PISCATAWAY, NJ - Chatham's special boys basketball season came to an end on Sunday with a 60-53 loss to Nottingham in the NJSIAA Group 3 state final at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
But the loss didn't change anything. The 2017-'18 season for this Chatham team was still special, as the over-achieving Cougars won their conference, a third straight Morris County Tournament championship, a state sectional championship and went toe-to-toe with a very talented Nottingham squad in the state final.
Chatham senior guards Mac Bredahl and Jack Rooney scored 23 and 16 points, respectively, but it wasn't enough to keep pace with Nottingham (29-2), which shot 58 percent from the floor in the game, hitting seven of eight shots in the final quarter.
Mac Bredahl talks about the second half in the post-game press conference
Chatham (27-6) trailed, 27-18, at the half and opened the third quarter with a 14-6 surge to pull within one point. Bredahl sparked the run by hitting a pull-up jumper and then fed Daniel Baker, who converted inside. Bredahl followed with a 3-pointer from up top (see below).
Nottingham boosted its lead to 33-25 before Andrew Bergman scored off a feed from Ryan Doherty (see video), Rooney drained a 3-pointer from the corner on an inbound pass from Doherty (see video) and Bredahl drove to score on a reverse layup (see video) to slice the deficit to 33-32 with 2:31 left in the third.
But the Northstars scored two baskets to end the third quarter with a 37-32 lead and, after Rooney drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 44-39 with 5:46 showing in the fourth quarter, Nottingham got a big 3-pointer from Darrell Johnson (20 points) to pull away.
Still, Chatham never gave up, managing to get within six points, 58-52, on a 3-pointer by Doherty (see video below) in the final minute.
Chatham had to battle for every point in this game and that was likely the difference as Cougar coach Todd Ervin explains in the post-game press conference.
Rooney and Bredahl offer their thoughts on the game and the season.
COUGAR NOTES: Mac Bredahl scored a game-high 23 points, hitting 9-of-16 shots from the floor (56 percent). He also had two rebounds, two assists, and three steals ... Chatham shot 20 for 56 from the field in the game, 35.7 percent, compared to Nottingham's 21-for-36 showing - 58.3 percent ... Rooney hit three 3-pointers in scoring 16 points, pushing his career point total to 1,424 points, which is No. 1 on Chatham's boys scoring chart ... Rooney also had three assists and two steals ... Chris Conlin led Chatham with 9 rebounds and Baker ended with six rebounds, a block, a steal and an assist ... The Cougars forced 14 turnovers and committed nine.