LIVINGSTON, NJ - In a game that was not decided until the closing seconds, the Livingston High girls basketball team fell to the Knights of West Essex, 40-34, on Tuesday. The Lady Lancers overcame foul trouble and injuries to key players to keep the game competitive throughout but in the end fell just short.
The game did not start well for Livingston, as early in the first quarter, senior leader Sam Rothenberger was forced from the game with an apparent shoulder injury. Without her, the Lady Lancers were lead by Katie Horiuchi and Nicole LaRusso who played well offensively in her absence. The first quarter ended with the home side down by only one, 11-10.
If losing an important player to injury wasn’t enough, the Lancers were also dealing with foul trouble to key personnel as the game progressed. Coach Patty Kaes was forced to sit both Catherine Callaghan and Sarosha Parsons for significant minutes because of fouls. In their absence, both Emily Waldenberg and Sam Leshinsky played well—especially on the boards. The Lancers were playing great team defense and went into halftime tied at 19, in a low-scoring affair.
As the third quarter started, Callaghan picked up her fourth foul forcing her to the bench, but even without her and Rothenberger, the Lady Lancers hung tough and would not go away. Both teams struggled on the offensive end; as West Essex would outscore the Lancers, 8-6, in the period to take a 27-25 lead entering into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter started with Coach Kaes able to put her starting five back in including Rothenberger, who was playing in obvious discomfort. A back and forth affair came down to the last couple of minutes where West Essex lead by a couple of clutch baskets by Karyn Towey, and near perfect free throw shooting held off a valiant effort by the Livingston girls.
In the end, the Lady Lancers high scorers were Horiuchi with 10 and LaRusso with 9.
The team will try and rebound from the loss in their next game on January 30, at Caldwell High School in the 2nd preliminary round of the 40th Annual Essex County Tournament. The 18th seeded Lancers and 15th seeded Chiefs will tip-off at 5:30 pm.