LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Lancers started off their 2019-2020 boys basketball season on a high note with a 54-50 victory over Oratory Prep on Thursday night.  

“It was a tough opener,” said Livingston head coach Dave Cohen. “They are a good team, [but] I’m proud of our guys. We did a good job on the big guys as well; got into a little of foul trouble, but the first game, to be able to win a close one, we’re happy.”

The Lancers were clinging to a four-point lead as the fourth quarter opened up. In order to stabilize the ship, Livingston relied on a familiar face in Evan Goldenstein, who collected six of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. His impressive showing on Thursday included the game’s decisive basket to send Livingston onward to victory.

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“[Goldenstein] is such a savvy player,” said Cohen. “He had a couple moves to the basket after they made some big shots…He’s our best ball handler, so we try to keep him on the court as much as we can.”

Goldenstein was joined by Abe Rimatzki and Kyle Loventhal in the fourth quarter for the Livingston scoring punch. The trio helped the Lancers to a 16-point frame.

“I felt like we could get some good looks at the end,” said Cohen.

The grit of the Lancers squad in the fourth quarter helped overcome what was an impressive third-quarter effort by the Rams. Oratory Prep forced a handful of turnovers en route to an 18-point third-quarter scoring output.

“It’s not easy against them,” said Cohen. “They have some big guys…they stepped up and hit a couple of threes.”

Livingston’s initial scoring push came in the second quarter to help separate the Lancers from the Rams. Evan Loventhal and Sam Smith teamed up to help Livingston out to a 29-20 halftime lead. Evan also finished with 12 points on the evening, nine of which came in the first half.

“We came out shooting the ball well,” said Cohen. “Right off the bat, Sam Smith hit a big three-point shot. We shot well, and I think that was important for us.”

The Lancers will now take their 1-0 record into Verona on Friday, looking to parlay the victory into an early-season winning streak.

“Verona is very good,” said Cohen. “They’re well-coached, they have a lot of talent back, and we’re on the road. I told the kids, part of every season has a story, and ours is going to have to be playing back-to-back and on the road.”