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Jack Rooney and Chatham made it two Morris County Tournament championships this past weekend for Cougars as the boys team followed up the girls title on Friday night with 47-41 win over Delbarton on Saturday night at County College of Morris in Randolph. Rooney was selected as the boys MCT's MVP. (Photos by Gene Nann-genenann.smugmug.com)
Chatham veteran coach Todd Ervin is quite comfortable in championship setting at County College of Morris where Cougars have had much success.
Chatham's Jack Rooney and Mac Bredahl hold the MCT championship trophy after the Cougars defeated Delbarton in final on Saturday night.
Chatham's Dan Baker goes up wtih reverse layup against Delbarton
Arguably the most coveted award in Morris County is traveling trophy for winning Morris County Basketball tourney which remains with Chatham.
Chatham's MCT championship team gets together with its hardware
Chatham players mob each other on court as time expires in MCT final
The 49th MCT tips off before a capacity crowd of 1,800 in the CCM gym
Chatham Defends Its MCT Title
RANDOLPH - Playing on the big floor at the County College of Morris gym is the goal of every Morris County basketball player.
For most, making it to the building that hosts the Morris County Tournament semifinals and final is nothing more than a dream.
Then there’s a guy like Jack Rooney of Chatham, who on Saturday night was playing there for the tenth and final time of his career.
The 5-9 senior guard and his top-seeded teammates were on the Randolph campus seeking a third consecutive MCT championship against third-seeded Delbarton before a capacity crowd of 1,800.
Rooney helped make it happen, by scoring seven of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Cougars outlasted the Green Wave, 47-41, for the program’s fifth overall crown, all since 2007.
Chatham held a 31-30 lead entering the fourth quarter. Rooney, a four-year starter and the school’s all-time leading scorer, knew it was time to play his final period in the gym giving everything that he had, while leaving nothing behind.
“You don’t want to think about it too much,” he said. “But I went into it thinking it was my last chance and my last game here, and I wanted to give it my all. Going into the fourth quarter, I was thinking I was going all out. I had to give 100 percent the whole time, and it paid off.”
Chatham (22-5) ended the first half with a 9-2 run over the final 2:21, capped by a bucket from 5-7 senior Mac Bredahl at the buzzer, to take a 21-14 lead into the break. Delbarton scored only four points over the last 6:05, both on field goals from Jaedon Khubani.
Chatham opened a 29-21 lead when Dan Baker scored his second straight basket inside with five minutes left in the third.
The Green Wave, who had trouble to that point getting much offense from players other than Khubani, ended the quarter with a 9-2 surge to get within a point. Jack Baker scored the last three points on a free throw followed by fast-break lay-in.
Delbarton then took its first lead since the early going when Jerry Jabbour scored off the glass with 5:56 remaining.
Rooney, however, answered with a three-point play 15 seconds later to put Chatham ahead, 34-32.
Delbarton countered with a 3-pointer from the left corner by Nick Gubler for a 35-34 edge at 5:19.
Bredahl then made a steal for the Cougars, and he threw up the court to Chris Conlin, who scored and was fouled. Conlin sank the free throw and Chatham was back in front, 37-35, at the 4:28 mark.
Chatham pushed its lead to 39-35 when Conlin made both ends of a two-shot foul with 1:32 to go.
After that, Chatham clinched the victory by going 8-for-10 from the line, with Rooney making all four of his attempts.
Chatham was 12-of-15 overall from the stripe in the fourth.
Bredahl, another Chatham senior fixture who was playing for the eighth time at CCM, was steady at the point and made four of his six free throw attempts over the last eight minutes.
“It seems like they’ve been playing on this court forever,” Chatham coach Todd Ervin said of his backcourt duo. “You’re so confident when they have the ball in their hands that something good is going to happen, whether it’s a 3-pointer, a layup or whatever. They don’t turn the ball over a lot and they make good decisions. And the experience from them is ridiculous. Jack started four straight years in the final, which was unbelievable. You see how comfortable he is out there. He made himself into a good player and he loves playing here”
“I'm going to remember the atmosphere here,” Rooney said. “You’re team has a crowd and the other team has a crowd. You don’t want to get too into it, but it’s a great feeling to be out there.”
Notes : Chatham’s 10 games at CCM over the past four years included an MCT runner-up appearance against Mendham in 2015 and championship wins over Randolph in 2016 and Morristown-Beard last year. Chatham also lost games in the building against Linden in 2016 and Montgomery last month as part of the Hoops for Help showcase that’s presented by Hackettstown. Bredahl played the eight Chatham contests at the county college over the last three years.
Rooney was named MCT most valuable player. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by Bredahl and Conlin, Mario Haklaj of Randolph and Khubani and Jacob Sussman of Delbarton.
Khubani, whose buzzer jumper gave the Green Wave a 52-50 semifinal win over Randolph last week, finished with 15 points in the final.
Chatham’s win came a day after the school’s girls team beat defending champ Morristown, 40-31, for the program’s first county title. The only prior girl/boy championship sweeps were by Mendham (2000, 1997, 1996), Morris Catholic (1981) and West Morris (1977).
Next up for the finalists is the NJSIAA tournament. Chatham is the second seed in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 and will be home to 15th-seeded Orange on Monday night.
Delbarton is the fifth seed in North Jersey, Non-Public A, and will be at fourth-seeded St. Peter’s Prep on Friday.
This was the 49th year of the MCT. Tournament director Bob Caprio and AD in charge Rob Haraka of Morris Hills are planning on special events next year to recognize the 50th anniversary of the tournament.
Khubani 3-2-3- 15, Gubler 0-1-0- 3, Vinci 0-1-0- 3, Jabbour 2-0-5- 9, Leniw 3-0-0- 6, Schelling 0-0-0- 0, Baker 1-0-1- 3, Sussman 0-0-2- 2.
Totals: 9-4-11- 41
Bredahl 4-0-4- 12, Rooney 5-1-5- 18, Doherty 0-0-0- 0, Conlin 1-1-3- 8, Baker 4-0-1- 9, Fekete 0-0-0- 0, Leskauskas 0-0-0- 0, Bergman 0-0-0- 0.
Totals: 14-2-13- 47
Delbarton (19-6) - 9- 5- 16- 11- - 41
Chatham (22-5) - 8- 13- 10- 16- - 47
Follow Sean Reilly on Twitter @SeanReillyHS
MCT MVP Jack Rooney holds award plaques. (Photo by Sean Reilly)
Chatham's Rooney (3, right) launches jump shot against Delbarton
Delbarton team gets together before taking on Chatham in MCT final
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