SUMMIT, NJ - After being down 11 points in the third quarter, the Highlanders were able to chip away at the deficit in the fourth and rally to eventually cut the Summit lead to three points. However, despite this impressive resurgence, Gov. Livingston was unable to pull together within the crucial final minutes, allowing the Hilltoppers to prevail over the Highlanders 58-48 and capture their third consecutive win.
The Highlanders sprinted out to a 7-0 lead within the first few possessions of the first quarter due to senior Billy Pencek's shooting from behind the arc and Kevin Keegan's toughness on the block. After winning the tip off, Pencek received a pass from sophomore guard Ryan Davey and knocked down a three-point jumpshop from the wing. On the next Highlander posession, Keegan posted up and took it to the hoop to add two more points to the scoreboard.
Summit quickly rebounded from this deficit by going on a 9-0 run due to a series of breakaway layups by senior Will Schaffer. However, junior center Liam Wolfe reclaimed the lead for Gov. Livingston at the end of the quarter with a layup while simultaneously drawing the foul. The Highlanders returned to their bench with a one-point lead over the Hilltoppers.
In the second quarter, Gov. Livingston extended their lead with a drive to the paint by Evan Reiner and foul shots by Wolfe. The Highlanders' imposing defensive execution prevented Summit from scoring in the first half of the quarter. However, the Hilltoppers quickly shifted the momentum by swishing back-to-back three pointers. The Highlanders returned to their locker room down 21-15.
Summit continued their intensity on both ends of the court in the third quarter. Schaffer was able to hit two short-range jumpshots and one three ball while freshman Joe Lusardi's consistent back-court pressure forced multiple Gov. Livingston turnovers. The impressive offensive and defensive display allowed the Hilltoppers to expand their lead to 11 points at the end of the quarter.
The Highlanders came alive in the final quarter and managed a run of their own led by sophomore point guard Josh Coldon and junior Matt Schuman. Coldon entered the game with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter with Gov. Livingston trailing 36-23. Summit had built their 13 point lead by using a fullcourt press which had the Highlanders rattled. Coldon immediately stabilized the Highlander backcourt as his ball handling and passing off the dribbled neutralized the Summit press and allowed the Highlander offense to get back into rhythm.
Schuman led the Highlander run scoring 8 of his 12 points followed by Coldon and Pencek with five each as Gov. Livingston drew to within three at 46-43 with just over three minutes left in the game. The two teams traded three balls keeping Gov. Livingston with in three at 49-46, but that was as close as the Highlanders would get. Summit converted on their next possession and then closed out the game from the foul line for the 10 point win.
The Highlanders were led by Pencek who posted 14 points and Schuman, who scored a career high 12. Sophomore Coldon who got his first extended varsity minutes scored his first varsity points,finishing with five points.
Next, the Highlanders (3-5) play away against their divisional rival Cranford (1-8) as they look to get back into the win column. Tip off at 7 p.m.