Boys Basketball: Raiders Shut Down Gov. Livingston with Strong Second Half Performance, Improve to 16-1

Lamont Cruse running the offense Credits: File photo
​Senior Teddy Willmott tries to escape Gov. Livingston defenders Credits: Robert Fallo
Players getting ready before introductions Credits: Robert Fallo

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- If you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen, and Gov. Livingston was the latest team to run out of the kitchen against the red hot Raiders. Extending their record to 16-1 with a 56-33 victory over the Highlanders Tuesday night, Scotch Plains-Fanwood continued to have the best season in program history.

The turning point of the game came in the second quarter after a stagnant first period that ended in an 8-8 tie. After Gov. Livingston and senior Kevin Keegan (nine points) shot out to a 14-11 lead and captured momentum, Raiders head coach Steve Siracusa called a timeout. His message gave SPFHS inspiration to get their heads back into the game.

“We just told them to give everything they have,” Siracusa said. “Just go all out effort and intensity. I think it showed with our defensive performance. We got a lot of turnovers and that led to a lot of points.”

Sign Up for E-News

The Raiders came out blistering after receiving the pep talk from their second year head coach. They finished off the quarter on a 10-3 run, during which junior Jack Brady scored five of his nine total points.

The timeout had an impact on the second quarter and the rest of the game. The Raiders went into the second half and dominated, showing the relentlessness their coach asked of them by outscoring the Highlanders 35-16.

Along with the fierce playing style the Raiders adapted during the game, the offense began to facilitate with more passes instead of pursing the first chance shot they got on every possession.

“We had some open looks at three and sometimes we settled for it,” Siracusa said. “Shooters are going to shoot and we’re going to keep telling them to shoot that. But in the second half we really just tried to work on getting the best shot. It’s not the first one, it’s the best one after a couple passes and they started doing that which let us score a little more.”

The biggest contributor of that second half offense for SPFHS was junior Lamont Cruse. The hard-nosed point guard used his athleticism to erupt into the paint for easy off the glass finger-rolls, even when experiencing contact from the Highlander big men. Cruse also showed he was not a one-trick pony as he could still pull up from the three-point line with ease. He finished the second half with 11 of his 14 points.

Although the Cruse-led offense put up points, the other side of the court displayed why the Raiders are winning 94 percent of their game this season. The Raiders philosophy has been built on defense, and the in-your-face SPFHS defense has been the backbone of the team for their 2016-17 campaign.

“If teams can’t score that much on us, then it’s going to be tough for them to win,” Siracusa said. “We’re going to find ways to score but if they're going to struggle offensively against us, then I’ll take that everyday. We’re going to have off nights offensively but we can’t have an off night defensively.”

The next contest for the Raiders will be Thursday at home against Cranford, while the Highlanders will also be home Thursday against Summit. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Small Fire Extinguished at Addams Tavern in Westfield

June 13, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — It likely started with a smoldering cigarette, according to Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Tiller.

The fire that started in a flower planter on an outside deck on the second floor of Addams Tavern Wednesday caused a lot of smoke as it spread to the flooring, but only about a three-foot by three-foot area was damaged, Tiller said.

The restaurant at 115 Elm St. is ...

Is Summer Camp the Right Choice for My Child?

Is your child attending camp this summer? Is it their first experience away?  If yes, it can be an experience causing anxiety for you, for the parent and the child. 

This experience can be frightening to your child if it is their first time and it is so important that they do not see your worry or anxiety about leaving home for the first time… especially if it is sleep ...

What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

Watson Coleman Statement on Shooting at Trenton Art All Night

June 17, 2018

Dear Editor:

I am saddened and angered at the violence that took place at Art All Night (in Trenton) early this morning, and I am praying for all of the families involved, but, as I’ve said before, that’s not enough. After every shooting, we talk about motive, mental illness and every other distraction from the real problem — guns.

New Jersey has some of the strongest gun ...

Medical Mystery of the Month – Exploding Head Syndrome

June 4, 2018

Scotch Plains, NJ - Have you ever heard a gunshot or other loud noise when falling asleep or upon waking, but the person right next to you didn’t hear a thing? If so, you may have been experiencing exploding head syndrome (EHS.) Other reported sounds from people who suffer from this condition include roaring, waves crashing, explosions or loud ringing, and for some, flashes of light may ...

Union Catholic Recognized for Donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

June 17, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic was recently recognized for its donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program. 

“We’d like to share our deep appreciation for your generosity and thoughtfulness to local blood cancer patients and their families, Alissa Ali, the Campaign Specialist for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, wrote in a ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Giving Back

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

LifeWay’s 2018 Vacation Bible School at Terrill ...

Religions And Spirituality