Pioneer Top 5: Best Sports Games of the Year

Michael Henry, staff writer

New Providence athletics has had yet another excellent year. With the effort of all student-athletes and the support of all our spectators, athletics have made a rebound from last year’s challenging protocols. This year returned to normal throughout all three seasons and in every sport. Some games, however, stood out. These are the top five New Providence sporting events from 2022. 


#5 – Football – New Providence vs. Delaware Valley (NJSIAA Tournament, Quarterfinal Round)

Coming into the game, New Providence had not won a playoff match in close to ten years. With a heavy football town in Delaware Valley, the atmosphere was electric. Charlie Barth and the rest of the team had to step up if they wanted to pull out a win. Barth did his part, scoring three touchdowns on 334 yards alongside an interception. Coach Parlavecchio described his performance as “one of the single best games [he] had ever seen a high school kid play. He was just incredible on both sides of the ball.” While Barth’s performance was impressive, it is essential to note the standout game the rest of the team had to hold Delaware Valley scoreless until the fourth quarter. When the final whistle blew, the Pioneers had won 35-13 in one of the year’s best games. 


#4 – Boys Basketball – New Providence vs. Gov. Livingston (NJSIAA Tournament, First Round)

    In the third meeting of the year, New Providence came into this game hungry to win the season series. With the neighboring rivalry, the gym was packed full of fans. Behind the Pioneer bench, the student section cheers could be heard throughout the game.  However, New Providence found themselves trailing by ten going into the final quarter. While in the huddle, Matt Demareski said there was talk of how: “We had been in these situations before, and we’d come back from worse deficits than that. So we just needed that one spark to get us going.” That spark was sophomore guard Jackson Zarinko, who led a fourth-quarter comeback to secure the win 52-47. The strong fourth quarter secured the series and the Pioneers moved on to the next round. 


#3 – Girls Basketball – New Providence vs Westfield (Union County Tournament Final)

    With thirty-two years since their last county championship, the Pioneers were determined to win. After a tight first half, the score was 23-18 in favor of the Pioneers. Coming out of halftime, the Pioneers extended their lead by six. Sophomore guard Grace Kinum said the team “shook off the nerves” and “stepped up.” Freshman Brenna Slattery was among those who stepped up posting twenty-one points and seven rebounds. When the clock expired, the Pioneers had won 56-46 and secured the country championship. 


#2 – Girls Basketball – New Providence vs Rumson-Fair Haven (NJSIAA Tournament, Semifinal Round)

    With the home gym packed, the Pioneers came into the game ready. Early into the game, however, starting center Megan Slattery crashed hard into the wall breaking her wrist. Despite the pain, Megan stuck around to cheer on the team. Grace Kinum said Megan was “such an inspiration for us because she didn’t go to the hospital. So we played for her and we wanted to win for her.” As the game progressed, both teams were unable to pull ahead. But with just a few seconds left, Rumson held on to a two point lead. Junior Guard Meghan Lamanna took the ball and managed to draw a foul. With tenths of a second left on the clock, Lamanna drained both free throws and took the game to overtime. Outscoring Rumson by six in overtime, the Pioneers were able to win 57-51. 


#1 – Hockey – New Providence vs Morris Knolls-Hills (NJSIAA Tournament, Championship) 

    With the state final taking place in the Prudential Center, there was no bigger stage. With hundreds of students from Gov. Livingston and New Providence in the stands, the atmosphere was electric. Scoring the first goal of the game, the Pioneers were able to settle in. Not turning back, the Pioneers clung to their one goal lead for the majority of the game. Team goalie Shane Cook had twenty-nine saves and kept a clean sheet. Towards the end of the game, the Pioneers scored another goal,  icing the game. When the clock displayed all zeros, the team rushed onto the ice and jumped in one pile. They were champions.