LIVINGSTON, NJ- At 5’6”, Livingston’s senior guard may be short in statue, but Robby Lefkowitz has stood tall in the face of adversity and has helped spark a string of upsets in a tough schedule to bring the Lancers to a record of 6-9.
“Being in a more difficult conference has had a big affect [on our record]," Lefkowitz said. “But we can play with any team in the county if we play well”
Livingston has proven Lefkowitz’s statement to be true after upsetting both University (11-6) and Orange (9-7), and nearly pulling off a come-from-behind victory over Montclair (10-5), losing by one point on a last second layup.
Lefkowitz, who leads the team in points (93), assists (57), rebounds (55), and steals (28), played his heart out in those two losses, and suffered more then just a loss. Against the Mounties Lefkowitz was removed from the game due to a bloody, and at the time, presumed broken nose after being hit by an opposing Montclair defender.
“Toughest game was Montclair.” Proclaimed Lefkowitz. “They were a very tough and physical team.”
The senior point guard’s toughness and commitment has not gone unnoticed.
Teammate Alex Habberman praised Lefkowitz and his leadership.
“Robby [Lefkowitz] is a great point guard, great leader on the court, great guy in practice.” Habberman said. “He’s always trying to help someone out…he’s very important [to this team].”
Lefkowitz has been thrown into a much greater role this season due to the departures of graduated former seniors Sam Abam and Marc Shofel.
Both Abam and Shofel were large contributors to the Lancers’ success last season and Lefkowitz along with fellow seniors Habberman, Andrew Vittoria, Joey Fischer, Justin Tepper, Nick McGann, and Doug Bresnick have stepped up to help fill that void.
Lefkowitz has certainly done everything in his power to do so by training hard in the off-season and even having the ability to work with Cleveland Cavaliers starting point guard Kryie Irving.
“I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with and against him [Irving] at the JCC about seven months ago.” Lefkowitz said. “It was an amazing experience.”
While Lefkowitz has improved his offensive abilities, mainly his shooting, from the previous season, Livingston Head Coach Dave Cohen has installed a stronger emphasis on defense relying on the speed and knowledge of his players.
“Coach [Cohen] has done an outstanding job. He has us working on our defense a lot, and always keeps us on task.” Lefkowitz, along with his teammates, have bought into Cohen’s defensive-oriented scheme. “We feel if we can play good defense then we can play with anyone.”
The Lancers have held their opponents to an average of 41 points per game including holding an Orange team that has scored 60+ points five times this season to only 33 points.
Lefkowitz has been a big contributor to the Lancers’ defensive success leading the team in both steals and rebounds. While it is not uncommon for a point guard to lead his team in steals, it is seemingly unheard to have a point guard lead the team in rebounds, especially when he is listed as 5’6.”
Lefkowitz and his teammates have debated over what is the exact reason for the young guard’s uncanny success on the boards.
“Well my teammates say they are the ones who box out and the ball just falls towards me.” Remarks Lefkowitz. “But that’s not true because I box out just as much as them, but also, I can track the ball to where it’s going to land before any of them.”
The Lancers who at one point stood at a respectable record of 5-3 suffered a six game slide that nearly put Livingston’s playoff chances on life support. However, the 5’6” point guard came up big once more for the Lancers contributing to the 40-36 victory over the East Orange Jaguars with seven points and several key plays. The win not only ended Livingston’s six game losing streak, but kept the Lancers’ post-season hopes alive.
Lefkowitz will attempt to lead the Lancers into the State Tournament with a win over West Essex (8-7) Thursday. Tip off is schedule for 4 p.m.