RANDOLPH, N.J. - It was close for three quarters but it was Mt. Olive that took control of the final quarter to win the Morris County Championship over Chatham, 67-54.
"It was a collective effort," Mount Olive head coach Kevin Moore said. "(Anthony) Verrone hit some big shots, (Chris) Grillo hit some big shots, (Jason) Drury hit some big shots and those are all freshmen and sophomores."
Verrone hit one of those big shots right at the start of the fourth quarter. With his team down two, Verrone nailed a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the quarter putting the Marauders up for good. That shot also started Mt. Olive’s domination of the period in which they outscored Chatham 17-2.
The 3-pointer was also Verrone’s only made field goal of the game, as he finished with five points. Mt. Olive was led offensively by Ras Haan Spencer’s 12 points, Ryan Traub’s 11 and 10 from Jason Drury.
In the final quarter, the Marauders continued to pull away putting together 13 consecutive points, eight from the free throw line.
"It was good, we were up and in the back of our minds, we knew we had them," Spencer said. "We had to stay calm and stay low and not get too high."
Scott Baker hit the lone basket of the fourth quarter but at that point it was too late with the Cougars down nine and only two minutes to play.
Late in the second quarter, it looked as if things were going the Cougars way. Chatham went on a small run to end the half to go in the locker room up seven. The Cougars even got the first points of the third quarter to go up nine before a 10-0 Mt. Olive run, fueled by the 3-point shooting of Traub.
Chatham got scoring from multiple players as the Cougars had five with at least eight points. Robert Raiola and Brian Oliver led the way with 11 points each.
This was the first time that Mt. Olive has won the Morris County Championship, revenging their loss in the county final to Chatham last year.
"It's just revenge," tournament MVP Zach Heeman said. "With a couple guys that were in the game last year, we told the seniors that we would get it back for them and we did."