CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham's two largest players had the biggest influence on the Cougars' sixth straight boys basketball victory on Tuesday night.
Senior Graham LeMon led the offense with 12 points and classmate John Burkard was credited with limiting Morristown's Kevin Hoehn to 11 points in the 45-40 win.
"I think they were both huge," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "They're seniors and, especially Burkard, has a lot of experience. Graham gives us an inside presence where we get points that we usually don't get. His help-side defense made it very difficult for them."
Hoehn's 3-point attempt with eight seconds left bounced off the far side of the rim (see video below) and Jack Rooney grabbed the rebound for the Cougars and was fouled. He sank both ends of a one-and-one situation with 3.3 seconds showing to seal it.
"I tried to take the pressure off myself," Rooney said. "You just have to think it's going in."
Before Rooney put the game away, Mac Bredahl hit two free throws with 56 seconds left to make it 41-38 for Chatham and then hit two more clutch foul shots with 29 seconds showing for a 43-38 advantage. Hoehn's basket cut it to 43-40.
The 6-6, 280-pound LeMon scored six points in the first period when Chatham (6-1) moved to an 8-0 lead.
"I'm getting more open now and they're making better passes to me," LeMon said. "As long as they're good shots, I'm going to keep taking them. Burkard played some of the best defense I've seen in a long time. I don't know how many points Hoehn had, but he had to fight for every single one of them. It's a big rivalry in every sport. It always feels good to beat Morristown."
Chatham forward John Burkard talks about covering Kevin Hoehn of the Colonials
The 6-6, 215-pound Burkard's three-point play in the third period gave Chatham a 25-23 lead, and Rooney's basket later in the period made it 33-29 for the Cougars.
"Morristown got back into it and fortunately for us they didn't hit the shot," Ervin said. "(Burkard) contested everything. He's a big kid and he got physical with him and that helped. Joe (Reel), our assistant said that we should put Burkard on him because he's bigger. Other guys he'd be able to post up. It worked out perfect for us."
Morristown's Kevin Hoehn takes a shot at tying the game with about eight seconds left
Jack Rooney sinks the front end of a 1-and-1 to help clinch the game for Chatham with 3.3 seconds left
Chatham plays at Mendham on Thursday.