CEDAR GROVE, NJ — A season that looked like it may not even happen turned out to be one for the history books for the Cedar Grove girls basketball team.
In their final game of the abridged 2021 season, the Panthers defeated Nutley, 40-24, Saturday morning to clinch an undefeated season.
Senior forward Ryan Cannataro put the wraps on a distinguished career with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists for Cedar Grove (14-0), which turned in another stellar defensive effort and held Nutley to two field goals in the second half.
Nutley (2-10) had scored eight straight points late in the second quarter to close to within four point of Cedar Grove before senior forward Nina Gannon hit a 3-pointer with four seconds to go in the half to extend the Panthers' lead to 24-17. It was only Gannon's second 3-point basket of the season, but its importance in helping Cedar Grove regain some momentum going into the half could not be overstated.
In the second half, Cedar Grove head coach Bill Scanlon switched from a zone to a man-to-man defense and the Panthers held Nutley without a basket in the third quarter. After a foul shot moved Nutley to within six at 24-18, Mia Nardiello hit a baseline jumper, Lexi Scivetti sank two free throws and Molly Bauer scored on a drive as Cedar Grove, exercising its usual patience on offense, outscored Nutley, 6-1, in the third quarter to take a 30-18 lead into the final period of the season.
Nutley got as close as nine in the fourth quarter, but Cedar Grove scored the game's last seven points, four of them by Jessica Green, to put the wraps on its perfect winter.
Bauer finished with seven points and four assists, and Green and Scivetti both had six points. Scivetti also took down 10 rebounds and handed out three assists.
Seniors who played their last games Saturday were Bauer, Cannataro, Gannon and Green. Juniors Scivetti and Nardiello are starters who will return to the lineup next season.