DENVILLE, NJ - In men's varsity basketball action on Tuesday, the Chatham Cougars soundly defeated the Morris Catholic Crusaders 48-29. Chatham played stellar defense throughout and it held their opponents to only 13 points in the first half and 16 in the second. Coming off a two-game skid, it was a big win for the Cougars as they head into a tough week with matchups against Mountain Lakes and Delbarton. Momentum was key and it will have a big impact on County Tournament seeding which will be released Sunday.
Both teams shot poorly from the floor. Coming off a 1/14 performance from three-point range against Mendham, the Cougars shot 1/13 last evening after sophomore Jonathan Berntsen made their first and only three-pointer on the first possession of the game. Usually a good shooting team, they found their treasures in the transition game and many of their points came from easy baskets on fast breaks. In the first quarter, the Cougars struggled with the press. After a timeout, they were able to regroup and break the full-court look thrown at them.
The Crusaders struggled in nearly all offensive categories, shooting 21.2% from the floor and committing 10 turnovers. The stifling Cougar defense forced poor shot selection and gave up easy transition buckets going the other way.
The game did not last long, for the referees called a total of only 19 fouls throughout the game including zero in the first quarter.
Chatham improved to 7-4 on the season and will face Mountain Lakes at home Thursday. For the Cougars, junior guard Brendan Damodaran scored 19 points and tallied a career-high seven rebounds. After the game, Damodaran was sure to credit his teammates. "I wasn't shooting the ball well, but I got to the rack. I got good passes and easy lay-ups."
Senior forward Kevin Giannattasio grabbed eight boards; he also mentioned the contributions that his fellow Cougars made. "We played great defense and had the pedal to the metal the whole game. It is nice to have everyone get involved."
Senior Christopher Conroy had 11 points.
For Morris Catholic, Brett Bially had 11 points. They fell to 3-8 after the loss and will face Pequannock on the road Thursday.