LIVINGSTON, NJ - It may not have been the girls’ best effort of the season but in a single elimination format the bottom line is to find a way to win—and the Livingston girls basketball team did just that, on Thursday, when they beat the Caldwell Chiefs in the 2nd preliminary round of the 40th girls Essex County Tournament, by a score of 38-33. The seesaw affair was not decided until Lancer junior guard Nicole LaRusso iced the game with two clutch free throws, with six seconds left, to put the girls up five and put the game on ice.
Both teams struggled from the opening tip with numerous missed shots and turnovers plaguing both sides. The Lancers hit a couple of open shots as the quarter played on--and to their credit they were playing a solid match-up zone that was giving the Chiefs fits. Caldwell only managed a single basket in the 1st and the Lady Lancers lead 9-2 at the end of one.
The 2nd quarter was an even affair, with both teams exchanging baskets in a low scoring game. Sarosha Parsons, Sam Rothenberger, and LaRusso lead the Lancer offense scoring most of their baskets in transition created by solid Lancer full court pressure. At the half, Livingston was ahead 15-11.
The 3rd quarter was also played very tightly, as the girls from Livingston could not pull away. Foul trouble to Rothenberger forced Emily Waldenberg to come in and play quality minutes where she played extremely well in her time on the floor, with some key boards helping the Lancers. The quarter finished with the Lady Lancers up four entering the final stanza.
Caldwell kept the game close in the 4th but some clutch plays by the Lancers helped them to never relinquish the lead. In the final minutes, both Catherine Callaghan and Rotheberger put follow up baskets in off tough rebounds to keep the girls on top. Waldenberg also hit two important free throws as the girls held on for the win. LaRusso finished with 13 points, Parsons with 8, and Rothenberger added 7 to pace the Lady Lancers.
Caldwell was lead by Savanna Edighoffer who had 19 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.
The 18th seeded Lancers now have the formidable task of facing the 2nd seeded Montclair Mounties in 1st round action this Saturday at Montclair High School with game time set for 1p.m.