Millburn, NJ- The Millburn Millers boys team invaded Livingston and left with a statement victory. Millburn more than doubled their previous offensive output in this game, winning 89-68. Charlie Levison paved the way for Millburn, scoring 22 points and recording many steals on the other end. Ross Gang had 17 points, a handful of rebounds and assists while Zach Ravitz added 16 points and a lot of rebounds. Adam Liu scored 9 off the bench, and was a spark for the Miller defense. The Millers only scored 43 in their opening game.
The answer to that strange fact is easy: the Grinnell System. Livingston hired Coach Kyle Just and he uses this style of play. It was invented at Division III School Grinnell for their basketball team and it’s very controversial. The Grinnell System is a type of playing style that is extremely rare and unique. The purpose of playing basketball is to simply score more points than the other team. The Grinnell System takes that to another level as the strategy is a very offensive-oriented style. The whole point of the system is hurry up the game play and get the opponent tired. On offense, the team using it shoots almost all their shots from behind the three point arc. All the players except for the shooter crash the glass to get the offensive rebound so that team can shoot another three pointer. On defense, the team using it does a full court press, tries to steal it and hit a three pointer. As we saw with Livingston today, the team using the system tries to hurry the tempo of the game so much, that they purposely give up easy baskets to get the ball and try to score on offense. The team using the system also subs all five players on the court for a new set of five players. These substitutions occur every dead ball and the reasoning is to keep that team’s players fresh while having the opposing players tired. Since the Grinnell System uses all fifteen players on a roster, they aren’t afraid to foul because they have so many fouls to give. The team using it is very aggressive with trying to steal the ball and that sometimes can cause fouls, which are expendable to that team.
The Lancers used that philosophy today and the Millers had to adjust. Millburn Coach Rodger Blind had a great gameplan against the Grinnell System. He started off his defense in a 2-3 zone and later stretched it out, resulting in four defenders on the three point arc and it created harder shots for the Lancers.
The game started fast, as the Millers frequently broke the Lancer press and scored inside at will. Charlie Levison led the way with 14 points in the first half, all of which came in the paint. The Millers were leading the whole first half, and whenever the Millers had a big lead, Livingston would make a couple three pointers to narrow the gap. Eric Silverstein had 9 points in the first half. Although the Millers turned the ball over multiple times because of the trap, they usually made up for it by making crisp passes on the next possession.
The first half came to a close at a score of 47-36 Millburn. The third quarter was a very balanced quarter, with Millburn outscoring the Lancers 23-21. In that period, Ross Gang made one of the plays of the game. Coach Blind was barking orders out to one of his players, and the ball was coming his way. Blind wasn’t paying attention and Gang not only saved the ball from hitting Blind, but intercepted a Livingston pass, threw a dart to a Miller for an easy lay up, and didn’t hit Blind in the process.
It all turned downhill for the Lancers in the fourth quarter. Livingston started to miss their three point shots and it led to a big Millburn lead. Not coincidentally, this was around the point in the game where Blind made his defensive shift. Livingston only recorded 11 points in the quarter, by far their lowest of the season. After a late timeout, Coach Just stopped doing the full court trap to see if would mess up Millburn’s offense and save energy for his players. It was just the opposite as Millburn continued to score with little resistance. A story of the game was the rebound margin. The Millers corralled 38 rebounds in the game, which is way more than Livingston, especially on the offensive glass.
With the win, Millburn advances to 2-0 on the young season. They play their third division game against North 13th Street Tech in Millburn on Thursday at 4pm.