SUMMIT, NJ -- For three quarters, the Caldwell boys basketball team had the game it wanted, being played at the pace the Chiefs prefer, on the road against a premier opponent.
But Summit, which has lost only two games this season, finally solved Caldwell's tough man-to-man defense with a big fourth quarter and went on to a 43-31 victory Tuesday night.
Caldwell (15-4) had slim leads after each of the first three quarters. Summit (20-2) came out and scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to take a 34-27 lead with 5:55 left in the game, and from that point on the Chiefs were no longer able to dicate the tempo as they had for the first 24 minutes.
Senior swingman Hank Morgan led Caldwell with 13 points. After falling behind, 7-2, Caldwell recovered to take a 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, which was the Chiefs' best offensive quarter. Morgan had six points, and Kyle Ross, Cristian Talavera, Brendan O'Donnell and Matt DiBlasio each had a basket as the Chiefs made adjustments and started to attack Summit's halfcourt trap with much better success.
But Caldwell made just four field goals over the final three quarters, although the Chiefs were still able to maintain both the lead and control of their preferred deliberate tempo thanks to some exceptional halfcourt defense. Will Hellings of Summit, who'd scored 10 points in the first quarter, was shut out the rest of the way until he sank two free throws late in the final quarter.
Caldwell had a 21-18 lead at halftime, and extended that to its largest lead of the night, 23-18, when O'Donnell fed Mike Giannetta for a fastbreak layup with 5:40 left in the third quarter. Those were the Chiefs' only fastbreak points of the game. But they shut Summit out for the first 4:21 of the second half, and maintained a lead throughout the third quarter.
Summit extended its winning streak to 17 games and remained undefeated at home.