SUMMIT, NJ — Nick Gold dropped in a layup with four seconds remaining to give the Gov. Livingston boys’ basketball team a 44-42 victory over neighboring rival Summit in the team’s 2021 finale.

It was the second straight victory for the Highlanders and also marked a special triumph on another note.

“We hadn’t beaten Summit in five years since my first season,” said Gov. Livingston coach Chris Loeffler. “The last time we won against them was in January of 2016, so it was nice to go on the road and win there. We had scrimmaged them before the season started, and they had taken it to us pretty good. I remember standing at them game and wondering if we’d even get the season in.

“To get all our 15 games in and still be standing here was awesome. It was tough in the beginning, not knowing if we’d even get a season in, but I’m so proud of our guys. I’m so proud and grateful in the fact that we got all our games in, and they did what they had to do to play them.”

It was a frantic finish in the final seconds for the Highlanders, who had built a 24-14 lead at the half. Summit put on a 17-7 run in the third and Loeffler’s squad had to hold on in the fourth, but got it done.

Brian McGrath drove the baseline and scored to put the Highlanders up, 42-40, before a foul at the other end allowed Summit to sink both free throws and it at 42-42.

Then Gold, a junior, took a pass off the half-four inbound and put in his layup for the final margin. Summit inbounded the ball and its shot at the buzzer missed.

Alexander Yablonovisky led Gov. Livingston with nine points, John Schmidt tossed in eight points, Quinn and Gold added eight points apiece and McGrath contributed six.

Loeffler had high praise for the leadership and performance of all his seniors — Evan Accardi, Chris Micca, Kyle Sottosanti, Victor Chait, Jay Schmidt and Quinn.

The victory came three days after a 66-32 win over Brearley Regional that stopped a four-game Highlanders’ winless streak

“I told our players it was special to go out with back-to-back wins,” noted Loeffler. “We played a solid first half against Summit and were able to put the ball in basket. We always defend well and we made our shots. In the second half they started knocking down their shots but by the fourth quarter we recovered. Matt Quinn played all 16 minutes of the second half and did a great job keeping us composed.

“We had a tough stretch losing those four games in a row, but then we came back and beat Brearley in our last home game and won on the road today. We took care of business and that was a nice win for us to close the season.”