CHATHAM, NJ - The points were hard to come by on Saturday when Chatham and Montville squared off in the first round of the Morris County Tournament.
Chatham had just enough points and defense to sneak past Montville, 34-32, earning a quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 seed Jefferson, 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Randolph High.
Sophomore Stefan Goles hit a big 3-pointer with 4:08 left that staked Chatham to a 33-29 lead and then defended the final 3-point shot taken by Montville to seal the nail-biter for the Cougars.
"It was probably the best defense we played all year in that last minute," said Graham Delaney, who led Chatham with 11 points. "We just weren't going to let them beat us on our home court."
Montville called three time outs down the stretch, the last with 4.6 seconds left in an attempt to tie the game or win it with a 3-pointer. But Chatham's defense just wouldn't be beat.
"We played better defense," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "The last minute is as good as we've played defensively this year. We didn't give them anything. No open looks. We had a couple breakdowns during the game, but we'll take it."
Senior guard Robert Raiola found himself on the bench for a good portion of the game with foul trouble and Colin McKenna fouled out of the game with 2:45 left. It was Raiola who drove the lane and kicked it oiut to Goles for his big 3-pointer.
"With Luke (Conrad) out, we've been struggling a little bit to score the ball," Raiola said. "Again, with last game and today, I think we're getting open looks, it's just that they're not falling. When you're offense isn't going well, you have to play defense. Coach said the last minute of the game we really buckled down. Even though we didn't score, you can still win if you defend."
Chatham attempted only four free throws in the game, the first two by McKenna with 6:47 showing in the fourth quarter. Montville sank eight of 17 free throws in the game.
Bobby Raiola drives to the basket for Chatham against Montville below