MILLBURN, NJ — After suffering consecutive defeats at the hands of Montclair Kimberley and Orange, the Millburn Boys Basketball team came to play on Thursday against their rivals, taking down Livingston 50-39 at home.
The Millers led from start to finish, completing the first quarter with a six-point lead and carrying that until halftime, thanks to a strong two quarters from Benjy Goldberg, who scored 9 of his team-leading 12 points before the intermission.
In the second half, it was much of the same, with the Lancers struggling to muster anything consistently on the offensive end. A multitude of defensive stops instilled confidence in the Millers and allowed them to play relaxed basketball with the lead.
In the fourth quarter, Millburn put the game away for good, finishing with a 7-point advantage in the final period. Jayson Levy, who tied for third in the team-lead for points in the contest, was nearly perfect from the free-throw line, hitting five of six attempts. Consistency at the charity stripe was a fixture in Millburn’s victory, as the Millers ended the game converting seven of eight (88%) opportunities from the line.
After the game, Goldberg and Head Coach Pat Leonardis gave their thoughts on the final result.
Goldberg credited his teammates with his successful shooting night, allowing him to see the court clearly and nail tough looks.
“It was really my teammates,” Goldberg said. “They really were doing a good job penetrating through the middle. I was just spotting up. In practice we do spot-up threes, just doing what I do.”
Goldberg also discussed how Coach Leonardis spotted the team’s main problem that was allowing Livingston to keep it close. “We just had to limit our turnovers. That was our main issue [for] the past two years, turnovers. So if we limit our turnovers, we’re a pretty good team.”
Leonardis felt his team did an excellent job staying locked in after a tough loss on Tuesday.
“I thought we had a great practice yesterday,” Leonardis said. “We fixed a lot of things that we’ve kind of been doing wrong in games, and our confidence level is increasing. Our team chemistry is just terrific. I couldn’t be more pleased with that.”
He continued, “And to be able to come back after a tough loss Tuesday night at Orange and bounce back against a very good Livingston team, I commend the kids greatly for that.” Leonardis added, “We have a tough game tomorrow against North Hunterdon, going up there, but at the same time like I told the guys in the locker room tonight, we’ve just got to stay focused for 32 minutes, limit our turnovers, have good quality possessions [and] just keep playing defense the way we’re doing.”
Millburn’s next game will be today (Jan. 17) at North Hunterdon at 4:30 pm, as they look to move above .500 on the season.