LIVINGSTON, NJ--Vernon Lee was fouled and calmly made the front end of a 1-and-1 in the final seconds of overtime to lift the Bloomfield High boys basketball team to a 38-37 victory over Livingston on Saturday, Jan. 19 in Livingston.
Bloomfield had forced overtime when Isaiah Cortes hit a pull-up jumper in the lane with just under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter to knot the score, 35-35.
The loss snapped the Bengals' two-game losing streak and evened their record at 6-6.
"We've proven to be resilient," began Bloomfield head coach Mike Passero. "We're doing some things really well and our defense is keeping us in games. We just need to be more consistent."
Against Livingston, Lee, a junior, finished with 10 points, three rebounds and five steals with senior Vinny Torrisi also scoring 10 points. Juniors Khanye' Tucker added seven points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists and Andre Dean had six points and four rebounds while Cortes, a sophomore, finished with five points and three rebounds.
The win came on the heels of two Super Essex Conference Liberty Division losses - a 57-50 defeat at University in Newark on Jan. 14 and a 56-34 setback at Newark Central on Jan. 16.
"We had two tough losses on Tuesday and Thursday so our confidence was wavering," said Passero. "But winning on Saturday helped. We were able to keep our composure and had good energy throughout."
The Bengals are situated in the SEC Liberty along with Irvington, University, Barringer, Newark Tech, Newark Central and West Orange and are 0-5 in divisional play.
Bloomfield will play host to West Orange (4-6) on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. before playing at Barringer (4-7) on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 6:45 p.m. Bloomfield bowed to Barringer, 54-50, in its season opener on Dec. 19.
"We definitely have winnable games coming up but not if we don't play together and to our potential," said Passero. "We need to keep getting good shots and do the things that contribute to winning."
Lee, who averages 10.7 points, continues to lead the Bengals in scoring through his team's first 12 games.
"Vernon's great as he brings it all to practice and is working hard to be a leader on this team," said Passero. "He's still just a junior and he's constantly improving every day. He does it all for us."