SUMMIT, NJ - Entering a contest against a team with copious amounts of basketball talent, athleticism and depth -- not to mention a 14-1 season record -- one would certainly like to have all hands on the hardwood deck ready to rock 'n roll.
So, when the Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team took the floor at Scotch Plains-Fanwood without two senior captains, it meant that 30-plus points per game and an equal measure of veteran savvy were missing, and it definitely meant that their task would be daunting.
The Hilltoppers that were in uniform put up a furious fight but, as light flurries fell outdoors, not enough shots fell indoors for The Maroon & White who, themselves, ended up falling to the Raiders, 55-31.
Sophomore Finbar McCormick led Summit with 11 points, but no other teammate could notch more than five. Scotch Plains-Fanwood's Tommy Drubulis had 21 to lead all scorers
It was another learning experience for Head Coach Dan Healy's young Hilltoppers, who were really young on this afternoon due to the fact that Will Schaffer and Chip Roriston were missing due to injury.
Summit's defense -- gritty all game -- kept them in the affair through the first two quarters, but they still trailed 11-7 after the opening eight minutes and 26-17 at the half.
The game drifted away from the Hilltoppers when their inability to get a bucket for the majority of the third quarter led to a 10-0 Raiders run and a 19-point deficit at 36-17. Jackson Tyler finally scored with 2:53 left in the stanza and, even though Summit scored six more points before the quarter's end, they went to the fourth trailing 41-25.
An 11-3 start to the final frame cemented the final outcome, and the Hilltoppers saw their record dip to 8-8 on the season.
"Points were hard to come by today, but I thought we did as well as could be expected defensively," said Healy. "It was another great learning experience for our kids, and I could not be more proud of how hard they played today."
Summit next travels to face Hillside January 31, Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.