LIVINGSTON, NJ—Livingston head coach Dave Cohen knew this year could be a special one for the Livingston basketball program, but no one expected a season like this.
Livingston defeated Hawthore 46-23 Thursday night in Livingston. With this victory, Livingston advanced to 20-3, which is the school’s first 20-win season in the 59-year program.
“It’s a tribute to our kids,” Cohen said. “They bought into the system and we have a real good group, but we still want to accomplish more.”
The humble Livingston coach is referring to the upcoming state tournament where Livingston received the second seed of North 1, Group 4 and will take on 14th seeded Fairlawn.
The Lancers didn’t particularly shoot the ball well in the first quarter, only 4-of-12 from the field, but carried an 8-5 lead into the second period.
“We were getting good looks,” senior captain Alex Kalmus said. “As long as we kept up the defensive intensity and were strong on the boards then we knew the shots would fall.”
Livingston did most of it’s work in the second period on the defensive end and that led to transition baskets. Fellow captains, Marc Schofel and Sam Abam, each had two steals in the quarter and each finished with two layups putting Livingston on an early 8-0 run. Livingston’s 2-3 zone packed the paint and forced the Bear’s to take outside shots and Hawthorne had trouble knocking down long-range jump shots while the Lancers did a great job of contesting.
Philip Habib did sink to the corner on two consecutive offensive series for the Bears and knocked down two 3-pointers. Livingston finished the quarter attacking the basket and finding the bigs. Alex Kalmus scored two baskets and Marc Schofel knocked down a 3-pointer before the half concluded.
Livingston led 23-11 at halftime.
“There were a few defensive breakdowns towards the end of the quarter and we knew [Hawthorne] would fight,” Cohen continued.
In the second half, Robbie Lefkowitz did a masterful job of executing pick and roll and finding open men as any point guard does.
Using patience and court vision, Lefkowitz found Andrew Vittoria and Alex Kalmus on four straight plays.
Livingston’s stout 2-3 only held Hawthrone to two points in the third quarter while The Lancers outscored the Bears by 11 in the quarter increasing the lead to 23 points, 36-13.
In addition to his passing, Lefkowitz scored six of Livingston’s ten points in the fourth quarter and finished with eight points, seven assists, and two rebounds. Sam Abam finished with 18 points, five rebounds, and four steals.
“It’s great to get number 20 and make history,” Abam said. “We want to make more history by keeping this going and continuing to play well as the state tournament approaches.”
Livingston has one remaining regular season game left against Wayne Hills on Monday February 20 at Wayne Hills.
“Focus will be key the next week as we prepare for our last regular season game and then the state tournament,” Cohen concluded.