RANDOLPH, NJ - The Chatham boys basketball team has a five-day respite before its next game on Tuesday at Morristown. The Cougars look like they can use the break.
In a rematch of the 2016 Morris County Tournament final won by Chatham, Randolph used a big third quarter to post a 50-42 victory over the reeling Cougars on Wednesday night.
It was the fourth loss in its last five games for Chatham (10-5), which is the third seed for the 2017 MCT. Randolph (9-4) in the No. 2 seed
"It's just frustrating overall because we're in every game we play," Chatham guard Jack Rooney said. "It's nothing other than frustrating, that's all I can say. Mistakes kill us. One little mistake can turn into a whole bunch of little mistakes. We had a couple turnovers and that led to easy layups. It's a killer."
The Cougars built a 21-18 edge in the first half and Rooney, who finished with a game-high 15 points, opened the third quarter by draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 24-18. But then the killer mistakes came.
Three straight turnovers by Chatham led to three baskets at the other end by the Rams, who outscored the Cougars 21-7 for the rest of the quarter to gain a 39-31 advantage.
"We need to regroup and find who we are," Rooney said. "We are not going to win games scoring 40 points. Defense was there at times, but we definitely have to pick it up."
Johnny Maurer's 3-pointer in the fourth quarter cut the Chatham deficit to 42-34 before Randolph increased the lead to 14 points in putting the game away.
"We're just struggling right now to get the ball in the basket, to get good looks at the basket," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "We have to do a better job of scoring the ball. It's a long season and we have a lot of work to do. We'll be all right."
Rooney has received extra defensive pressure throughout the season and he's picked up his scoring the last two games in leading the Cougars offensively.
"He was able to move without the ball.," Ervin said. "When he gets himself in trouble, he tries to do too much with the ball. We're working on getting him open looks without the ball. He did a pretty good job of that tonight. It's still a work in progress."
Jack Rooney hits one of his three 3-pointers for Chatham vs. Randolph
Graham LeMon drives the lane to score two points for the Cougars