GL girls’ basketball opens with home victory over Johnson, sparked by Bostwick game-high 14-point performance

Soranno nets 13 and Gerrato nine and 11 boards for Highlanders; A. Palella scores 13 and Visconti 11 for Crusaders

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI -GL senior Lauren Soranno (No. 12), here on defense, poured in 13 points vs. Johnson.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – GL senior Lauren Soranno (No. 12), here on defense, poured in 13 points vs. Johnson.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI -GL head coach Vin Gulbin draws up a play in the 4th quarter.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – GL head coach Vin Gulbin draws up a play in the 4th quarter.

BERKELEY HEIGHTS – While host Governor Livingston was able to establish a double-digit lead early on without being able to consistently pass the ball inside to junior center Lindsay Gerrato, a second straight opening day win over division rival Johnson did not come that easily.

The visiting Crusaders regrouped quickly after falling behind by as many as 11 early in the second quarter and made a game of it before falling 41-34 Friday afternoon in season-opening Union County Conference-Mountain Division girls’ basketball play.

Johnson closed the contest on a 6-0 run.

“I was proud that we didn’t quit,” third-year Johnson head coach Michele Sharp said.

Defending Mountain Division champion GL, which last year produced its first and last wins of a standout 21-6 campaign against Johnson, managed to still build a 13-point lead late despite getting just one field goal each in the second half from senior point guard Lauren Soranno and Gerrato.

While Soranno, who finished with 13 points, and Gerrato, who had nine and 11 rebounds, contributed mightily, it was the complimentary play of senior guard Amanda Bostwick that proved quite critical at times.

Bostwick led all scorers with 14 points, including a big 3-point basket at the first half buzzer that rimmed in and the first five points of the fourth quarter – a two-point field goal and her second 3 – which at the time extended her team’s advantage to 11.

“We’ve told her that she’s a good shooter,” GL second-year head coach Vin Gulbin said. “The shot she made right before the half was huge.”

That basket increased GL’s lead to 22-15 at intermission and followed an 11-4 Johnson run that saw the Crusaders pull to within four at 19-15.

“We jumped out well and then they hit a couple of jumpers,” Gulbin said.

With GL ahead 30-24 heading into the final eight minutes, Bostwick put the Highlanders ahead by more than 10 again with consecutive baskets, which was her final scoring output.

Seniors Amanda Palella, 13, and Stephanie Visconti, 11, paced the Crusaders in scoring, both turning in solid efforts.

“On Amanda’s first basket (of the fourth quarter) she drove the lane and put in a big shot over Visconti,” Gulbin said.

After Johnson senior Molly Panetta scored the game’s opening basket to give Johnson its only lead at 2-0, Soranno connected on the first of her three 3-pointers to give GL the lead for good at 3-2.

A 6-4 GL advantage grew to 15-4 before Johnson scored again, with the Highlanders closing out the first quarter on a 7-0 run that concluded at 9-0 early in the second quarter.

Gerrato scored the first five of her points in the run. Bostwick’s first points – on free throws – closed the surge before Palella scored her first points on two free throws.

Before that, Johnson missed its first six shots from the charity stripe. The Crusaders finished eight-for-18 from the free throw line.

“We affected ourselves,” Sharp said. “We missed many free throws and about 25 layups. The difference was that we didn’t finish at the line and at the basket.”

The closely guarded play of Palella, Visconti and Panetta made it tough for Soranno to feed Gerrato and for GL to fill the hoop that way.

“We knew that we had to worry about 44 (Gerrato) and 12 (Soranno),” Sharp said. “We were aware of where 44 was.”

After being outscored by nine in the first quarter, Johnson won the second and third periods, going on a 7-0 run in the second to get to within 15-11 and closing the third on a 4-0 burst – all points by Palella – to get back to within six.

“Amanda usually does all the dirty work and today she also scored for us,” Sharp said.

A basket by Visconti and two free throws by Palella made the score 35-28, which was the closest Johnson got in the fourth quarter.

Soranno answered with a big 3-point basket from the left side that put the lead back to 10 at 38-28 with 2:44 remaining.

GL had four players with two fouls at intermission, but navigated through that in the second half, with none of them fouling out.

“We had to fluff off drives a bit,” Gulbin said. “We were aware of their shooters (55-Visconti and 23-Panetta) and if we kept them open we could be in trouble.

“At 26-20 Bostwick and Lara Romano made two big hustle plays for us.”

Johnson had three possessions to cut the lead to four or three at that point, but came away empty all three times, thanks in large part to the defensive performances of Bostwick and Romano that Gulbin referred to.”

Two free throws by Soranno and a basket by Bostwick that followed brought the lead back up to 10 again at 30-20.

It was another example of the Highlanders finding ways to put points on the board other than going inside to Gerrato, who was covered quite well by Johnson players the entire game.

“It’s good to know that we can win games when Lindsay is being double-downed,” Gulbin said. “We’ll need to open space for her.”

Johnson finished 14-11 last year and tied for second with Summit in the Mountain Division at 7-3. GL won the Mountain Division at 9-1, including a sweep of the Crusaders in division play and then another win over Johnson in the Central Jersey, Group 2 quarterfinals.

“We have a long way to go, it’s a long season and we’ll build from here,” Sharp said. “GL looks like the team to beat in the division again.”

Two reasons why GL may be the favorite is the strong play of Soranno at the point and Gerrato inside, with Gerrato also capable of posting up and hitting a short jumper once she’s in the game’s flow.

“When Lauren is not hitting her shot we’ll look more to Lindsay inside,” Gulbin said. “Johnson was all over Lindsay today and never made it easy.”

 

 

UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE-MOUNTAIN DIVISION GAME

Johnson (0-1, 0-1)                   04         11         09         10 – 34  

Gov. Livingston (1-0, 1-0)    13         09         08         11 – 41

 

 

JOHNSON CRUSADERS (34):

55-Stephanie Visconti, senior, 4-1-0-11

1-Sabrina Parin, junior, 1-0-1-3

21-Bailey Rosenmeier, freshman, 1-0-0-2

2-Amanda Palella, senior, 3-0-7-13

23-Molly Panetta, senior, 1-1-0-5

15-Tina Palella, sophomore, 0-0-0-0

25-Amy Wysocki, sophomore, 0-0-0-0

Starters: Visconti, Parin,

A. Palella, Panetta, T. Palella.

Totals: 10-2-8-34.

 

GL HIGHLANDERS (41):

44-Lindsay Gerrato, junior, 3-0-3-9

23-Lara Romano, junior, 1-0-1-3

12-Lauren Soranno, senior, 1-3-2-13

5-Amanda Bostwick, senior, 3-2-2-14

24-Lindsay DiStaso, senior, 1-0-0-2

13-Rachel Siegel, senior, 0-0-0-2

Starters: Sorrano, Bostwick,

Siegel, DiStaso, Gerrato.

Totals: 9-5-8-41.

 

 

UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE

FINAL GIRLS’ BASKETBALL STANDINGS

FOR THE 2014-2015 SEASON:

WATCHUNG DIVISION (6 schools)

1-Roselle Catholic (10-0), champion

2-Patrick School (7-3)

3-New Providence (5-5)

4-Westfield (4-6)

5-Union (3-7)

6-Cranford (0-10)

MOUNTAIN DIVISION (6 schools)

1-Gov. Livingston (9-1), champion

2-Summit (7-3)

Johnson (7-3)

4-Scotch Plains (5-5)

5-Plainfield (2-8)

6-Linden (0-10)

VALLEY DIVISION (6 schools)

1-Hillside (9-1), champion

2-Union Catholic (8-2)

3-Dayton (5-5)

4-Oak Knoll (4-6)

5-Rahway (3-7)

6-Elizabeth (1-9)

SKY DIVISION (6 schools)

1-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (10-0), champion

2-Kent Place (6-3)

3-Roselle (6-4)

4-Brearley (5-5)

5-Benedictine (2-7)

6-Roselle Park (0-10)

Kent Place at Benedictine – not played.

* * *

 

UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL FOR 2015-2016:

 

WATCHUNG DIVISION (6 schools)

Roselle Catholic

Union

Westfield

New Providence

Patrick School

Cranford

 

MOUNTAIN DIVISION (6 schools)

Johnson

Plainfield

Summit

Gov. Livingston

Linden

Scotch Plains

 

VALLEY DIVISION (6 schools)

Hillside

Elizabeth

Union Catholic

Rahway

Dayton

Oak Knoll

 

SKY DIVISION (6 schools)   

Brearley

Roselle Park

St. Mary’s, Elizabeth

Kent Place

Benedictine

Roselle

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