Boys Basketball: Gov. Livingston Falls Short to Cranford After a Suspenseful Fourth Quarter

Credits: J. Haddad archive

CRANFORD, NJ- After a disappointing first half, the Gov. Livingston boys basketball team was able to steadily chip away at the Cougar lead in the second. However, Cranford was ultimately able to hinder the Highlanders’ offensive momentum with clutch foul shots, allowing the Cougars to capture a tight 68-67 victory over the Highlanders.
Gov. Livingston quickly claimed the lead within the first possession of the game with a clutch three-point jumpshot from senior guard Billy Pencek. Pencek dominated the first quarter with a series of layups and three-balls, allowing the senior captain to score 13 of Gov. Livingston’s 17 points. However, Cranford was unfazed by Pencek’s imposing offensive performance. The Cougars’ stifling full court press enabled them to capitalize on Highlander turnovers and score on the other end of the floor. At the end of the first quarter, Cranford led Gov. Livingston 25-17.
Gov. Livingston’s tight defensive play held Cranford from extending their lead in the second quarter. With both teams unable to create an offensive spark, the second half resulted in a deadlock with the Cougars and Highlanders scoring 13 points each. This allowed the Cougars to cling onto their eight-point lead heading into halftime.
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However, in the third quarter, the Highlanders were able to reclaim the lead and gain momentum due to a sequence of electrifying jumpshots from behind the arc from sophomore guard Ryan Davey. Davey unleashed a total of six three-pointers and tied his career-high of 22 points.
The Cougars quickly rebounded from this deficit and captured the lead within the first possessions of the final quarter with a three-ball from senior Ryan Bakie. Cranford then continued on a 6-2 run against the Highlanders. Gov. Livingston was able to recover at the end of the quarter with a series of offensive attacks led by Pencek and Davey. Despite this impressive resurgence, the Highlanders fell short and were unable to produce the points they needed in the final seconds.

Although the Highlanders were disappointed with this defeat, Gov. Livingston is looking forward to their upcoming matchup against rival New Providence. “We are working hard during practice to improve upon our weaknesses in order to prepare for New Providence on Sunday,” stated Davey. “We are definitely looking forward to the matchup against the Pioneers as they are great competition”
Gov. Livingston (3-7) will face their neighborhood foe New Providence (5-6) this Sunday. Tip off will be at 2 p.m. at Gov. Livingston.

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