ROXBURY, NJ – In dramatic fashion, the Roxbury Gaels boys' basketball team secured their eighth victory Wednesday night, defeating Chatham, 32-29, on their home court.
Chatham came out red-hot, driving hard and finishing near the basket. And when the drive was not there, they were able to shoot the three with junior Jake Bevich and big man Stefan Goles.
Roxbury had a tough time responding, which put them at a disadvantage at the end of one, when the scoreboard showed 13-10 in favor of the Cougars. But going into the second quarter, the Gaels tightened up on defense only allowing five points to be scored by Chatham, and the Gaels were able to finally clean-up their offensive struggles.
Led by their guards, senior Anthony McMyne and junior Steven Loreng, the Gaels managed to tie the score at 15 when the halftime buzzer sounded.
Coming out of the half, Roxbury’s offense started to click. Senior big man Doug Alexander worked hard for his points in the paint. Adding to the offense was McMyne with big 3-pointers.
Chatham freshman point guard Jack Rooney would not go away, keeping the Cougars in the game with smart play with the ball. He would find his teammates for scores or he would take it himself and do the scoring.
At the end of three the tally was 28-20 in favor of the Gaels. Roxbury had the momentum, but Chatham responded by putting on a come-back late in the fourth to make it only a two-point game with less than two minutes to play.
Roxbury had some costly turnovers in the final minutes that helped Chatham tie the game. However, Chatham could not stop the Gaels with their press with under a minute left.
Junior Grant Dixon assisted Alexander for a lay-up that put the Gaels up with moments remaining. Chatham had a chance to tie it, but Rooney turned the ball over to the Gaels and the Cougars had no other option but to intentionally foul.
The Gaels then made some clutch free throws to go up by three. With only six seconds on the clock, Rooney had a chance to tie the game and force overtime with a long, 3-pointer, but it fell short.
The win for the Gaels is a booster for the county tournament, but the team faces another tough opponent on Jan. 16 as it travels to Mount Olive for another Morris County game. As for Chatham, they will look to rebound when they take on Morristown on the same day.