Sports

Highlanders Push Unbeaten Scotch Plains-Fanwood to Brink Before Falling 59-52

Gov. Livingston fourth quarter surge wasn't enough in Tuesday's 59-52 loss to undefeated Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Credits: Kaitlyn Escott
Credits: Kaitlyn Escott
Credits: Kaitlyn Escott
Credits: Kaitlyn Escott
Credits: Kaitlyn Escott
Credits: Kaitlyn Escott

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston (GL) boys basketball team fought back from a 14-point 4th quarter deficit, before their fierce rally fell short as they dropped a 59-52 decision to unbeaten Scotch Plains-Fanwood (8-0) last night in Berkeley Heights. The Raiders remain perfect through their first eight games of the season and hold first place in the UCC-Valley division.

The Raiders were paced by Tommy Drubulis (12 pts) and Teddy Willmott (11 pts) who accounted for six of the seven 3-pointers Scotch Plains-Fanwood hit in the game. GL went on a late 22-7 run to take a one point lead with 1:49 left in the game, but could not hold on as the Raiders defense did not allow their opponents to score again. Sophomore Ryan Davey led the Highlander comeback scoring nine of his career high 22 points in the 4th quarter as the home team hit six 3 balls in the last quarter.

The game started sluggishly as both teams had a difficult time finding their range. The Raiders jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Kevin Keegan (5 pts) scored Gov. Livingston's first hoop mid-way through the first quarter. The two teams offensive woes continued for the remainder of the quarter with both teams struggling to find a rhythm. Billy Pencek (12 pts) did manage to bring the home team crowd back into the game as he stole a pass and scored on a floater as time expired ending the first quarter with GL trailing 8-5.

Sign Up for E-News

The deliberate pace of the Raider offense coupled with an effective Highlander zone defense kept the game close early in the quarter before both teams went on mini runs. After Liam Wolfe (5 pts) scored down low to bring the Highlanders to within one, the Raiders scored the game's next five points. The Highlanders countered with an Evan Reiner drive and Davey’s first of his six threes of the game bringing GL back to within a point once again. However, the Raiders took advantage of the Highlanders' sloppy ball handling and opened up a 10 point lead prompting Highlander Coach Loeffler to call a timeout to get his team settled down. Coming out of the timeout the Highlanders broke the Raider press with Chas DeAngelis feeding Wolfe down low for a bucket. Wolfe converted an and one to bring GL back to within seven. The Raiders got a lift from Peter Warren who scored 8 second quarter points, including a buzzer-beater to put Scotch Plains-Fanwood back up by 10 as the half ended.

Three minutes into the second half GL had cut the Raider lead in half, and it looked like they had worked their way back in the game. Yet once again, the Raiders bumped their lead back to double digits. Davey kept the Highlanders in the game as he started to heat up, scoring nine of his team's 15 third quarter points. The Raiders countered with 16 points in the quarter and expanded their lead to 14 on a Teddy Willmott three-pointer. With two seconds left on the clock, Davey gave the Highlanders some life as he nailed another three. That shot, as it turned out, set the stage for the Highlanders' dramatic fourth quarter run.

Gov. Livingston could have easily folded up as they trailed by 13 a minute into the last quarter, but Davey along with senior Billy Pencek had something else in mind. Over the next 5 minutes of the game, the Highlanders whipped the home town fans into frenzy as they hit six three pointers erasing the 14 point deficit. First Davey lit up the scoreboard hitting back to back threes to bring the Highlanders to within three. The Raiders managed to stem the tide a bit with Tommy Drubulis scoring five points, but Governor Livingston seniors Pencek and Keegan both hit huge shots to keep their run going. The animated, hometown favorite Keegan connected on a three pointer from the corner that brought the GL student section to its feet. Pencek who scored eight of his 12 points in the run, then scored on a drive and stunned the Raiders when he connected on the Highlanders 9th three of the game giving the home team its first lead of the game, 52-51.

However, the Raiders ended the comeback bid as they forced the Highlanders to turnover the ball on consecutive possessions after they had taken back the lead on a baseline jumper with 1:07 left in the contest. SPF closed out the game by knocking down six consecutive free throws as the Highlanders were forced to foul. The Raiders outshot the home team 16-7 from the line, while GL held a 9-7 advantage from behind the arch.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood has now won more games this year (8) than they did the past two season combined. Second year coach Steve Siracusa has engineered a quick turnaround as his young team keeps gains confidence and grinds out victories. The Raiders will be looking to make it nine in a row when they face Cranford on Thursday afternoon in Cranford.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Fanwood, Scotch Plains Receive Union County Grants for Seniors and Roadway Improvement Project

May 28, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ – This week’s Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting was dedicated exclusively to the presentation of checks. “Senior Focus” and “Infrastructure and Municipal Aid” grants were presented to mayors, council members and representatives from towns across the county.

Infrastructure and Municipal Aid Grants ranged from ...

Gas Prices Rise as Memorial Day Weekend Nears

May 24, 2017

NEW JERSEY — After a few weeks of declining prices at the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular gas ticked upward nationally and in New Jersey.

AAA’s May 23rd survey of fuel prices found the current average price for a gallon of gas in New Jersey to be $2.39, three cents higher than a week ago ($2.36), but six cents less than one month ago ($2.45). The ...

Remembering our Service Men & Women

As we enjoy our long weekend and time spent with family and friends, it is important during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend to remember those that gave their lives fighting for our country and all the veterans that served our country, as well as the active servicemen and women. These individuals made countless sacrifices in order to protect our nation and our families, and we should keep them ...

A Letter From Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA Thanking 5K Participants, Sponsors and Volunteers

May 25, 2017

On behalf of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Y and the Scotch Plains Fanwood Parent Teacher Council we would like to thank the participants who raced in our 1 mile and 5 K on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.  United for A Cause is intended to celebrate and provide opportunities for health and wellness within the Scotch Plains-Fanwood community.  Proceeds from United for a Cause will benefit the ...

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

May 24, 2017

It is often very uncomfortable for parents to begin the process of talking about the birds and the bees with their children. Most parents are not sure what they should tell their children about sex and therefore avoid the topic completely. Having age appropriate talks over the course of many years provides your child with the proper information rather than having them hear it from other children ...

UnitedHealthcare Awards $30,000 Grant to Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA to Encourage Children’s Physical Activity and Exercise

May 26, 2017

FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- UnitedHealthcare has awarded $30,000 to the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA to implement a project in its community to support children’s exercise and physical activity. The grant is part of a statewide initiative between UnitedHealthcare and local YMCAs to fight childhood obesity and physical inactivity.

The grant announcement concluded this year’s ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 28, 4:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant Bar Private Events, Scotch Plains

Grillestone Prime Rib & Dinner Buffet

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_da7af9902b013e70ea14_raw_bar_wednesday

Wed, May 31, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant Bar Private Event Space, Scotch Plains

Raw Bar Wednesday

Food & Drink

Thu, June 1, 5:00 PM

Westfield

NJ GreekFest

Food & Drink