MILLBURN, NJ- The Millburn boys basketball team dropped in a nail-biting finale to a mercurial game. The Millburn offense was everywhere from non-existent to unstoppable in their 46-43 loss in Bloomfield on Tuesday. With the game tied, Kyle Barrow got a defensive rebound, quickly dribbled to half court, and launched a shot that found the net off the backboard. The referees put 2.0 seconds back on the clock for Millburn, but they were unable to get a shot off and the game ended in a bitter defeat.
Michael Ramos led the way for the Bloomfield Bengals as he dropped 14 points, including seven free throws. Myles Toppin added 11 points and brought his defense as he contained Zach Ravitz. On the other side of the court, Ravitz scored 19 hard points, and Ross Gang chipped in 14 points with two blocks.
The game started off slow, with both offenses coming out flat. Millburn's gameplan focused on feeding Ravitz at the post, but since Ravitz was such a factor in their previous meeting, the Bengals double teamed him from the start. The Bengals started four guards with Toppin at center making double teaming easier for the Bengals. Ravitz still managed to score 7 of the Millburn 9 first quarter points. Bloomfield got off to a nice start offensively scoring 5 points in their first few possessions but then once Matt Bernstein checked into the game for Millburn, things turned around. Bernstein defended Ramos and only allowed a few points and a lot of missed shots from Bloomfield's leading scorer. The first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie.
The second quarter was all Bloomfield's with an 8-1 run. Ramos, Richie Guillaume, and Francis Lorenzo all put their dribbling moves on display. Barrow, Lorenzo, and Toppin each hit a 3 pointer in the second quarter and they had all the momentum. Millburn's offensive struggles continued to magnify scoring only 5 points in the quarter. Ravitz hit a 3 pointer later in the quarter to make the score 23-14 at halftime. 14 points at the half was the second-lowest scoring half in the season for Millburn.
In the third, Ramos started to wake up, driving and constantly getting to the charity stripe. The Miller offense was still going through Ravitz who found openings in the double teams as the game progressed. Bernstein became a bigger part of the offense adding solid assists. Levison also contributed on the defensive end, shutting down Guillaume. Mayowa Akindebe, a big center for Bloomfield got a lot of rebounds and scored all 6 points in this frame. Towards the end of the third quarter, Gang started to take over the game, and it carried into the fourth. Bloomfield was still leading 34-22 at the end of the third.
Millburn stormed into the fourth quarter scoring their points quick and efficiently. Ravitz was back to true form, and Gang led the fast breaks. Millburn enforced a full-court press that created numerous turnovers and rushed shots for Bloomfield. Millburn took full advantage of these miscues and took off on a scoring rally. Millburn gradually chipped away at the 12 point lead but every time Millburn came within striking distance, Bloomfield scored to keep the deficit just out of reach. With around 3 minutes to go, Millburn made it a 2 point game with a pair of Ravitz free throws. Millburn stole a Bloomfield pass, ran a smooth, fast break, and finished with a crucial and-one for Gang. He converted the free throw and Millburn had their first lead since the opening score of the game. The next few possessions were back and forth scoring, and the game was knotted at 43. Millburn forced a missed shot on Bloomfield with 30 seconds and called timeout. Millburn ran the clock down to 10 seconds when Bernstein found himself open for a layup, but the ball rattled out after it appeared to be halfway in. Bloomfield's Barrow corralled the rebound and made a game-winning half court shot.
Millburn drops to 15-2 and 7-2 in division games. The play the 14-2 Orange in their next game in Orange tonight.