Chatham outscores Randolph

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball

RANDOLPH – In basketball, the best defense really isn’t a good offense. However, if a team can score points and execute well on the offensive end it doesn’t have to worry about its defense quite so much.

Senior guard Sam Carson scored 17 points and Joe Timmes scored 16 points to lift Chatham to a 72-64 triumph over Randolph in an NJAC-National Division contest on Thursday.

Daniel McGinley and Scott Baker added nine points apiece for the top-ranked Cougars (16-3). The victory avenges a 65-59 loss that Chatham suffered against Randolph on January 8 to even the season series. The contest was also a good tune-up for the Cougars who will be playing Mountain Lakes in the Morris County Tournament quarterfinals on the Randolph High court on either Saturday or Sunday depending upon the impending storm.

Senior guard Ryan Harris scored 22 points and junior guard Mike Talbert contributed 17 for Randolph (10-12). The Rams trailed throughout but cut their deficit to 66-62 with 1:20 left in regulation. However, Rob Raiola knocked down a pair of free throws and Carson knocked down four in a row down the stretch to cement the win.

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Randolph’s Aaron Harris (33) battles Chatham’s Joe Timmes (34) and Garrett McAuliffe (24) for the ball. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The Cougars were concerned about Ryan Harris and his ability to score points in bunches. He scored 11 of his 22 in the fourth quarter. Despite their best defensive efforts, Harris was able to generate offense and get the Rams within striking distance.

“Obviously he’s a good player so he is going to make some shots,’’ Timmes said. “He made a lot of them tonight. We weren’t as good as we should have been in defending the pick and roll with him coming around the screen. We have to make adjustments next time. We might see him in the semifinals.’’

Chatham coach Todd Ervin didn’t have too many complaints about the efforts of Raiola and Drew Ballard in their attempts to stop Harris. Sometimes players just get hot from the floor.

“Harris was ridiculous,’’ Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. “The shots he was making were crazy. Fortunately we were able to score. The difference between the last game (against them) and this one was that we did not shoot well (last month). Today, we scored.’’

Chatham’s ability to create its own offense wasn’t a given. Starting point guard and quality ballhandler Luke Conrad missed his third game in a row with concussion symptoms and is not expected back for another week or two. Carson did a good job in bringing the ball up the floor. The Cougars were also able to pass through most of the Rams’ defensive pressures and excelled in moving the ball to look for open shots once they ran their offensive sets.

“It’s tough to lose an experienced guard like Luke who can play lights out,’’ Timmes said. “We have so many guys who can step up and fill the void and are definitely capable of making big plays at the right times. Hopefully, when he comes back we will be even better.’’

What Chatham might have done best against Randolph was close out the game, something that has not always been easy this season. With two minutes left and a 65-60 lead, the Cougars spread the court out and went into their “passing game” offense. It took a minute off the clock, and forced the Rams to foul in order to get the ball back. Chatham knocked down its free throws, six in a row in the final minute, to secure the win.

“We were both in the double bonus so it came down to a free throw shooting contest,’’ Timmes said. “We had the advantage in the points. All we needed to do was make our shots.’’

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Chatham’s Drew Ballard keeps pace with Randolph’s Ryan Harris in first-half action. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Seven different Chatham players scored in the first quarter to help the Cougars to a 22-13 lead. The tempo slowed a little bit in the second quarter as Chatham maintained a 31-25 halftime edge. Although the Cougars have been pushing the tempo more in recent games, they didn’t force the issue with the Rams which ran well with up-tempo Mount Olive in a victory on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t a Grinnell pace but it wasn’t slow Princeton either,’’ Timmes said. “It was kind of in between. Sometimes it’s fast stretches and sometimes it’s pretty slow. They got out on us sometimes and they scored some easy buckets in transition. We worked on stopping that in the second half and we got some easy buckets.’’

Chatham maintained a double-digit advantage for much of the third quarter. A high arching 3-point shot by McGinley with 1:56 remaining in the period gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 52-37. A 3-pointer by Harris cut it the Randolph deficit to 55-43 by the end of the third quarter.

Harris, who scored 28 points against Mount Olive, seemed to be just warming up. The talented Randolph guard set off a 12-2 run with a pair of 3-point shots and four consecutive free throws to make it a 57-52 game at the six-minute mark.

“He hit some crazy shots,’’ Ervin said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to make everything difficult for him.’’

However each time Randolph cut its deficit to within five points or less, Chatham had an answer. McGinley, who works in reserve most of the time, had his best offensive game of the season. The Chatham senior guard put in his second high-arching 3-pointer of the game to bump Chatham’s lead back to eight points.

“A lot of guys like McGinley and Baker hit some big shots for us,’’ Timmes said. “Carson was hot from the line; everybody is stepping up and playing well.’’

Conrad has been one of the Cougars most consistent scorers. All the Chatham players seemed to chip in to fill that void.

“We got production,’’ Ervin added. “McGinley got some points, (Brian) Oliver got (five) points. Raiola got (seven) points. A lot of other kids got into the action which was something we needed to do.’’

With about 3:50 left in regulation, Randolph’s Ryan Mahoney knocked down a jumper to make it 64-60. Carson was fouled on a drive and hit a free throw to make it a 5-point game. Then a Timmes’ steal turned into a jump ball that went Chatham’s way.

The teams exchanged possessions off missed shots but when the Cougars got the ball at the two-minute mark they went to their delay offense. They passed the ball around skillfully and took nearly a minute off the clock before the Rams fouled them. Chatham outscored Randolph 7-4 the rest of the way.

Randolph was 1 for 4 from the field in the final minute. Nearly every miss turned into a Rams foul and a trip to the line for the Cougars. It provided their eventual victory.

“It’s hard for them to outscore us when were making free throws,’’ Ervin said.

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Randolph’s Mike Talbert (21) knifes through the Chatham defense on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Morris County results

Mendham 47, West Morris 44 – Bobby Stoltz’s 16 point performance paced the Minutemen (11-7). Mendham rallied from a 27-20 halftime deficit to earn its fourth consecutive victory. Pat Barron scored 17 points for the Highlanders (8-11).

Pequannock 46, Boonton 44 – Kurt Weinmann scored 13 points and Kevin Glynn added 11 for the Golden Panthers (11-9). Sammi Asani scored 17 points and knocked down three 3-pointers for the Bombers (5-14).

Dover 63, Parsippany 48 – The Tigers went on a 20-5 first-quarter run and maintained an advantage the rest of the way. Ryan Charyshyn scored 23 points and Joe Lopez added 17 for Dover (9-11). Lionel Chambers scored 17 points for the Red Hawks (4-14).

Whippany Park 60, Kinnelon 49 – Jake Waddon scored 15 points including 11 in the fourth quarter for the Wildcats (9-7). Ken Jones and Ryan Gaynor scored 13 points apiece for Whippany Park. Sean Robbins scored 18 points and Evan Argirou added 14 points for the Colts.

Mountain Lakes 67, Morris Catholic 46 – Chris Herring and Paul Tarnawski scored 20 points apiece to fuel the Lakers victory. Pierce Langlois added 14 for Mountain Lakes (13-4). A 28-10 third-quarter run helped the Lakers build a 55-37 advantage going into the final period. Andre Spruill scored nine points for the Crusaders.

Morristown 55, Parsippany Hills 45 – James Mongey scored 13 points and Zach Certner added 12 for the Colonials (14-4). Morristown is on a four-game winning streak. Mike DiEdwardo paced the Vikings with 14 points.

Jefferson 59, Kittatinny 35 – The Falcons improve to 14-3 with a triumph over the winless Cougars.

Montville 49, High Point 38 – Jacob Kaplan scored 15 points and grab five rebounds and Tyler Storch scored 13 points including three 3-pointers for the Mustangs. Montville pulled away with a 12-4 fourth-quarter effort.

Summit 56, Madison 44 – Sean Haughey scored 28 points including seven 3-pointers for the Dodgers.

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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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