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IT CAME FROM ABOVE…Blue Devil Amy Williams, No. 20, and Nicole DeSantis, front, keep Kate Vanderheyden of the Raiders away. In this County Tournament game at Cranford High on Feb. 17, SPlains-Fanwood won 39-29 to advance to the next round.

Bethea and Defense Lifts Raiders Past Devils, 39-29 Score

By DAVID B. CORBIN for The Westfield Leader and The Times

They came to play well, and play well they did at Cranford High School, as the Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls basketball team ousted eighth-seeded Westfield High School from the Union County Tournament by a score of 39-29 on February 17.

Raider Co-Captain Kim Bethea got things rolling immediately as she scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the first half. The Raiders took an 11-8 first-quarter lead and went to work defensively in the second quarter, holding the Blue Devils to only three points while adding an additional 11 points.

With a 22-11 first half lead, the Raiders continued their defensive control in the third quarter by yielding only four points while picking up eight more points.

Sophomore Niki McCoy sank 10 points for the Raiders and Co-Captain Melissa Hicks added nine points. Junior Kate Vanderheyden and Sophomore Krista Hicks contributed two points each to the winning cause.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood raided the boards, out-rebounding the Blue Devils 45-29. Vanderheyden gathered 13 rebounds and Bowers grabbed 10 while Niki McCoy pulled down nine and Bethea collected eight. Melissa Hicks had five rebounds.

The Raiders spread the assists around as Vanderheyden contributed six while Bethea and Bowers added four apiece. Melissa Hicks set up three assists and Krista Hicks had two.

The Blue Devils were unable to get it going offensively as they hit less than 28 per cent of their two-point field goal attempts and missed all 12 of their three-point attempts. From the foul line, Westfield sank only seven of 14 shots.

Senior Amy Williams led the Blue Devils in scoring, sinking nine points, and sophomore Liz McKeon hit for eight points. Jenn Kemps had six points while Nicole DeSantis, Megan Devitt and Vicky Nusse added two points apiece.

Williams led the Blue Devils with 10 rebounds followed by McKeon who pulled down five and DeSantis who grabbed four.

Williams led the Blue Devils in steals, swiping six, and McKeon stole five while Nusse grabbed three.

"I’m very proud of the way the girls played against Westfield. We were tired of reading in the paper about how they should have beaten us the first time, about their foul trouble, their poor shooting and all the players not being there," stated Raider Head Coach Brian Homm.

"Well, they got their chance and we came out and still stuck it to them. We played defense like nobody’s business and humbled them. I could not be more pleased with our team’s effort," added Homm.

"Kate Vanderheyden and Christine Bowers did an outstanding job under the boards. They were much bigger than us, but we seemed to come up with most of the rebounds," Homm said. "The senior leadership of Kim Bethea and Melissa Hicks was outstanding. They guided us the whole way."

Westfield slipped to 13-8 while Scotch Plains-Fanwood lifted its record above the .500 mark to 10-9 and advanced to meet first-seeded Elizabeth High School on February 20.

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