CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham was looking for a signature boys basketball win heading into the Morris County Tournament seeding meeting on Sunday, and streaking Summit provided that opportunity on Saturday night.
But turnovers thwarted that upset bid by the Cougars as Summit came up with the pivotal plays that sent the Hilltoppers to their ninth straight win, 45-43.
"I thought the difference was that we had two or three turnovers that led to layups for them," Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. "Otherwise, we played them well in the halfcourt in the second half. We made some mistakes that cost us."
Summit (12-2) was credited with 14 steals in the game, including one by senior guard Eric Baier that he converted into a layup and a 41-35 Hilltopper advantage with 2:53 left in the fourth quarter. Baier finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots, two assists and three steals.
Jeff Greenstein helped seal the win for Summit when he scored his only point, a free throw with 8.4 seconds left that pushed the Hilltopper lead to 45-41. James Platek scored at the buzzer to give Chatham (8-5) its final points.
"We were really solid in the half-court defense in the second half," Chatham guard Cam Rooney said. "Just too many live-ball turnovers that led to points."
Chatham wasted a terrific effort by senior Andrew Bergman, who scored 10 of his team-high 13 points in the second half and ended with a game-high 14 rebounds. He got Chatham started in the second half with a driving bank shot (see below).
Senior guard Luke Fekete joined Bergman to fuel the Cougar offense in the second half, scoring eight of his 11 points after the break. His 3-pointer in the third quarter (see below) off a pass from Rooney cut the Summit lead to one.
Fekete's pull-up jumper in the fourth quarter (see video below), followed by Bergman's jump shot (see below) narrowed Summit's lead to 35-33. But Chatham could get no closer.
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham guard Cam Rooney made both his free throw attempts to extend his streak to 19 straight made at the foul line. Rooney led the Cougars with five assists ... Luke Fekete made all three free throws when he was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 1:34 showing in the fourth quarter ... Andrew Bergman pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds for Chatham, which received eight boards from E.J. Leskauskas ... Summit also won a two-point game last season, 60-58, vs. the Cougars ... Chatham (8-6) plays host to Morristown-Beard, 7 p.m. Tuesday.