PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Coach Darius Griffin said he saw “growth” and “confidence” in his Piscataway High School boys basketball team less than two weeks afte a close loss to South Brunswick, one of the top teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference.
Since falling four games under .500 at that time on Jan. 9, the Chiefs have won two out of their last three games. They beat Monroe at home and East Brunswick on the road for a little two-game winning streak.
Piscataway (4-7) got back in the win column by defeating Monroe, 82-65. The 82 points are the most points it scored all season long. Piscataway, which led by eight at halftime, outscored the Falcons 21-10 in the third quarter to take control.
Johnathan Livingston netted a team-high 25 points while William Corley added 15 and KeShawn Peterson scored 14. Denzel Taylor chipped in with eight points and four assists. Monroe’s Andrew Turco bucketed a game-high 26 points while his teammate Chris Kobierowski had 22. As a team, Piscataway tallied 22 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals, and two blocks.
Two days later, the Chiefs hit the road and defeated East Brunswick in overtime, 58-56. In that one, Livingston missed a layup, but he grabbed the offensive rebound and placed the ball off the glass and in for the buzzer-beater. That was his lone field goal in the contest as he made six foul shots for a total of eight points.
“The last play of the game I knew we needed a bucket. We didn’t have our whole starting five and I didn’t want to go into double-overtime. So, I decided to attack the basket. Even though I missed the first attempt I was able to get it back and finish with the help of my teammate, D’Andre (Randolph). I’ve scored buzzer-beaters before in the past, but this is the one that really mattered.”
Peterson scored a game-high 17 points while Taylor contributed 10. Jaiden Corley also scored eight points. Aaron Austin recorded seven. Jalen Pichardo led the Bears with 14 while Devin Kennedy and Max Tischauser had 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Less than 48 hours later, Piscataway faced East Brunswick once again at home due to a scheduling computer error.
The Bears were able to get revenge with a tight 49-45 win.
After Tischauser missed a foul shot with 13.5 seconds remaining, Piscataway pulled down the rebound down 44-42, but Pichardo stole the ball and notched a layup-and-one giving the Bears a 47-42 advantage. Piscataway was able to drain a 3-pointer to make it 47-45, but Tischauser then made two foul shots for the final margin with 2.8 seconds left. Piscataway held a slight 37-36 lead with five minutes to go.
Livingston ended up with 14 points, Peterson deposited 11, and Corley scored eight.
Despite the loss, Piscataway is starting to play its ball. The Chiefs have 10 regular season tilts left before the start of the GMC Tournament and the state tournament, and should it get in.
They next face New Brunswick at 5:00 p.m. on Monday as part of the MLK Roundball Showcase. Tuesday, Piscataway goes to battle with J.P. Stevens before playing Perth Amboy on Thursday in the Anthony Gymnasium.
“Even with the loss against EB our team is starting to come together,” Livingston said. “We will continue to get better throughout the regular season and will shock everyone in the county playoffs and states. Taking our team as a joke will lead to their downfall.”
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
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