LIVINGSTON, NJ - In what was easily the most exciting and well-played game of the Lady Lancers’ season, Livingston's girls basketball team lost a heartbreaker on Saturday, 55-53, in overtime at Nutley High School.
Nutley’s Grace Montgomery hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the extra period to give the Raiders the lead. Livingston senior guard Katie Horiuchi’s desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer was off the mark as the girls came up just short. The Lancers’ junior guard Nicole LaRusso sent the game to O.T. with a clutch 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in regulation, forcing the extra stanza.
Both teams came out with some very hot shooting as the see-saw affair saw many lead changes in the game. Livingston contended with Nutley’s dynamic sophomore Blair Watson, a versatile performer who finished with a game high 25 points. Livingston countered with a balanced scoring attack and solid outside shooting against the Nutley zone defense. At the end of the first quarter, Nutley led, 17-14.
In the second period, Nutley instilled a half-court trap limiting the Lady Lancers to only three points. The Livingston girls were plagued by turnovers during the quarter and did not get many good looks at the basket. The game appeared to be slipping away as the girls trailed by ten with a score of 27-17 at the half.
The Lady Lancers came out of the locker room and played the third quarter like a different team than the one that had closed the half. In what was probably their best quarter of the season, the girls combined excellent ball movement and torrid shooting to storm back and take the lead.
LaRusso lead the charge for the girls, as she and backcourt mate Horiuchi lead the charge. Sam Rothenberger battled inside on both ends of the floor despite foul trouble along with sophomore Sarosha Parsons. The girls took a 38-36 lead into the final quarter.
The final period was a back and forth battle as neither team could pull away. LaRusso continued to have success from beyond the arc, as she finished the day with five 3-pointers and a team high 19 points.