CHATHAM, NJ - The guards took over at the end of the game and the player wearing the No. 3 jersey hit a clutch 3-pointer for Chatham with the seconds winding down.
Sophomore guard Cam Rooney made for some reminiscing about days gone by when he hit the game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds left for Chatham in a much-needed 64-63 boys basketball win over Somerville in the Cougar Classic on Saturday.
Rooney's big 3-pointer (see below) erased a 63-61 deficit and brought back memories of when Cam's older brother, Jack, hit similar shots on the way to becoming the school's all-time leading scorer.
Rooney was jumping up and down asking for the ball as Jack Casano-Boris dribbled the ball into the lane hoping to draw the foul. But when he stopped in the lane, he bounced the ball out to Rooney for the big shot.
Casano-Boris led all scorers with 24 points and Rooney finished with 18 points. The two guards talked about the win and recounted the winning play in the video below.
"It feels really good, but I don't think it should have been that close," Rooney said. "We had a big lead at the half and just kind of let them in the game. Kind of like a lot of our games last year. It felt good to close this game out."
Chatham (2-2) had closed out the second quarter with a 16-6 run that handed the Cougars a 34-23 lead at the break. Two 3-point baskets by Rooney and one apiece by Casano-Boris and James Platek fueled the burst. Platek's 3-pointer was a long-distance three that fell through as the buzzer sounded.
The Cougars expanded their lead to 17 points early in the third quarter when Andrew Bergman scored consecutive baskets inside and Casano-Boris dropped in a jumper for a 40-23 advantage.
Casano-Boris closed out the third quarter with a drive to the basket (see below) that gave Chatham a 47-39 lead heading into the fourth.
But Somerville (3-1) opened the fourth period with a 9-0 run, capped by Ethan Hilliman's one-handed dunk that staked Somerville to aa 48-47 edge with 5:58 to play.
In the back-and-forth battle down the stretch, the Cougars received a drive to the basket from freshman Ryan Leskauskas (see below), an offensive rebound for two points by Bergman (see below) and another clutch 3-pointer from Rooney from the top of the key (see below).
"It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it," Casano-Boris said. "It was a good learning experience for us."
Freshman Ryan Leskauskas spent most of the game trying to contain the 6-4 Hilliman, who finished with 23 points.
"He was just athletic, he couldn't shoot," Leskauskas said. "You just had to keep in front of him. He would only go left, and when he would drive right-handed, he would spin left. It was good having help defense.
"It was fun. It's a good environment. It gets you into it. You want to play in those games, especially when you have the momentum going."
COUGAR NOTES: Jack Casano-Boris sank 12 of 15 free throws in the game (80 percent). The Cougars went 14 for 18 from the line as a team ... Chatham hit nine 3-pointers in the game, led by Rooney with four and Casano-Boris with two. James Platek hit two 3-pointers and Ryan Leskauskas had one ... Chatham meets Madison, coached by Chatham High graduate Joe Reel, 8 p.m. Monday in the finale of the Cougar Classic. Reel's Dodgers topped the Cougars, 52-41, in last year's matchup in the classic.