LIVINGSTON, NJ - Despite a sluggish start, the Livingston boys’ basketball team's last home game of the 2013-2014 season ended with a 45-41 loss to University High School.
The Lancers only scored three points in the first quarter, digging themselves into an 11-point hole, due to the stifling defense of the University squad. Joseph Kelley (10 points) Zamir Wright and Dashon Jones (eight points each) helped build this lead, as most of their points came in the opening quarter.
The Lancers were down, 26-14, at halftime. They were unable to find quality opportunities to score and were forcing desperation shots. Even though the Lancers were unable to cut into the lead, Kahlil Garnes, who lead all scorers with 15 points, found his stroke late in the second quarter, which helped the team finish the game strong.
Throughout the season, a main reason that the Lancers often found themselves down is the team’s tendency to frequently turn the over the ball. And, this theme proved to be the key to their loss tonight.
Substantiating this point, Lancers Coach Dave Cohen said, “In the first half, we turned the ball over at half court and gave up 14 layups…the turnovers that lead to the leak out put us in trouble.”
At the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like the Lancers were headed toward a rout, being down, 39-25, at the start of the quarter. However, within just over a minute, Garnes and Luis Padilla hit back to back 3-pointers to bring the score to within eight.
Sean Duffy’s defense was instrumental to the Lancer comeback in the fourth quarter, leading to many blocks and steals and putting pressure on University to shoot shots out of desperation. Duffy’s defense lead to a long 3-pointer for Eli Friedman, Livingston’s Athlete of the Week, with 4:14 left to bring the Lancers to within four points.
Later, Friedman intercepted a pass and found Padilla for a layup in transition. A layup by Duffy with 2:10 left in the quarter put the Lancers down by two. Despite an altered rotation due to Livingston’s Senior Night, Cohen went to his traditional starting lineup of Garnes, Duffy, Padilla, Bellizone, and Friedman. However, with 46 seconds left, University scored an easy layup to put them up 45-41, which was the final score of the game.
This was the last home game of the season for Livingston.