SUMMIT, NJ - The Hilltopper Girls Varsity Basketball Team successfully waded into perhaps their toughest week of the season -- a trio of games against tough opponents sandwiched around exams -- by jumping out to a big early lead, and cruising to a 42-33 victory over Union Catholic at the Main Gym.
The final nine-point margin flattered the Vikings, who were down big from the second quarter until a late surge made the score line closer than the contest. Cassidy O'Malley led Summit with 16 points, and freshman Christina Richson added 12.
The Hilltoppers began on the front foot and took a first quarter lead they would never relinquish. Richson hit two threes, and O'Malley was a force inside, as Summit led 13-8 after the opening eight minutes.
The Vikings were having a difficult time with Summit's full- and half-court press, which generated turnovers and solid scoring opportunities in transition. When Union Catholic did set up their offense, their shots were off, and soon a 6-0 run made it 19-8.
The suffocating defense continued to yield results, and two threes from Jenny Martino helped put the Hilltoppers up 25-13 at the half.
Summit was up 20 at 35-15 with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter, with O'Malley dong the damage on the offensive end. The lead hovered at 15 points until the latter stages of the fourth, when the outcome had essentially already been decided.
"Our motto today was 'rebound and run,' " said Summit Head Coach Tom Kenny. "We wanted to use our speed, which we felt going into the game would be an advantage for us."
Knowing they were headed into a challenging week on and off the court, Kenny and his staff gave the girls the weekend off which, combined with the school holiday on January 19, meant, "We were a little rusty on the offensive end, " said Kenny.
Of the games to come this week, Kenny said, "We are going to be playing excellent teams that are playing at a very high level. We are going to have to raise our game big time."
Next Game: January 22 @ Cranford - 4 p.m.
Next Home Game: January 24 v. Governor Livingston - 1 p.m.
JV Wins, Freshman Lose to Hillsborough
The Summit Girls JV defeated Union Catholic 48-34 behind 18 points from forward Grace Keegan, while the Freshman lost to Hillsborough.