MORRISTOWN, NJ - Graham DeLaney started the night off by hitting his first two 3-pointers and then practically held off Delbarton by himself with 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as Chatham defeated the Green Wave, 55-47, on Friday night.
"Graham played another good game," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "He just gives us leadership."
The Cougars knocked down 11 3-pointers in the game for the third time this season. DeLaney led the way with four, freshman guard Jack Rooney connected for three and Tristan LeMon hit two. Chatham (7-2) received a trey apiece from Niko Goles and Johnny Maurer.
Despite all the long-range shooting, DeLaney and Rooney provided two uplifting highlights for the Cougars on drives to the basket. DeLaney cut through the lane and finished with a soft scoop shot for a 41-32 lead with a minute left in the third. In the fourth quarter, Rooney left his man flat-footed with a move to his left and then dashed to the rim and leapt between two Delbarton defenders to bank in a layup, pushing the Chatham lead to 49-41.
"Rooney handles the ball so well," Ervin said. "He can create on his own and also spot up and shoot."
Chatham came out shooting from the start, DeLaney hit two 3-pointers on his first two attempts, Stefan Goles completed a three-point play and Niko Goles drove the baseline for two and then took a pass from DeLaney and nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner. It was his first 3-point attempt of the season.
"It's the first one and the only one I'll attempt," Niko Goles said. "I'll never take another one. It's just not me."
With 20 seconds left in the first quarter, Rooney (13 points) stole the ball and dropped in a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 17-11 edge heading into the second. In the second quarter, Rooney, LeMon and Maurer all hit treys, helping Chatham take a 31-20 lead into the break.
"It's not like we go looking for them," Ervin said of the 3-pointers. "We have enough good shooters that if we move the ball well enough, we'll get an open three. We seem to make them more than we do twos it seems. When Niko makes a three, you know things are going well."
Ervin was in fact right about hitting more 3-pointers than two-point buckets. The Cougars hit four more 3-pointers than 2-pointers (7) in the game.
In the third quarter, the Green Wave used a full-court press to get back in the game. Delbarton (4-4) scored the first eight points of the third quarter, cutting it to 31-28 before Chatham regained its balance.
"We came out flat after the half and their press flustered us a little bit," DeLaney said. "We started getting our composure back with a couple minutes left in the third quarter and we buckled down on the defensive end. We were patient on offense, which really helped us get the buckets we were looking for. And we hit our free throws, too, which was key.".
Steve Clapp's 3-pointer just before the third-quarter buzzer sounded sliced Delbarton's deficit to 41-37, but DeLaney caught fire again in the fourth by hitting two straight 3-pointers.
"We were playing not to lose and not playing to win," Ervin said. "I called time out, addressed it and right after that Graham hit two threes.That helped."
DeLaney scored 10 points and Rooney had the other four to give Chatham all its points in the fourth quarter. DeLaney sank both ends of a one-and-one foul situation with 51 seconds left and Rooney did the same with 34 seconds showing to clinch it.
"You can't live and die by the three, but if you're making them it really helps," DeLaney said. "We were a little short in height with Colin (McKenna) out (ankle sprain), but we picked up three wins this week."
McKenna might be ready to play on Wednesday, Jan. 14, when Roxbury visits for a 7 p.m. tipoff. But Chatham is playing so well that Ervin indicated he might have McKenna wait an extra game to make sure his ankle is healed.
Tristan LeMon nails a 3-pointer in the third quarter for Chatham on a pass from Stefan Goles