Chatham players and fans celebrate after the Cougars' two point overtime victory over Plainfield. Credits: Stephen Valenti
Chatham's Brian Oliver sinks a free throw in the final seconds of overtime to help secure the Cougars' victory. Credits: Stephen Valenti
Chatham's Luke Conard looks for an opening as Plainfield's Wade Brown guards him. Credits: Stephen Valenti
Chatham Boys Rally to Defeat Plainfield in Overtime
Thursday, February 28, 2013 • 11:54pm
CHATHAM, N.J. - Overcoming deficits of eight points to start the final quarter and four with 70 seconds remaining in regulation, the No. 1 Chatham Cougars defeated No. 8 Plainfield, 56-54, in the second round of the NJSIAA North 2, Group 3 Tournament.
“It’s a great win, you can see the way the kids reacted,” Chatham head coach Todd Ervin said. “They are a good team and for us to come back like we did just shows we are a good team also.”
The win prompted the Chatham student section to come out on the court and celebrate with the team after Joe Timmes threw the ball in the air to run out the final few seconds of overtime. Timmes led all players with 19 points.
The entire extra period played as a one possession game with Plainfield holding the edge early. With 1:52 to go, the Cougars’ Sam Carson drove through the lane tying it up. Following a missed 3-pointer, Carson once again drove to the basket but was fouled. Carson knocked down both shots with 66 seconds reaming to put Chatham up two.
“We got a little bit erratic with the basketball,” Plainfield head coach Jeff Lubereski said. “To Chatham’s credit they had something to do with why we were but it came to a one possession game down the stretch.”
The erratic offense also carried over to the foul line, as it became the Cardinals kryptonite down the stretch. Plainfield went just 1-4 from the line in overtime after making 11-14 in regulation.
The one that hurt the most came from Christan Cook with 23 seconds on the clock. Down two, he had a chance to tie the game but missed his first attempt before making the second.
“It was the next play that was important and they made more of them,” Lubereski said of overtime. “Sometimes the nerves of a big game get to you.”
Brian Oliver added one to the Cougar lead with 11 seconds to go giving Plainfield the option of trying to tie the game or go for the win with a 3-pointer. Their drive to the basket came short as their shot with three defenders on them came short.
“This team is really resilient,” Ervin said. “We had a chance to win at the end there, we would have rather won this in regulation but we will take this.”
However, it looked as if Chatham would never get a chance to even send the game into extra time. Coming out of the locker room, Plainfield quickly erased the three point deficit and extended their lead to nine with help of a 16-6 run.
Carson hit a free throw right at the end of the third quarter which started a 9-0 run over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game. Down the stretch neither team held more than a four point lead.
The Cardinals held that lead with 1:10 to go. Oliver got a quick basket making it a two point game and on Plainfield’s ensuing possession Timmes stole a long pass at mid-court and kept it himself as he drove to the basket for the game tying points.
“Tremendous effort, we did it by pressuring and pressing which we have done all year,” Ervin said. “The effort was unbelievable.”
With the win Chatham advances to face Irvington High School on Saturday.