MADISON, NJ – Forward Sean Haughey led the Madison Dodgers with 14 points and Cameron Dias and Scott Jouan finished with 13 apiece, each scoring a basket in overtime, as the team erased two early 11 point deficits en route to a 56-54 overtime win against Mountain Lakes on Thursday night at Madison High School.
After scoring the first nine points of the game, Madison would surrender the next 20 as they were down big midway through the second quarter. The offense then put together a few nice runs throughout the rest of regulation as the score was all knotted up at 52 a piece at the end of the fourth quarter.
“I think our kids made big plays. I think Mountain Lakes made us make big plays,” Madison Head Coach William Librera said. “A team like this, you got to survive their waves. We were resilient enough to do that. That’s what this team does,” he added.
The overtime period saw Madison score the first two baskets, taking control when it mattered most in a back and forth game. After a Mountain Lakes turnover, Jouan nailed a long jump shot from the left side of the floor. Mountain Lakes would fail to score on their ensuing possession and then Haughey gathered an offensive rebound before scoring on a layup to give his team a 56-52 edge with 1:55 left.
Max Boerstoel would convert on a layup for Mountain Lakes to bring the score to within 2 at the 1:20 mark of the extra period. Both squads would fail to score on their next few possessions and then, with less than five seconds left, Boerstoel missed a layup before Dias gathered the rebound with little time remaining.
Dias would end up missing two foul shots that would have iced the game, but with just 1.2 seconds remaining Mountain Lakes could not get a shot off before the buzzard sounded as Madison hung on for the two point win.
“We didn’t get down when we were down. We just kept our heads up and kept persevering and we just came out (on top) in the end,” Dias told TheAlternativePress.com after the game. “(Coach Librera) just told us to win every possession. That’s about it.”
The beginning of the game did not play out like Madison had envisioned going in. They were down 20-9 with just over 4 minutes left in the second quarter and also trailed 28-17 with just over 1:30 left until halftime.
Haughey would stop the bleeding for his team when he hit a three pointer from the top of the key on Madison’s next possession. Dias would then lay in a basket near before the halftime buzzard as they trailed 28-22 going into the break.
The third quarter saw more back and forth action, until Madison put together a 6-0 with just over two minutes left. Haughey hit a nice lay up in transition after a nice pass from Dias. Mike Wallace made a lay up and Jouan sunk a three pointer as Madison trailed 36-34 with 1:04 left. Nick Evangelista scored his first and only points off the bench near the end of the quarter as they were down 36-39 headed into the fourth.
“He (Coach Librera) just told us to keep playing like we had played the last minute of the second quarter. He told us there was a lot of game left… that we just had to keep going,” Dias commented about the talk in the locker room during halftime.
On Madison’s first possession of the final quarter in regulation, senior guard Matt Gilbert, who finished with eight points, put in a three point shot to draw the score even. They would take their first lead of the game when Dias hit a three point ball to make the score 45-44 with 3:48 left.
“I was just looking for my shot the whole time. I didn’t hit them in the first half, but like they keep on telling me, ‘keep shooting.’ Every time I got an open look I put it up and they just went in for me,” said Dias, who scored 11 of his 13 in the second half and overtime.
The fourth quarter saw four lead changes and Madison fought hard to gain possession of the ball with 5.1 seconds remaining. Gilbert would be the one called upon to take the game winning shot, but his three point try at the buzzer was no good before both squads prepared for overtime.
With the win, Madison improves to 3-0 on their young season. Although the team has some things they must improve on, Librera believes that they are heading in the right direction.
“We’re learning and developing into our goals. We had a lot of shoes to fill so a lot of this is learning in the fire,” Librera said. “I’m happy. We’ll continue to progress and see how it goes. This is a program identity. It’s their turn to fill it and keep it going.”
Madison’s next test comes when they play host to Marlboro High School on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 4 p.m.