CHATHAM, NJ - What seemed like a sure thing when the season started has become an iffy situation as the games on the schedule dwindle. Chatham boys basketball coach Todd Ervin won his 498th career game on Feb. 6, but he hasn't gotten any closer to 500 career wins since then.
The Cougars celebrated their senior class of Andrew Bergman, E.J. Leskauskas, Jameson Shi, Jack Arnuk, Sean Barry and Luke Fekete before a 47-41 loss to Mendham on Wednesday night.
Bergman, who broke his leg, and Leskauskas, who is out with a concussion, both went down in the Feb. 4 home loss to Sparta and the Cougars have lost five of six since then.
Guards Cam Rooney and Fekete each scored 12 points for Chatham (11-11), but did most of their damage in the first half when the Cougars took a 25-24 edge into the break. Over the final two quarters, both received more attention from the Mendham defense, with Rooney being held to four points and Fekete two points.
"Good effort, we're just struggling offensively right now," Ervin said. "We played pretty good defense. You can't win when you score 41 points. It's not going to happen very often."
It looked like it was going to be a good night on the offensive end in the first quarter when Rooney, Barry and Fekete all hit 3-pointers. Chatham hit five 3-pointers in the first half and none in the second half.
With Mendham (13-9) pushing its defense to the perimeter in the second half, the Cougars began to drive to the basket. Rooney and freshman Ryan Leskauskas each went to the basket in the third quarter (see videos below).
The Minutemen held a four-point edge heading into the fourth quarter, but Chatham stayed in the game with baskets by Fekete and Cam Druhot (see videos below).
Ryan Leskauskas made a strong move to the rim for a basket that cut the Chatham deficit to 43-41 with 1:55 showing, but Jesse Hafemeister closed it out for Mendham with a jumper and two free throws.