MILLBURN, NJ - Bryan Levy scored on a layup off an inbounds play with 2.6 seconds left to give Millburn a 46-45 boys basketball victory over Bloomfield Tech Saturday afternoon.
Millburn senior center Ross Gang, who finished with a team-high 19 points and eight rebounds, scored his 1,000th career point on a foul shot with 28.4 seconds left in the first half.
Millburn (10-1) rallied from a 10-point deficit early in the third quarter and actually had a four-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before Bloomfield Tech (7-2) took a 45-44 lead on foul shot with 34 seconds left.
Sign Up for E-News
On an inbounds play on the baseline that started with six seconds left and the Millers trailing by a point, Levy inbounded to Matt Bernstein. With Gang, the first option on the play, well guarded, Bernstein shoveled the ball back to the inbounder, Levy, who banked in a short layup from the right box to give Millburn a 46-45 lead. It was Bernstein's fifth assist of the game.
"They (Bloomfield Tech) overplayed me and Matt got to the ball on the inbound," Gang explained of the game-winning sequence. "My teammates executed really well on that (final) play."
Although Millburn had won nine of its first 10 games this season, Saturday's showdown with Bloomfield Tech represented the Millers' toughest test so far and a chance to make a statement. But early in the third quarter, Bloomfield Tech opened a 35-25 lead and looked poised to pull away with an emphatic statement of its own.
"At the end of the first half, we had switched to a 2/3 defense," said Gang, whose Millers trailed by six at the break. "At the start of the third quarter, we were getting beaten on dribble penetration, so we changed up and started to trap the corners, got some turnovers and started to get some momentum back."
Millburn closed out the quarter with a 12-3 spurt started by Joe Blum's baseline jumper and featuring eight points from Gang, who scored three baskets in transition and another on an impressive drop-step spin move on the baseline in the run, which was capped by Levy's driving bucket with 1:22 left in the third quarter to bring Millburn within a point, 38-37.
Gang is the ninth player in Millburn boys basketball history to score more than 1,000 career points. He has 1,010 now.
Another nifty spin move by Gang down low for a basket early in the fourth quarter gave Millburn its first lead of the game, and the Millers eventually built a 44-40 cushion with 4:00 left after Ethan Fine came off the bench to spark the team with a pair of driving baskets.
"Bloomfield Tech is probably the top team in the division besides us," Gang said of the Super Essex Conference American Division. "They're very well-coached, and this was a big game. We will definitely see them again this season."