RANDOLPH, NJ—The Randolph High School Boys basketball team scored a convincing win against Chatham on Monday, February 1 at Randolph High School. After the Rams won the first two games of their season, they went on a three-game skid and got back in the win column with a dominant victory last night.
The Rams opened the game like they were shot out of a cannon, scoring 18 points in the first four minutes which forced Chatham to call an early timeout to regroup. Senior captain Jamal Santana got hot early as he hit two three-pointers and drove to the rim for a pair of easy layups. Junior Matia Clement continued his hot shooting streak by hitting two wide open threes from the corner to increase the lead.
Chatham countered the Rams' offense with some of their own, closing the gap to five points by the end of the quarter.
“It was great to see us hitting shots early. Unfortunately, Chatham was too, so we didn't have an opportunity to expand the lead.” said head coach Nicholas Lavender. “We kept playing together and went on a couple runs to maintain the lead.”
In the second quarter, the Rams played incredible defense, and the offense was firing all cylinders just like at the start. Senior center Justin Lawler tormented the Cougars with a couple of steals that led to fast breaks and sparked a 7-0 run, forcing another Chatham timeout.
For Chatham, Sophomore Ryan Leskaukas and junior Cam Rooney began to struggle putting the ball in the basket. Luckily for the Cougars, senior Jack Casano-Boris was able to hit one shot behind the arc to avoid being blanked in the quarter. The Rams would go on to outscore the Cougars 12-3 to extend their lead to 12 points at the half.
Junior Brendan Cox played a pivotal part in the win, stepping up as a leader on both sides of the ball. Cox dove for loose balls, got deflections, and had a blocked shot, all resulting in a host of easy transition points. Cox stuffed the stat sheet with a team- and career-high 14 points using his quickness to get to the basket easily, while also crashing the boards to accumulate nine rebounds and dishing out two assists.
“I felt that my aggressiveness getting to the basket and not hesitating to shoot definitely helped.” Cox commented about his performance. “Coach has been emphasizing that I attack the basket and be assertive.”
“Brendan Cox really stepped up tonight. We've been pushing him to be more aggressive and start taking the ball hard to the basket. He did a great job of that early on, and it allowed him to stretch the floor with his jump shot in the second half,” Lavender mentioned after the game.
In the third quarter, the Cougars staged a brief comeback, but the Rams responded by keeping pace to take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter.
To make sure the Rams maintained their intensity, Lavender decided to get some fresh legs into the game along with Cox. The team got solid contributions from Teddy Shultz (5 points), Sean Lawler (5 points, 6 rebounds), Liam Cassels (6 points on 2 three-pointers, one assist), Pat Hellyer (2 assists) and Anthony Oh (2 rebounds) to shred Chatham’s defense and finish strong securing a 61-42 win.
Lavender was very happy to see everyone contribute to a solid team win, “It’s always good to get different guys in the game, so they get some experience.”
Santana looked forward to what is next for the team, “The goal for our team is to finish strong and win our last three games.”
The Rams take on the Delbarton Green Wave in their next game at Randolph High School on Friday Mar. 2. The Rams will look to improve their record to 4-3. To view more game photos CLICK HERE
Editor's Note: Matthew Blutig is a junior at RHS, participating in a Journalism program with TAPinto Randolph