January 17, 2014 at 1:06 AM
WESTFIELD, NJ – For the second time this season, the Westfield girls’ basketball team defeated New Providence, 43-34, on Thursday at Westfield High School.
The Pioneers could not answer the 19-point performance from Jackie Knapp, who led the Blue Devils to their 11th victory of the season.
“My girls, they go out and play hard every game,” Westfield head coach Joseph Marino said. “They do exactly what I expect from them. To me, its no surprise. We know what we can do, once we get everything going, they execute.”
New Providence was held to just five points in the first quarter, while Westfield jumped out to a 14-5 lead after eight minutes of play.
In the second, the Blue Devils extended the lead to double digits. But thanks to a 3-pointer from Sara Zeto before the halftime buzzer, the Pioneers were able to pull within seven points at the break.
“We looked like we didn’t want to play,” New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera said. “We came out flat. It took a time out and a ripping into to get a little bit of energy going. If you can’t get up for this game, I don’t know. We weren’t ready to play.”
The Pioneers rallied behind three 3-pointers in the third quarter to pull within two points, however Westfield managed to escape ahead 32-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
The final eight minutes were controlled entirely by Westfield. The Pioneers managed to get the game within one possession with 1:46 to play, but the Blue Devils hit their final four free-throws to seal the victory.
“We played great defense,” Marino said. “Our girls played great defense. We got athletes out there and they know what they have to do.”
Absent from most of the game was New Providence forward Sydney Morang. The star sophomore was averaging over 20 points per game going into Thursday’s contest, was held to just two points. It was just the second time in Morang’s career that she was held to single digits.
“She’s got to find different ways to score,” Pazdera said.
The 6-4 Pioneers are back in action on Friday when they host Elizabeth, while the Blue Devils look to continue their undefeated season against Hillside.