LIVINGSTON, NJ—Livingston and Newark Academy always have something to play for. As both schools are located in Livingston, the teams are quite familiar with one another and since the Super Essex Conference was founded, in 2010, neither team has been able to sweep the two-game conference series.
Livingston did that in empathic style on Thursday defeating the Minutemen 52-30 at Livingston’s Fitness and Wellness Center.
“It’s a good win against a strong team,” Livingston head coach Dave Cohen said. “Now we have to focus on Saturday’s county matchup.”
The Lancers stuck to what they know best and what has guided them to 11 wins on the season: defense.
During the first meeting of the season, Livingston constantly changed defensive looks. On Thursday, Livingston stuck to hard-nosed, in-your-face man-to-man defense. Constant on-ball pressure forced Newark Academy to turn the ball over and limited their scoring to a season low of 30 points.
“I was so happy with how we looked defensively today,” Cohen said. “It is not every day where you hold a team to 30 points in a 32 minute game.”
Livingston set the tone early, as they got out to an 8-0 lead in the first minute of play.
The Lancers led 21-9 at half. Sam Abam had eight points and fellow guard Marc Schofel paced Livingston with ten points and two assists in the first half.
“We took care of business at their place a few weeks ago,” Schofel said. “We wanted ot make sure to take care of everything at home and sweep the series to solidify ourselves as a top team in our division.”
Livingston showed no signs of slowing down in the second half.
Abam scored nine more points in the second half and Schofel added another eight of his 18 for the game, along with five assists and four rebounds.
Livingston outscored Newark Academy 26-18 in the second half.
“This is the kind of basketball we need to play and are capable of playing. If we take it game by game and focus we may end up surprising some people in the county tournament,” Cohen concluded.