BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In a basketball game that offered up more twists and turns than the Olympic Sliding Center -- home to the bobsled, luge and skeleton competitions in PyeongChang -- the Summit High School Girls Basketball Team came from behind in regulation to tie Governor Livingston, then performed the same feat in Overtime to defeat the Highlanders, 59-56.
Freshman Annabella Yorio's corner-adjacent trey from the right side -- which featured a tweak of its own as it glanced off the glass and through the twine -- proved the difference. Hilltopper Christina Richson led all scorers with 20 points, while classmate and captain Grace Keegan added 11 points. Fiona Kerr paced GL with 18.
Summit Head Coach Tom Kenny must have felt if he was strapped to a luge sled as he watched his team control the game, subsequently lose its grasp on the contest, then seemingly be on the verge of defeat only to miraculously come back to tie and win the tilt -- all over the final 12 minutes of hoops.
For three quarters, Summit was -- while not performing to expectation -- methodically marching to a routine win. Then, the fourth quarter rolled around and, like a bobsled that takes the wrong line, things went sideways real fast.
Up 36-29 heading to the fourth, the Hilltoppers hung onto a six-point lead midway through the frame but -- at that point -- GL began to chip away.
All of a sudden, the lead was down to four, at 44-40, and then -- with 1:05 remaining -- the game was tied at 44. Reeling, Summit then proceeded to turn the ball over on back-to-back possessions and found itself trailing 47-44 with 42.5 seconds remaining.
The Highlander lead then shot to 49-44 and a Hilltopper defeat, which seemed almost unthinkable less than four minutes earlier, now seemed amazingly likely.
Summit came down court and got a quick Richson three-ball from above the top of the key to narrow the lead to 49-47 and then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and called timeout.
The play diagrammed by Kenny was a 'keeper', as the ball was zipped into the hands of freshman Sarah Maldonado who banked home a five-footer with three seconds left to tie the score and the teams were headed to overtime.
In the extra session, Summit again found itself on the short end of the scoreline, trailing 56-55 with under 10 seconds remaining when Yorio took a pass on the right hand side and was able to wedge home the rainbow. Afer Yorio's dramatic 'make', the home team couldn't get the ball back inbounds in the five seconds allotted and thus turned it right back over to the Maroon and White with 6 seconds remaining.
Summit freshman Kiran McCormick, fouled after the Hilltoppers were able to get the rock inbounds, made one of two free throws to establish the final margin of victory. A last-second heave at the horn by GL was well short.
"We were playing shorthanded today with a couple of girls out of the line-up, so it took a total team effort -- from our seniors through to our freshman -- to get this win against a GL team that has really improved and is playing very well," said Kenny.
Summit, now 12-8 on the season, returns home to face Roselle Catholic February 19 at the Main Gym. The Prime-Time, President's Day game tips off at 7 p.m.