SUMMIT, NJ - in a tough, physical, teeter-totter game Plainfield, behind 29 points from prolific point guard Drew Winter, edged the Summit High School Girls Varsity Basketball team 63-57 at the Summit High School Gym.
Cassidy O'Malley had 17 points for the Hilltoppers, and Madeleine Gramigna added 12, but Summit was never able to fully establish an offensive rhythm, normally predicated on transitional flow and attacking the rim. Instead, they were forced to settle for an above-average amount of perimeter shots, and had to work hard for the points they did score.
Summit had beaten Plainfield 67-49 on January 7, but it was obvious early on that this was going to be a much different game. "Plainfield is a much better team than when we faced them earlier this month. They have two outstanding guards, and now they have developed an improved perimeter game and an inside presence," said Summit Head Coach Brian Erickson. "We didn't get the start we wanted, our focus wasn't what it should have been, didn't rebound real well, and missed our layups, but Plainfield is a very good team and, in a close game, it comes down to execution."
In a back and forth affair, Summit trailed 16-14 after the first quarter, rebounded to take a 32-27 halftime lead, but the Hilltoppers took just a one-point lead, 44-43, into the pivotal fourth quarter. Summit scored only four points in the first six minutes of the third, and seemed to lose any semblance of the firm grasp they had on the game during that time.
In the final quarter, Plainfield seized the lead, led by Winter who could seemingly create her shot at will. The game was then tied at 49, and tied again at 53 with four minutes to go. A Winter three-pointer upped the Cardinals lead to 59-53, but Summit fought back on baskets by Olivia Kelly and O'Malley to make it 59-57, but the Hilltoppers missed consecutive shots in the paint, never scored another point, and Plainfield hit their free throws to seal the win.
Next up for Summit is a home game versus Roselle Catholic January 30 at 7 p.m., followed by another home matchup against Linden February 4, which also tips off at 7 p.m.