CRANFORD – There are times you can argue that the game’s most important basket was made before the fourth quarter.
A case could be made for that concerning arch rivals Governor Livingston and Cranford.
In Friday night’s girls’ basketball season-opener at CranfordHigh School’s Martin Gymnasium, it was a long-range basket by the person who ended up being the game’s leading scorer that halted the opposing team’s momentum.
After Cranford pulled to within six points, GL sophomore guard Lauren Sorrano found room on the right side and received a pass from just beyond the 3-point line. Sorrano, who scored GL’s first seven points, let go of a shot that hit nothing but net to put the Highlanders up by nine.
“I got the ball at an open spot, so I took it,” said Sorrano, who led all scorers with 11 points and made GL’s only two 3-pointers to lead the Highlanders to a convincing 33-26 win over Cranford in Union County Conference-Watchung Division play.
In other Watchung Division action on Saturday at 1 p.m. it will be GL (1-0, 1-0) hosting Scotch Plains and Cranford (0-1, 0-1) playing at Summit in 1 p.m. tipoffs. Summit (1-0, 1-0) defeated Scotch Plains (0-1, 0-1) by the score of 54-40 Friday night in Scotch Plains.
Sorrano’s second 3-pointer, and her first points since she scored all five of GL’s points in the first quarter and the first two by the Highlanders in the second, halted a 7-0 Cranford run that saw the Cougars get to within 24-18 after they struggled mightily earlier in the period.
“The basket she made there was like a shot of penicillin in the arm,” said seventh-year GL head coach Andy Silvagni. “It allowed us to breathe again.”
GL, also sparked by the fine play of junior Haley Berliner and senior Jenny Pires – who both scored nine points – went on a 10-0 run in the third quarter to take its biggest lead of 13 points at 24-11.
After trailing 5-2, the visiting Highlanders – who lost to Cranford three times in four tries last year including twice in league play – tied the game at the end of the first quarter when Sorrano made her first 3-pointer while getting fouled with 2.4 seconds left.
GL took the lead for good early in the second quarter when Sorrano hit a jumper to give the Highlanders a 7-5 advantage.
“Lauren played some big minutes for us as a freshman last year and she’s learned a lot,” Silvagni said. “We expect a lot from her and we know that she can shoot the ball well.”
Although Cranford pulled to within five points at 31-26 with 2:02 left, it never felt like GL was in trouble.
“Losing three (Erin Ferguson, Mallory George and Alyssa Cranston) big players from last year’s team, we know we have to expand our guard play,” Sorrano said. “We have to continue to work on our offense and continue to play well on defense.”
“I thought our press looked good at times, but Cranford’s a great team and the ball just bounced our way tonight,” Silvagni said. “We have a lot of new girls and now they get to prove something. This is their turn.”
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE-WATCHUNG DIVISION
GOV. LIVINGSTON (1-0, 1-0) 5 9 13 6 – 33
CRANFORD (0-1, 0-1) 5 4 9 8 – 26
GOV. LIVINGSTON HIGHLANDERS (33):
12-Lauren Sorrano, sophomore, 2-2-1-11
23-Patrice DiTommaso, senior, 1-0-1-3
2-Jenny Pires, senior, 2-0-5-9
12-Haley Berliner, junior, 4-0-1-9
24-Lauren DiStaso, senior, 0-0-1-1
21-Sara Dilly, junior, 0-0-0-0
10-Katie Rielly, senior, 0-0-0-0
51-Courtney Osieja, junior, 0-0-0-0
4-Lindsey DiStaso, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
Starters: DiTommaso, Rielly,
Pires, DiStaso, Dilly.
CRANFORD COUGARS (26):
32-Kerry Wischusen, senior, 1-0-3-5
3-Lindsay Pace, sophomore, 2-1-0-7
33-Cerys MacLelland, sophomore, 3-0-0-6
24-Erin Meixner, junior, 0-0-1-1
13-Mairead McKeary, senior, 1-0-3-5
15-Carly Maucione, senior, 1-0-0-2
11-Hannah Demars, senior, 0-0-0-2
23-Megan Pringle, senior, 0-0-0-0
21-Hana Ross, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Maucione, Wischusen,
McKeary, MacLelland, Sarah Ross.