If you have followed the Chatham High School girls basketball team this season, you would notice their signature style is playing tenacious defense.
That was certainly on display Tuesday night, as the Lady Cougars (11-2) produced another gritty victory, containing Morristown-Beard’s top players — Erin Martin (1 pt) and Addisyn Ibrahim (11pts) — en route to a 40-28 stifling of the Lady Crimson (9-5) on the road. It was their fifth straight win.
Head coach Joe Gaba said that Chatham refuses to permit squads to run a muck offensively, something that was obvious against Morristown Beard.
“We’re built defensively-minded,” Gaba told BrooklynSportsWorld.com. “We won’t give up more than 30 points per game; it’s very rare that we give up 30. So, we knew if we could hold them to under 30, we like our chances here.”
The Lady Cougars raced out to an 8-1 lead 2:48 into the game, with senior guard Maddie Hartnett posting five points. Chatham ended the first quarter ahead by a score of 10-5.
Both squads scored eight points apiece in the second period, as The Lady Cougars maintained their five-point advantage (18-13) over the Lady Crimson going into the locker room.
However, Morristown-Beard sliced the deficit to 22-21 with 2:21 left in the third period.
But just like Hartnett has done so many times in her hoops career at Chatham, she came through in the clutch, by nailing a three-pointer and following it up with a bucket to extend its lead to 27-21 with 5.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Another one from behind the arc by Harnett pushed the Lady Cougars’ advantage to 30-21 early in the fourth stanza.
“She’s a clutch player,” Gaba said of Harnett, who’s committed to the University of Scranton. “You would expect that out of a senior. There were a couple of plays that were called for her and she caught it, squared herself, and knocked down a couple of huge threes in the second half for us.”
Freshman Meja Jackerskorg hit a runner in the lane and junior Tess Ford dropped in a basket to give Chatham a 34-23 margin with 6:04 to go in the game. Six-foot senior center Shannon Donohoe sank four straight free throws to bestow the Lady Cougars with their biggest lead of the night at 38-25 with 34.9 seconds left in the tilt.
Hartnett drained four three-pointers in scoring a game-high 18 points while Donohoe chipped in with nine points and 11 rebounds for Chatham.
Ibrahim led the Lady Crimson with 11 points.
The Cougars travel to Morris Catholic on Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. game.
— Jerry Del Priore