RANDOLPH, NJ - It didn't take long for Graham LeMon to think of the fringe benefits that come with winning the Most Valuable Player award in the Morris County Tournament Championship game.
“The best part about it is I can go home to my brother (Tristan) and say ‘Hey guess what? I’m the MVP and you weren’t. Deal with it,’” LeMon said.
Tristan LeMon was a starter on the 2016 Chatham team that won the Morris County Tournament title, a team that "little brother" Graham was a bench player on.
The 6-6 senior scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the MCT final, a 60-55 win over top-seeded Morristown-Beard on Saturday at the County College of Morris. For his efforts throughout the tournament, he was named the Most Valuable Player.
Graham LeMon talks about winning the MVP of the Morris County Tournament
“He's been great all year," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "He’s been our go-to guy. The other team has to guard him or double him, and that just opens everything up.”
The game plan for the Cougars was to score in the paint, which they were able to do thanks to strong post play from LeMon and John Burkard. The two combined for 31 of Chatham’s 60 points.
“We knew coming into this game that we had a huge size mismatch,” said LeMon, who scored a career-best 26 points against Morristown-Beard on Jan. 13. “Me and Burkard, we just kept going to the basket and our guards kept feeding us.”
In addition to a double-double, LeMon made several key plays to help push Chatham ahead. With the game tied at 44 with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter, LeMon drove inside and hit a go-ahead layup as he was fouled. He missed the bonus free throw, but Kyle Kology was able to corral the rebound and find Jack Rooney, who hit a jumper to extend Chatham’s lead to 48-44.
Perhaps the most important play of the night came from LeMon late in the fourth quarter. Clinging to a one-point lead with 57 seconds left, Chatham looked to LeMon once again. Driving inside, the senior was fouled as he put up a left-handed layup, which rattled around the rim and in. After hitting the following free throw, LeMon had extended Chatham’s lead to 54-50.
“I was thinking on the line as I was shooting the ball, ‘Alright, big players make big shots,’” LeMon said. “And thank God it went in.”
As if his performance on the court was not enough, LeMon was also among several honorees at halftime. For his efforts as a basketball player, LeMon was awarded the Morris County Coaching Legends Scholarship. His father, James, accepted the award on his behalf during the ceremony at halftime. LeMon stated that he was glad to be among the recipients of the scholarship.