BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Gov. Livingston junior Matt Faller capped off a solid first year of varsity play for the Highlanders with two exceptional state playoff performances last week. Faller, a long 6'3 multidimensional player, delivered back-to-back 16 point scoring games, as his versatility was on full display while playing in both the Highlander back and front court. Gov. Livingston's leading scorer this season, Faller came through with clutch hoops in the closing minutes of both state games.
In Gov. Livingston's 55-49 win over Middletown North, Faller scored five of his game high 16 points in the last two minutes of a tight one point game as the Highlanders notched their first state playoff win since 2011.
Faller once again provided last second heroics as he brought Gov. Livingston even with heavily favored Chatham when he buried a three pointer with 30 second left in the game. Unfortunately, for the Highlanders, their season painfully ended when Chatham's Jack Rooney answered Faller's big three with a game winning last second shot as the Cougars avoided the Highlanders upset bid.
"Matt brought us a consistent scoring option this year and a defender who can take away the outside shot," said Gov. Livingston head basketball coach Chris Loeffler. Faller is a solid ball handler and competent rebounder and has also upped his defensive game.
Matt was often asked to guard the other teams' first or second scoring option, while being our first scoring option and ball handler, said Loeffler. In the loss to Chatham, he played lockdown defense on the Cougars leading scorer holding him to just six points on just one hoop. "Not an easy task. Not to mention he almost never came off the court, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Matt is a gym rat who has great wind. He never wants to be off the court and not involved in the game," said Loeffler.
"He thrives in games like the Chatham one. In fact, our entire team does," said Loeffler. "They play for those 'Super Saturday' atmospheres."
Loeffler is proud of how his "guys battled in that last game, the same way they did two nights before against Middletown North." They had a game plan, they believed that they could execute it -- and they did. "We just fell short and ran out of time."
Below are comments from Matt regarding his past, present and future:
TAPinto: What did you enjoy the most about playing basketball for the GL varsity this season?
Matt: What I enjoyed the most about playing basketball this season was that I had the opportunity to play with the same teammates that I had since fourth grade in both travel basketball and Columbia Middle School. We had a lot of chemistry playing together then and I feel that it hasn't changed a bit. One of the things I missed the most while I was at St. Peter’s was playing with my friends.
TAPinto: Are you more comfortable playing in the backcourt or the front court?
Matt: I am more comfortable playing in the backcourt because that's the position I have been playing all my life. I rotate between playing point guard and shooting guard in all my teams. I enjoy controlling the offense and making plays for my teammates.
TAPinto: Who was the toughest opponent you faced this past season?
Matt: The toughest opponent I faced this past season was Rahway because they have size and athleticism in every position. We played them three times and lost all three so I am looking forward to playing against them next year.
TAPinto: What are your personal goals and expectations for the team next year?
Matt: My personal goal is to contribute more offensively and for our team to win the conference next year. I expect our team to be very competitive and have a lot of fun playing together.
TAPinto: What aspects of your game will you are you working hard on to improve?
Matt: I will be focusing on becoming a stronger rebounder. I will also be working on my my post up game and improving my lateral quickness
TAPinto: What will you do in the offseason in preparation for your senior year?
Matt: I will try to gain weight and work-out consistently to get stronger. On a weekly basis I will do skills and drills with my basketball trainer. Lastly, I will be playing with my AAU team in the Adidas Circuit both in the spring and summer seasons. All these activities should prepare me for the upcoming season.
TAPinto: Who has had the most influence on your basketball game?
Matt: My dad has had the most influence on my basketball game because he’s been coaching me since I was five years old. My dad knows my game more than anyone and is always looking to help me improve my skills. He understands how much I love the game and is very committed on helping me get to the next level. He never misses any of my games and he is my biggest fan.
TAPinto: What professional or college athlete do you respect the most?
Matt: My favorite professional player is Kyrie Irving because he has a great handle, can shoot from anywhere and plays hard as soon as he steps on the court. Also, he is from NJ. I also enjoy watching Kevin Durant because he relies on his IQ and skills to compete on the highest level.
TAPinto: If you were to play another sport what would it be?
Matt: If I were to play another sport it would be lacrosse because I feel that basketball and lacrosse have transferable skills
TAPinto: What do you enjoy the most about GL?
Matt: What I like the most about GL is that I am getting a great education. I liked getting to know all the teachers that my sister Sam spoke about when she attended there. However, the very best thing about being at GL is that I get to see my friends everyday. On a side note, I also enjoy the short commute and no more train rides to Jersey City.
TAPinto: What class is your favorite?
Matt: My favorite class is math because it is my best subject.
TAPinto: What do you enjoy doing when not playing sports?
Matt: I enjoy hanging out with my friends, and my sister when she’s home from college. I also enjoy listening to music.
TAPinto: Are you thinking of playing ball in college?
Matt: Yes, I would love the opportunity to play in college. Currently I have received interest from a few colleges which I will visit in the spring.
TAPinto: What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
Matt: I see myself working in the financial industry 10 years from now.
Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Delicious Heights, a family restaurant with three locations; Berkeley Heights, Bedminster and Basking Ridge, where it is part of the Basking Ridge County Club operating a public restaurant with outdoor dining, and acting as the banquet caterer, boasting a facility with panoramic views of the sprawling golf course. Visit our website, www.deliciousheights.com for weekly specials including Happy Hour specials from 3-6pm and daily featured dinner and lunch specials. Delicious Heights....where our only limitations are yours!