RAHWAY, N.J. - Its safe to say that Rahway High School is not where Governor Livingston will want to play in the future. One week after losing to Rahway, the Highlanders were beaten by Union, 68-33, during Sunday's Union County Tournament preliminary round match.
Governor Livingston has now lost six of their last seven games on their schedule, moving to 5-15 on the year.
The Highlanders led 18-9 after the first quarter, seeing five of their players score at least one basket. They went on a 15-4 run to close out the period. Rob Imbalzano scored six of his team-high 15 points in the opening minutes.
"[Governor Livingston] came out to a hot start," Union head coach Kevin Feeley said. "They came out and played very aggressive…We knew all along our thing was we were going to have to win with our defense…Our kids picked up the effort, the energy, the intensity, for the rest of the game."
Despite the positive first quarter, the Highlanders did not score 18 points for the rest of the game. Union changed their defense, enforcing a full-court press on Governor Livingston's guards. The pressure proved to be too much, as the Highlanders crumbled, giving away multiple turnovers that led to Farmer baskets.
Union outscored Governor Livingston 18-2 in the second quarter to give the Farmers a 27-20 halftime lead.
"We just wanted to create some tempo, so we started putting a little more pressure, a little run and jump," Feeley said. "Our guards did a good job against their jobs. We created some momentum and ended up pulling ahead."
The second half was just like the second quarter, as the Farmers allowed only six baskets in the final 16 minutes, while offensively, they rarely missed a shot.
Union guard Jaleel Chain came alive with the increased defensive pressure. He scored 21 of his game-high 25 points in the final three quarters. Chain made nine baskets in the game, including four shots from beyond the arch. Union's Tevin Service added 12 points, while Eric Lofton-Harris put up 11 in the win.
"Our guards did a really good job of finding the right guy that was open," Feeley said. "We didn't force shots on our own, we weren't selfish. When we play unselfish basketball, sometimes we play pretty well."