BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- The Gov. Livingston boys basketball team won their second consecutive game as they cruised by the Brearley Bears, 60-33, yesterday afternoon in Berkeley Heights. The Highlanders were coming off a 52-45 road victory over the Oratory Rams and will now face neighborhood foe New Providence in an effort to even their season mark to 4-4. The upcoming game against rival New Providence (2-4) will be played on Gov. Livingston's annual Super Saturday in Berkeley Heights at 3:45 p.m. The two rivals split their games last season with both teams winning on their home court .
Pencek Scores 25 as Highlanders Defeat Brearley 60-33
Gov. Livingston’s dominant play on both ends of the court allowed the Highlanders to overwhelmingly defeat the Brearley Bears, while simultaneously capturing their second consecutive win. The Highlanders are planning to carry this momentum heading into their annual Super Saturday game against rival New Providence.
Gov. Livingston was immediately able to get off to a strong start due to senior Billy Pencek’s long-range jumpshots and junior Matt Schuman’s resilience on the boards. Pencek established his dominance behind the arc by knocking down two three pointers in the first quarter. Schuman’s rebounds hindered Brearley from having second-chance opportunities at the rim. The Highlanders returned to their bench at the end of the first quarter with a comfortable 18-10 lead over the Bears.
However, in the second quarter, Brearley was able to stage a resurgence. Within the first few possessions of the second quarter, the Bears cut the Highlander lead to four points by getting open looks due to their quick ball movement against Gov. Livingston’s 3-2 zone. Brearley then began to apply pressure to the Highlander offense with a full court zone press. Nevertheless, Gov. Livingston easily shattered the full court press, which gave way to multiple Highlander fast break layups. Gov. Livingston was able to hold an eight-point lead over Brearley at halftime.
In the second half, the Highlanders’ impressive offensive execution allowed them to ultimately extend their lead. Pencek easily penetrated Brearley’s defense, which led to a sequence of layups and foul shots for the senior guard. Pencek led the team in scoring in the second half by contributing 17 points to the score. Seniors Kevin Keegan and Jason Colden also dominated the block with their post moves and putbacks. The Highlanders’ tight defensive play held the Bears to only 15 points in the second half.
Pencek finished the game with a total of 25 points, both Keegan and Colden with 8, and Ryan Davey and Chas Deangelis with 6.
Although this sweet victory has bolstered Gov. Livingston’s confidence, the team is still looking to improve. “The team has been working to get better each and every practice and game,” stated head coach Chris Loeffler. “We have to continue to exploit our strengths and continue to work on the things that need improvement.”
Highlanders Slip by Oratory 52-45 with Big 4th Quarter
Gov. Livingston pulled away from host Oratory in the last quarter as Bill Pencek scored 7 of his 9 points down the stretch helping the Highlanders outscore the Rams 21-14 in the games final quarter. The two teams were locked in a see-saw battle before the Highlanders ramped up their defensive pressure late in the third quarter which resulted in numerous fast break opportunities igniting the Gov. Livingston offense. Senior center Jason Coldon (8 pt, 5 reb) who entered the game with three minutes left in the 3rd quarter provided the spark that got the Highlanders going. He scored 8 points in a five minute span including two hoops to start the 4th quarter which snapped a 31-31 tie putting the Highlanders in the lead at 35-31. .
Although the Highlanders never trailed again it took another Gov. Livingston run to finish off the game. The Rams closed to within 2 at 41-39 with just over 4 minutes left before Pencek and Chas DeAngelis scored on drives to the hoop. Both those baskets came after junior Evan Reiner forced Oratory turnovers with a steal and a deflection. The Highlanders opened up a point 10 lead on a couple of free throws from Matt Schuman and a Reiner basket before closing out the non-conference win.
For the game Gov. Livingston had 8 players score, led by Pencek and Schuman with 9 points each followed by Coldon with 8. In the decisive 4th qtr. the Highlanders had 7 different players score points.