CHATHAM, NJ - Before the boys basketball game against Montville on Tuesday night, the worry was about the health of Chatham senior forward Graham LeMon, who had to sit because of a swollen ankle.
Afterward, the concern was whether the Cougars could regain their mojo in time for the Morris County Tournament final against top-seeded Morristown-Beard set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the County College of Morris
Three days after a most-impressive 31-point win over Randolph in the MCT semifinals, the Cougars suffered the inevitable letdown in their 46-35 setback to Montville on "Senior Night"
"I knew coming in that we'd have a letdown and then once I found out that Graham (LeMon) wasn't playing, I thought it would be even more," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "I don't know what we shot, it couldn't have been good."
Chatham (17-6) scored just three points in the second period - all on foul shots by Mac Bredahl - on the way to scoring half the point total it had put up vs. Randolph, a swing of 35 fewer points scored.
"A couple years ago (2012), we lost Tuesday, Thursday and won the county on Saturday. We've had these lulls before. This is just part of it. We're just going to forget about this game."
Before the game, Chatham honored its seniors: John Burkard, Kyle Kology, Donnie McAuliffe and LeMon. The 6-6 LeMon had rolled his ankle in the MCT semifinal. He finished the game vs. Randolph, scoring 11 points, but the ankle began to swell up on Sunday.
"The swelling has gone down a lot," LeMon said. "I'd rather be 100 percent for Saturday. I didn't want to risk a setback."
Matt Burke's 3-pointer in the second period handed Montville (15-9) a 23-13 lead heading into the halftime break. The Cougars had gone oh-for-9 from the field in the second period and scored its three points with 2:54 showing in the half.
Jack Rooney hit a 3-pointer to start the second half for Chatham
Chatham showed some signs of life at the start of the third quarter when Jack Rooney, who led the team with 13 points, hit a 3-pointer. McAuliffe followed with a running one-hander and Bredahl sank two foul shots, slicing the deficit to 23-20. But that was as close as the Cougars would get.