BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Scotch Plains-Fanwood scored at the buzzer to defeat Gov. Livingston, 55-53, in overtime in the boys basketball opener for both teams on Friday night.
Rob Imbalzano put in a game-high 25 points and hit the 3-point buzzer shot forcing the game into overtime for Gov. Livingston. It was Emendo Thomas who sank the winning shot in OT at the buzzer for Scotch Plains.
Gov. Livingston settled into the game midway through the first quarter with senior Pat Mahoney making the first basket to set the pace for the Highlanders. The Highlanders took control with a tip-in by Rob Imbalzano to take the first quarter lead.
"We have a lot of inexperienced kids, we lost our two leading scorers from last year. We have to play harder than the other team," said Scotch Plains head coach Dan Doherty.
Keeping the lead through the half, Gov. Livingston fell off their pace when Scotch Plains had a 19 point surge in the third quarter with three 3-pointers by Chris Gibbons to shift the game. The Highlanders trailed by 5 going into the fourth quarter.
Highlanders regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter with a foul shot by Mahoney. Scotch Plains answered with another team 3-pointer. Imbalzano and Victor Candeloro sank key baskets late in the fourth quarter keeping the Highlanders in winning range. Imbalzano's 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.
"We chipped away. Even when they hit that shot by a very good player (Imbalzano), we kept it going in the overtime." said Doherty.
"We're not done yet, it's our first game. We had pre-game jitters, everyone was nervous. We have a young team with two juniors and a sophomore. We'll be back. We're going to keep getting better as the season goes and we'll see them again," said Gov. Livingston junior Rob Imbalzano.
Gov. Livingston: Pat Mahoney (6); Chris Marzo (2); Javon Reis-Wilson (5); John Wills (2); Victor Candeloro (10); Rob Imbalzano (25); John Iorio (3)
Scotch Plains: Devin Glover (5); Chris Gibbons (11); Quaryee Bull (9); Aaron Lee (3); Jack Poillon (6); Leo Ramos (12); Emendo Thomas (2); Andrew Voysest (7)
Gov. Livingston's next game is away against Cranford, Monday, Dec. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Scotch Plains-Fanwood visits Westfield Saturday night at 7 p.m.