Broome’s buzzer-beater lifts Mountain Lakes to MCT Final

MADISON– When Mountain Lakes’ Jon Broome let his shot rip in the final seconds of Saturday’s Morris County Tournament semifinal contest he never saw whether it went in or not. He let the throngs of cheering fans and the teammates that piled on top of him, let him know instead.

Broome, a junior attackman, scored three times and Mountain Lakes gained a measure of justice in an 8-7 buzzer-beating triumph over Chatham in a contest played at Madison High School.

Broome scored three goals including the tying and winning goals to send the Lakers back to the final to face Delbarton for the 20th time in the history of the tournament. The championship game is scheduled for Tuesday night at FDU-Florham. The Green Wave vanquished upstart Morristown 11-3 in the second game of the doubleheader.

Bill Burgoyne scored twice and Greg Cuccinello, Tim LaBeau and Andrew Portnoy each had a goal and an assist for third-seeded MountainLakes. Sean Whiteman fired a hat trick and Matt Proto scored twice for second-seeded Chatham. The Cougars were vying for their first MCT final appearance.

A dejected Chatham player walks away as Mountain Lakes’ players celebrate a game-winning goal.

Broome was a spectator last year when Mountain Lakeslost to Kinnelon on a disputed buzzer-beating goal. He was kept off the field with hip and back injuries most of the year. On Saturday he kept his composure on the lefty transition goal he connected from about 20 yards out after catching a pass from Mike Celniker.

“Last year was a devastating loss,’’ Broome said. “It was a good way to come back.’’

“I just remember seeing (goalkeeper Andrew) Bolland getting the ball and throwing it up to Celniker and we had a break. He was coming down my side so I knew my guy would be drawn. … I didn’t even see it go in. I just saw the crowd go wild. It was going to overtime if I missed so it wasn’t do or die.’’

But there was plenty of relief for a lot of Lakers that remember last year’s tough loss that was surrounded in confusion when the horn on the Madison scoreboard failed to go off at the buzzer and officials signaled for a Kinnelon goal in the 10-9 contest.

“This field hasn’t been our lucky field,’’ Lakers defenseman Jeff Chang said. “We’ve lost here a couple of times in the past. Now, we finally got back to the finals.’’

Mountain Lakes’ Chris Robertson and Chatham’s Sean Whiteman give chase on a loose ball near the endline.

Chatham led most of the way and the Mountain Lakes defense resorted to some zone work to try and keep the Cougars’ offense from catching fire. The Lakers succeeded in limiting Chatham’s most dangerous scorers Nick Guida and Jack Eisenreich to two assists between them.

“We knew they had a lot of firepower coming out,’’ Chang said. “We worked on several different schemes to see which one worked best and so we decided to rely on our zone a little more and that’s what worked.

“Guida was definitely one of the top concerns we had. We knew that they all had a lot of firepower so we had to look at every single one of them very carefully.’’

Chatham received a terrific performance from goalkeeper Mike Fritts, who made eight saves on the game.

“He made nice saves low and stopped some great shots,’’ Broome said.

Chatham led 3-1 after the first quarter but the game was tied 4-4 at the half. At one point the Cougars led 6-4 but the Lakers did not give up and rallied to tie the game at 7-all by the end of the third quarter.

“Every ball on the ground we fought for real hard,’’ Chang said. “Everyone just looked out for each other on the field.’’

“The moment we tied we knew that the momentum was in our hands and we just hand to keep pushing it.’’

That goal also came from Broome’s stick late in the third quarter.

“I went to the top of the crease and I was pretty wide open,’’ Broome said. “It was kind of a sidewinding shot about hip high.

“Coach (Tim) Flynn kept talking about how as a team we could come together one goal at a time and we did it.’’

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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