The Chatham girl’s basketball team came out firing on all cylinders, making most of its shots and playing its typical tough, tenacious defense against Manasquan.
The Lady Cougars rode that wave all the way to a 54-44 victory over the Lady Warriors (11-6) Saturday afternoon at home. It was their seventh consecutive win.
Chatham head coach Joe Gaba said his pre-game plan and in-game execution worked out after watching video footage of its opponents.
“It’s a storied program (Manasquan), but we felt good with our match ups coming in,” Gaba said after the game. “We felt that there were some things we saw on film we could do and we did it.”
Chatham (13-2) raced out to 19-3 lead in the first quarter, with senior guard Maddie Hartnett and sophomore Carly Frohnapfel totaling 15 points.
The Lady Cougars kept up their intensity in the second period and ended the first half ahead by a score of 33-18.
Hartnett drained two of her five three-pointers in the contest in the third quarter to help Chatham to 43-24 advantage.
But Manasquan chipped away at the lead in the fourth period, slicing the deficit to 47-37 with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
However, that as close as the Lady Warriors would get, as both squads traded hoops the rest of the way before the Lady Cougars clamped down and secured the win.
Gaba said Hartnett’s late-game trey helped squelch Manasquan’s comeback attempt, and all Chatham had to do is convert at the charity stripe to lock things up.
“To their credit, they made a good run back at us, but Maddie made that three-pointer in the corner to stabilize things,” the Lady Cougars’ longtime coach noted. “The rest of the way, we just had to hang on and make some foul shots to get the win.”
Hartnett enjoyed another impressive tilt, dropping in a game-best 24 points for Chatham.
Frohnapfel contributed 13 points for the Lady Cougars, while Brooke Hollawell led the Lady Warriors with 14 in defeat.
The Lady Cougars host Montville in an important matchup on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
— Jerry Del Priore