Sports

Millburn Basketball Picks up First Victory

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Millburn's Brian Barkley fights through the defense. Credits: Jose Ortiz
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Aiden Favia looks for a player to pass to. Credits: Jose Ortiz
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David Talpalar surveys the floor. Credits: Jose Ortiz
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MILLBURN, N.J. - At halftime of Friday night's boys basketball game, Caldwell and Millburn found themselves in an extremely slow moving game, tied at 12. But in the third quarter, Millburn's Brian Barkley and Aiden Favia caught fire and sparked a 17-7 third period run, and held on in the fourth for a 41-32 win, their first victory of the season.

Favia knocked down three of his four three pointers in the third, while Barkley scored all 15 of his points in the second half, leading all scorers.

"We came in at halftime and we were missing a bunch of shots, and coach told us that we had to start hitting our shots, and that we were definitely going to win this game, and that's what we did," Barkley said.

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Barkley opened up the third quarter knocking down three consecutive baseline jumpers, helping to build a four point lead, and sparking what turned into a 12-2 run. Favia came alive during that stretch, as did the home Millburn crowd, as he drained three triples in less than four minutes, completely seizing the momentum for the Millers.

"He was vocal on the court, which helped, he was yelling after that shot, and everyone was definitely pumped up," Barkley said. "We took a lead and just never looked back from that point on."

Millburn went into the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead and extended to 13, following a Barkley jump shot, putting them up 34-21. But the Chiefs, who could not find the basket at all it seemed, made a late 9-2 run, closing within six with under three minutes left to play. However, a bank shot in the paint from Josh Landau seemed to halt Caldwell's momentum. Millburn scored five of the game's final seven points to stave off Caldwell.

"I want to give a lot of credit to Caldwell, they played very hard, they're a very physical team, they make you earn everything you get," Millburn head coach Rodger Blind said. 

Favia opened up the game's scoring, knocking down an early three pointer in the first quarter. However, it would be Millburn's only field goal of the period, as they went one-for-eight in the period and turned the ball over three times. Luckily for the Millers, Caldwell wasn't shooting the ball very well either. The Chiefs made just 3-of-11 in the opening period, carry an 8-6 lead into the second.

It was more of the same for both teams in the second frame, with them combining to score 10 points in the quarter. They made a combined five-of-17 shots in the second period, which is under 30 percent.

"To only get 12 points in a half, means you're not playing really great offense, or at least shooting the ball," Blind said. "But I thought we did some good adjustments at halftime, and then in the second half, Aiden Favia and Brian Barkley really started shooting the ball. That was the difference."

Landau also played well for the Millers on Friday, chipping in eight points, as the team's third highest scorer. Billy Pierce scored 12 to lead Caldwell, while Jack Kinney chipped in eight. Millburn is 1-2 after claiming its first win of the season, and will face Chatham on Wednesday. Caldwell remained winless at 0-3, and will play in the West Essex Holiday Tournament, beginning Thursday.

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