BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Despite Gov. Livingston’s impressive first half, Roselle’s tight full-court defense stunted the Highlander’s offensive momentum in the second, allowing the Rams to ultimately prevail over Gov. Livingston in a 49-35 victory.

In the first quarter, the Highlanders were quickly able to display their dominance behind the arch within the first few possessions of the game. On Gov. Livingston’s first possession, senior Billy Pencek’s clutch three-point jump shot set the pace for the rest of the quarter. This pivotal play gave way to a succession of long-range shots by both Pencek and sophomore varsity newcomer Ryan Davey. Both guards finished out the first quarter with two three-pointers. Pencek and Davey led the team in scoring; Pencek scored 18 points while Davey contributed 13.

Gov. Livingston’s swarming defensive play and resilience on the boards allowed them to hold the Rams to only eight points, enabling the Highlanders to return to their bench with a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

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However, in the second quarter Roselle was able to gain some offensive momentum with a series of quick drives and outside shots. Gov. Livingston responded with another three-pointer from Davey and putbacks from seniors Chas DeAngelis and Kevin Keegan. The Highlanders were able to hold the Rams and carry their six point lead into halftime.

Despite Gov. Livingston’s imposing play in the first half, Roselle’s full-court zone press in the second halted the Highlander’s offensive momentum. This pressure forced Gov. Livingston to have a sequence of turnovers, which gave the Rams an opportunity to mount a resurgence. Although Roselle took the lead in the third quarter, the Highlanders were still within reach to stage a fourth quarter comeback. However, despite multiple opportunities, Gov. Livingston’s inability to finish at the rim resulted in a 49-35 loss for the Highlanders.

Ryan Davey commented on Gov. Livingston’s play and what the team is looking to improve on moving forward. “During the first half we were able to knock down outside shots and keep them from second-chance opportunities," said Davey. "As the game went on, we started to miss open looks and turn over the ball. We need to limit our turnovers and prevent our opposition from multiple chances during a single possession. We are only getting to know our own strengths and weaknesses, and I feel that we will soon improve as a team and correct the mistakes we made.”

Billy Pencek also spoke on how the Highlanders are going to prepare for their upcoming game. “Roselle is a great team and really set a quick pace from the start,” said Pencek. “I think if we play with the same pace and intensity as we did in the first half, we will have success against Rahway.”

Gov. Livingston (0-1) faces Rahway (1-0) away at 4 p.m. Tuesday, December 20.

Editor's Note: Olivia Machado is a junior at Gov. Livingston High School participating in the TAPinto intern program. To learn more about the intern program contact bpeer@tapinto.net.