The Metuchen High School girls basketball team's lead over Spotswood on Friday night never really felt seriously threatened, but the Chargers at least made it competitive after it looked like Metuchen was headed for an easy win.
With a 37-12 halftime lead, the Bulldogs were entitled to feel confident about snapping a five-game skid against Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division foe Spotswood. But senior guard Jessica Addesso nearly got Spotswood all the way back by herself as the Chargers outscored the Bulldogs 19-9 in the third quarter and 24-13 in the fourth before Metuchen sealed a 59-55 win.
Addesso had two points at the half but scored 29 after the break to finish with a game-high 31. She had six 3-pointers, five in the final quarter, as the Chargers made what looked like a certain loss into an entertaining one. Addesso’s previous high was 17 in a season-opening win against Highland Park, followed by a 15-point outing against J.F. Kennedy. Her performance Friday night was just her third double-digit game.
"She has it in her, hopefully this helps her confidence going forward," Spotswood coach Vin Vizzi said. "I just wish I could hit a restart button for the first half."
For the Chargers, the deficit was too big to overcome.
"I think it was more of what was happening on the other end defensively," Vizzi said of the first half. "Metuchen came out and they hit a lot of shots. They were on fire and I think that flustered us a little bit mentally. In the second half we spoke about relaxing, settling down and trusting our skill set."
Spotswood (4-5, 3-4) outscored Metuchen 43-22 in the second half, but the game never got closer than four when Addesso hit a 40-footer to end the game.
Metuchen, 7-18 last season, is 6-2 and 3-2 in the Blue Division.
"I think we got out of our rhythm," Metuchen coach Kathy Glutz said of the second half. "You’re not going to press a team when you’re up 25. But credit Spotswood, they started making shots and the momentum changed."
The Bulldogs had a steadying influence from two of their leaders – sophomore guard Molly Malague and senior center Sam Antin. Malague had 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Antin hit for 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Junior Chase Klavon had 13 points and five steals and freshman Zoey Brown scored 11 points.
"We are a different team this year," Glutz said. "Those games with Spotswood the last few years were close. We just couldn’t finish."
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