CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham boys basketball team is in a continuing search for balance in its offense, especially when senior forward Andrew Bergman is forced to sit out certain games to rest his aching back.
One player with the ability to balance the play by himself is 6-4 senior E.J. Leskauskas, who can fill that role down low when he puts his mind to it.
Such was the case on Friday night when Leskauskas scored 25 points and helped Chatham take over the game with his 12 points in the third quarter of the Cougars' 56-43 win over Pope John.
"In the beginning of the third quarter, our ball movement was great," Leskauskas said. "As soon as we got the ball moving, we moved inside and crashed the boards we were scoring. We have a good balance, but we have to crash the glass more and make sure we get the ball inside."
Chatham (8-5) held a 25-23 edge at halftime before Leskauskas led a 21-12 surge in the third period.
Leskauskas talks about the third quarter in the video below
Leskauskas opened the third quarter by receiving a pass from Jack Arnuk and spinning for a basket in the lane (see below). James Platek, Luke Fekete and Cam Rooney each hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter (see videos below).
After Rooney's 3-pointer pushed the Chatham lead to 38-30, Leskauskas scored the final eight points of the period for Chatham (see video below). Leskauskas then scored the first five points of the fourth quarter for the Cougars, including a three-point play that made it a 49-35 lead in the first minute of the period.
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham senior Luke Fekete opened the season by going 6-for-6 in 3-point shots, scoring 22 points in Chatham's 78-49 win over Pope John on Dec. 20. In Friday's rematch, Fekete hit his 7th straight 3-pointer vs. Pope John in the first period before finally missing a long-range jumper. He scored 10 of his 17 points in the first half and ended with three 3-pointers ... Fekete scored 39 points in the two wins vs. Pope John and E.J. Leskauskas had 45 points in the two wins ... James Platek handed out four assists in the second half for Chatham ... Leskauskas tried to throw down a two-handed dunk in the fourth quarter but lost his grip on the ball. "I should have gone up with one hand," he said ... Cougar guard Cam Rooney has not missed a free throw over his last six games, taking a 17-for-17 streak into the Saturday night game vs. Summit. Rooney, however, has not attempted a free throw over the last three games ... Chatham sank its first 11 free throws vs. Pope John and ended 11 for 12 (91.6 %), led by Leskauskas who was 6-for-6 while Pope John sank 12 of 13 fouls (92.3 %) ... Summit (11-2) brings an 8-game winning streak into its game vs. Chatham set for 7 p.m. Saturday, led by senior Eric Baier, who owns a 17.9 scoring average ... Chatham lost to Summit, 60-58, last season at Summit with Baier scoring 19 points.