SUMMIT, NJ - It wasn't a great start and it was a shaky finish, but the Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team defeated Pingry 61-57 at the Main Gym, concluding the regular season by claiming win number 23 of their campaign.
Senior captain Will Hellings had a 17-point, 10-rebound Double-Double, classmate and fellow captain Eric Baier led all scorers with 19, and senior Jalen Russell added 12 for The 'Top.
Shane Shannen and Ray Fluet each had 15 points and Isiah Simon added 10 to pace Big Blue.
Pingry led 18-12 after one quarter and 24-22 at the half before the Maroon and White gave the visitors the blues by 'winning' the third quarter 19-13 and then controlling almost the entirety of the fourth quarter to take a 13-point lead.
The operative words there, however, are almost the entirety.
Leading 61-48 with 3:30 left in the final frame, Summit appeared to have the game in the immediate vicinity of icebox territory but, instead of putting the contest in the 'fridge, Summit itself hopped into the chiller and went scoreless the rest of the way. Pingry kept charging and put a scare into the hosts but could not any get closer than the final margin on the scoreboard.
Summit, 23-3 on the season and seeded third, now opens NJSIAA State Tournament play against 14th-seeded Cranford on March 2 at the Main Gym, Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.