MILLBURN, NJ -- Defensive excellence has been a consistent ingredient in the Livingston girls basketball team's season to this point.
The Lancers maintained their customary miserly ways on that end of the floor, and also put together an impressive offensive showing in a decisive second quarter Thursday night on their way to a 45-28 victory over Millburn on the latter's Senior Night.
It was the fifth victory in the last six games for Livingston (15-5). During that stretch of games, the Lancers have allowed an average 31.5 points.
With Livingston leading, 13-10, early in the second quarter, the Lancers went on a 14-0 run, with their offense fueling their defense. Senior point guard Sarah Cullen began the run with two free throws. After a steal by junior guard Lauren Belcuore, Belcuore fed Hailey Reuter ahead of the field for a transition layup.
Reuter sank a 15-foot jump shot to extend Livingston's lead to 19-10. Ava Intile, who led Livingston with 15 points in the game, drove the lane after a nifty drop-step and scored. Forward Aliza Gelman hit two of two foul shots for a 23-10 lead. Soliyana Asfaw then scored the final four points of the run, taking a high-post pass from Intile for a layup, and then following in her own missed shot for a 27-10 lead.
In addition to the effects of Livingston's fullcourt pressure, another impressive aspect of the Lancers' second quarter was the fact that they got points from six different players in the period, beginning with a jumper by Avery McLaughlin to open the quarter.
Intile carried the Livingston offense early, scoring seven of the Lancers' points in an 11-4 start, as she hit a layup, a baseline jumper and a 3-pointer.
Belcuore not only sparkled on defense with her quickness and keen anticipation, but the junior--an all-state soccer player in the fall--also handed out four assists in the first half.