Governor Livingston Holds Off Mendham, 46-37, to Advance to State Sectional Final
Sunday, March 3, 2013 • 3:29am
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston girls basketball team defeated Mendham, 46-37, to advance to the state sectional finals.
The Lady Highlanders extended their lead to as much as 35-21 early in the fourth quarter before Mendham staged a furious comeback. Thanks to a high pressure full-court press and Liz Malman’s 3-point shooting, the Minutemen were able to cut the deficit to five with a little over two minutes to go in the game. Malman, who was held to two points in the first three quarters, led the comeback with seven points during the period.
However, the comeback was soon halted as the Highlanders figured out the Mendham press and were able to break through for seven quick points. GL’s Patrice DiTommasso delivered the dagger to the Minutemen, as she converted a three-point play to put the Lady Highlanders up 40-32 with a little under a minute and a half left in the game. Erin Ferguson added two fastbreak layups to seal the deal for the Highlanders.
DiTomasso led the Highlanders with 11 points.
“She was big for us,” Governor Livingston head coach Andy Silvagni said. “She is a dynamic kid who can shoot the ball and get to the rim because of her size. She made some big shots for us when the other girls were in foul trouble.”
Mendham was not rattled by the hostility of the large crowd at Governor Livingston High School and jumped out to an 11-5 lead with a little over two minutes left in the first quarter. Malman led the charge, scoring five early points for the Minutemen.
Mendham head coach Mark Gnapp attributed the early lead to his team’s press and early shooting success saying, “We were aggressive offensively and hit some shots and got their big [Ferguson] in foul trouble. “
However, thanks to a 3-pointer by Marielle Jankowski and a lay-up by Sara Dilly, the Highlanders were able to tie the score at 11 after the first quarter.
The second quarter continued to be close, due to a combination of turnovers and full-court pressure from both teams. Governor Livingston adjusted to a matchup zone to start the quarter which proved pivotal to Mendham’s struggles for the rest of the half.
“We had trouble penetrating and being able to kick to our shooter like we like to,” said Gnapp.
Governor Livingston’s Haley Berliner led the Highlanders with five of the team’s 10 points in the quarter to give them a 20-17 lead heading into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be the difference as Governor Livingston pulled away from the Minutemen, outscoring Mendham 10-2. Part of the reason for the success was their matchup zone and Mendham’s lack of execution.
“We knew we had to defend the three-point line since we know they have some good guards. We ended up doing a good job of that tonight,” Silvagni said.
The Highlanders will now face Cranford High School after Cranford defeated Chatham in Saturday’s other semifinal.