Randolph beats top-seeded Mo-Beard in OT; Chatham advances in MCT

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball

RANDOLPH — Even after Morristown-Beard’s Harrison Rosemond threw in a ridiculous 3-point shot to send the game into overtime, Randolph’s Julian Aiken believed there was no way the Rams were going to leave their home court in defeat. The Randolph standout made sure of it.

Aiken scored 43 points including six of the 10 points scored in overtime to lift Randolph to a 71-61 upset victory in the quarterfinal round of the Morris County Tournament held at Randolph High School on Saturday.

Aiken also passes the 1,000th point milestone although it wasn’t announced during the heated contest. His varsity total now stands at 1,015.  Brian Bartner scored 23 points for the top-seeded Crimson. Harrison Rosemond scored 16 including a dramatic buzzer beater that sent Morristown-Beard fans flying out of the stands only to be called back because it wasn’t a game winner. Chris Jenkins added 14 for the previously undefeated team.

Randolph, the eighth-seeded team, will play Chatham in next week’s semifinals. Jonathan Berntsen scored 19 points and Joe Timmes added 12 points in Chatham’s 44-33 triumph over Madison. Scott Jouan scored 12 for Madison in the defensive-minded contest. After a slow first half, Chatham, the fourth seed, was able to pull away late in the fourth quarter.

Randolph’s Julian Aiken scores two of his 43 points in Saturday’s MCT quarterfinal round contest against top-seeded Morristown-Beard.

“We talked about this being our game,’’ Aiken said going into the overtime. “We knew we weren’t the same team that lost to them earlier in the season. … The key to the overtime was that we knew we were better than them. They got off a lucky shot and we knew we were going to win that game.’’

The Rams were determined to defeat the Crimson, which had beaten them on their home court last month. The fourth quarter was extremely intense with four lead changes and two ties. A layup by Aiken with 1:11 left in regulation gave Randolph a 60-56 advantage.

Jenkins hit a layup after a Rosenbergmiss to make it a two-point game. The teams exchanged possessions inside of a minute and Aiken missed a chance to seal the victory by missing the front end of a one-and-one

Randolph’s Ryan Harris was fouled after intercepting a tipped pass and was fouled. He would hit one of two with 11.7 seconds left. A three-point effort by Jenkins missed but was ruled to be off a Randolph player with three seconds left. The baseline inbounds was passed to Rosemond at the top left side of the arc. He was immediately swarmed by Randolph players and he let go an off-balance shot that rattled into the net to tie the game at 61-all at the end of regulation.

Randolph didn’t let Morristown-Beard’s success carry into the overtime. The Crimson missed all five shots from the field, while Aiken hit a pair of layups and was 4 of 6 from the free throw line. Rams’ Connor McMahon hit the only otherRandolphbasket off an Aiken pass.

“I feel like when I start going, we all start flowing and we play as a team,’’ Aiken said. “I get everyone involved. We all just start going and teams can’t play with us.’’

A Randolph defender seals off the lane as Morristown’s Chris Jenkins looks for an opening during MCT action.

It looked like Randolph would run away with the game early. The Rams went on an 18-5 first-quarter burst and took a 34-23 advantage at the half. Overall,Randolphhas been getting better over the course of the season in its defense. For this game, the Rams junked there zone defenses in favor of strictly man-to-man and it worked.

“In the beginning of the season we couldn’t defend five dead ants,’’ Randolph coach Bill Kilduff said. “Our defense was horrendous and we would play zone in the hope (opponents) would foul up shots.’’

One player that put in a day’s work was Rams’ Aaron Harris. Although undersized against the taller Jenkins, Harris used muscle and leverage to force the Crimson’s junior standout to work for every basket in the paint.

“Aaron did an unbelievable job on a big time player,’’ Kilduff said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s a great football player and that’s how he plays defense. He worked on the defensive end and that’s all I can ask.’’

McMahon and Patrick Archer also battled for rebounds and along with Harris made sure leapers like Rosemond and Jenkins couldn’t get easy rebounds and putbacks.

Despite the Rams best efforts, Morristown-Beard chipped away at the lead during the third quarter and early fourth quarter. Back-to-back layups by Jenkins and a 3-point play by Tyler Terens cut the Rams lead to single-digits at 48-42.

“They switched to a 2-3 (defense) and we were off a little bit,’’ Aiken said.

Morristown-Beard started the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run which included a Terens 3-pointer and putbacks by Jenkins and Terens to give Morristown-Beard its first lead at 49-48 with 4:30 left in the game. It would be a thrilling battle the rest of the way.

Chatham’s Thomas Stephan (5) defends a Madison player during the first half of Saturday’s quarterfinal game.

Chatham 44, Madison 33

 Chatham’s Jonathan Berntsen isn’t surprised at how well his teammates have been playing. He’s just happy to join in the fun. The Cougars starting point guard had been laid up with a torn meniscus of his right knee since the holidays. Only recently has he gotten back on the court in a surprisingly short amount of time and despite some pain he made a big difference in Chatham’s triumph on Saturday.

“I’m still a little tentative and I’m still doing some physical therapy but I’m still pushing,’’ Berntsen said. “I saw (my teammates) every day in practice. It was just a matter of them knowing what they could do and stepping up.

“My role has changed. I used to think I had to score. From the bench I see now that everybody can shoot and everybody can score. I’m just trying to be a point guard and a leader.’’

Chatham’s Joe Timmes rips down a rebound during Saturday’s MCT victory over Madison.

But Berntsen can score, too. He had 17 of his 19 points in the second half and didn’t look like a player who might be a little rusty from not practicing. He had seven of his team’s 12 third-quarter points in the low scoring contest.

“He played well and we certainly needed it tonight,’’ Chatham coach Todd Ervin said.

 The Cougars believed much of their success against the Dodgers came from working hard on box outs. Matt Gilbert, Sean Haughey and several others Dodgers are tall and have long arms to out reach the smaller Cougars but the Chatham players got better position.

“We went with our basics,’’ Ervin said. “Make sure you get a good block out and go for the ball. I thought we did a really good job on keeping them off the glass.’’

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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