- in different ways demonstrated the finest qualities of senior leadership and perseverance.
Ironically, 'feel good' was a term that definitely did not apply to DiSibio who was, to put it mildly, under the weather. It is a safe bet that if this was another game on another day, Head Coach Tom Kenny would have sent her home with his best recipe for chicken noodle soup and stout instructions to rest.
But this was "Senior Night," and DiSibio did what a captain does -- lead by example, playing hard all night and grabbing a near team-high seven rebounds.
Todorov, who battled injuries early in the season, is spending her first year on the Varsity, and all she did was -- in the words of Kenny -- "play the game of her life" on "Senior Night."
Scoring the game's first five points -- and looking like she was having a blast doing it -- Todorov went on to put up a career-high 15 points as Summit used a dominating second half performance to overwhelm Plainfield 65-29 at the Main Gym.
In addition to Todorov's breakthrough performance, The Maroon & White got a game-high 18 points from junior captain Christina Richson and 15 points from junior point guard Mya Thompson.
Nine Hilltoppers scored in game which saw Summit win the second half by a staggering score of 42-12. Tahni Jelms-Ishmeal had a very strong night for Plainfield, scoring 17 of the Cardinals 29 points.
There was no sign of a Hilltopper blowout in the making during what was a scattered, ragged, close first half that saw the teams go to their locker rooms at halftime separated by just six points, with Summit leading 23-17.
The Cardinals performance in the last 16 minutes was not unlike their first-half effort, but an entirely different Hilltopper squad exited the team room after the break, and the points came in bunches and buried the visitors quickly.
An 11-2 run to open the third pretty much settled things, but in a Secretariat-like performance, Summit just kept right on running.
Dispossessing their opponents of the ball, the baskets came from everywhere -- transition, drives to the hoop, joy from beyond the arc -- and, by the end of the third quarter, The Maroon & White had put up 20 points and it was 'game over' at 43-24.
The final frame was even more lopsided, with Summit hanging 22 points on board to the Cardinals' 5. It was a laugher, which was -- within the boundaries of respect for their opponent -- thoroughly enjoyed by the home team, a squad that has had its fair share of struggles this season and, frankly, deserved this one.
Post-game, it would have taken a robust human to wipe the smile off Kenny's face, especially as it pertained to Todorov, whose performance was -- in the coach's words -- "the fruits of which are a direct result of her labor."
Summit, now 6-13 on the season, stays home to face The Patrick School February 4 at the Main Gym. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m.