RANDOLPH, NJ - When senior guard Mac Bredahl banked in a 3-pointer to beat the final buzzer, there was no celebration by his Cougar teammates.
The shot simply put a deflating capper on the lowest scoring and poorest shooting Chatham boys basketball game of the season, a 43-42 loss to Montgomery on Sunday in the "Hoops to Help" Cancer benefit at the County College of Morris.
"We didn't shoot the ball well," Bredahl said. "We couldn't finish inside and that's what happens when you lose games late. They outplayed us today. That's it. That's what happened."
Despite making just 15 of 52 shots from the floor (28.8 percent) in the game, the Cougars made a bid to pull off a miracle finish after two free throws by Kyle Howard had given Montgomery (6-2) a 38-28 lead with 1:55 left in the game.
Junior guard Ryan Doherty, who led the team with 14 points, ignited a 14-5 closing burst for Chatham (7-3) by hitting a 3-pointer with 1:41 showing. Chris Conlin then scored off an inbound pass from Doherty before Bredahl's steal and Conlin's pass resulted in Doherty's layup, cutting the deficit to 38-35 with 52 seconds go.
Montgomery interrupted with two free throws, but Daniel Baker (12 points) scored on a putback with 20 seconds left for Chatham to keep it a one-possession game. Kevin Fromelt (17 points) sank both ends of a one-and-one situation to give Montgomery a 42-37 edge with 11.2 ticks left. Doherty then drove to the basket to score with 6.1 seconds left, but Fromelt sank the second of two free throws, pushing it a four-point lead and taking away any cause for excitement from Bredahl's last-second 3-pointer.
"We had a little run going, but we couldn't string enough shots together," Doherty said. "We weren't getting calls, but that's not why we lost the game. We have to play better defense and lock down a little better. We've been on and off shooting the ball. One game we're hot and one game we're not. If we have a good week of practice, I think we'll be fine."
Chatham guard Jack Rooney epitomized the Cougars' rough shooting performance. A 1,000-point scorer, Rooney missed the first 10 shots he took in the game and didn't score until he sank a foul shot in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 2:49 left gave him his final points before he was sent from the game with his second technical foul with 2:07 showing in the fourth.
"I'm just frustrated with the way I've been playing the whole season," Rooney said. "I have not been playing the way I should be. I feel like I'm letting the team down. Everyone has been stepping up in different games and I should have stepped up in this game and I couldn't, so blame it on me."
Entering the fourth quarter, Chatham had connected on just 8 of 39 attempts (20.5 percent) and before making its final three shots during the closing 20 seconds, the Cougars had made just 12 of 49 attempts.
"We fought at the end," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "We just didn't make shots and didn't play very well. Basically, that's what it came down to. We didn't have a very good shooting day, to say the least."
Chris Conlin scores Chatham's first points of the third quarter with 2:51 left on Sunday
Chatham plays 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against Parsippany Hills.