LIVINGSTON, NJ — Despite holding a three-point lead heading into the final frame of the contest, some cold shooting in the fourth quarter doomed the Livingston boys basketball team to a 40-36 loss on Thursday evening against North Star Academy (NSA).

“I thought we played well defensively,” said Lancers head coach Dave Cohen. “Until we fouled at the end, we held them into the 30s. To hold a team like that with that much size to the 30s, you figure you’d be in good shape, but we couldn’t make a play.”

In the end, the Lancers could not close the door on their NSA counterparts, who went on a 7-0 scoring run in the fourth quarter to take the lead and never looked back. As open shots rimmed out for the Lancers, the defeat was imminent.

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“I told the kids, ‘We can’t just keep running designed plays to get you wide-open layups,’” said Cohen. “At some point you’re going to have to create your own shot, and we struggled to do that today.”

Despite the loss, Livingston saw a phenomenal performance from guard Abe Rimatzki, who produced a game-high 21 points in the contest and has averaged 19 points in his last two games for Livingston.

“[Rimatzki] is doing really well offensively,” said Cohen. “He gets in a good rhythm [and] he’s mixing it up. We’re running a lot of back doors to free him up for some layups.”

During the second quarter, the Lancers looked as if they were about to pull away with a big lead. Evan Goldenstein collected seven points in the contest to give him 22 in his last two games as well.

“[Goldenstein] has done a great job,” said Cohen. “He’s a difficult matchup because he uses his left hand well, so he’s tough to defend once he gets into the paint.”

Ultimately, 36 points of offense will not suffice for a basketball team looking to compete. The Lancers offense has been struggling to find its way, as the team has lost four of the last five games.

“I have to look at the film to see their shooting percentage, but it wasn’t pretty—that is for sure,” said Cohen.

The Lancers’ loss drops the squad to 3-5 on the season as they look to get back on the winning side.

“We’ve got to find a way to close,” said Cohen. “We’ve been in every game going into the fourth quarter. We’re eight games in, and every game, in the fourth quarter, we’ve had it to within a possession. We’ve got to find a way to make plays when the game is hanging in the balance….We’ll figure it out.”

Livingston will take on Nutley on January 14.