As a freshman and Swedish product, Meja Jaegerskog has been breaking out of her shell and finding her footing on the hardwood as of late, according to Chatham High School girls basketball coach Joe Gaba.
Jaegerskog came off the bench and dropped in a career-high 13 points while grabbing 11 rebounds in the second-seeded Lady Cougars’ 53-28 win over No. 15 Hanover Park (8-11) in the first round of the Morris County Tournament Saturday night at home.
“Meja had a great game and she had a really good game against Montville and I think she’s really starting to get it,” Gaba said. “I think it’s really hard for a freshman to kind of come in because she’s behind everyone. All the returnees coming into the season know what we do, there’s not a lot of learning for them. There’s a lot of learning in terms of Xs and Os for Meja.
Gaba went on to say that Jaegerskog could be their ace in the hole as the MCT progresses.
“It’s finally starting to click for her and it’s perfect timing as we head into the tournament,” he said.
“I feel more comfortable every time, so it’s good to get some points and be out there on the floor,” Jaegerskog noted. “It’s fun that the team came through today since we had a tough week this week.
Chatham(14-4) actually trailed the Lady Hornets, 4-0, early in the game. But the Lady Cougars bounced back, as senior guard Maddie Hartnett went for five points and helped the team pull ahead, 8-4 in the first quarter.
From there, spurred by a 16-2 run, Chatham began to pull away, going into the locker room in front by a score of 24-6.
Hartnett hit back-to-back three-pointers and Jaegerskog scored six points while junior Tess Ford added four to help the Lady Cougars build a commanding 45-15 lead in the third period.
With its subs inserted in the contest early in the fourth quarter, Chatham played well enough to easily lock up the victory against Hanover Park.
Harnett drained five from behind the arc for a game-high 17 points while Ford posted nine.
Chatham advances to play 10th-seeded Morris Knolls in the tournament semifinal next Saturday.
Note: With the Lady Cougars junior varsity on the road for a county tournament tilt, Gaba called upon his “Scout Team” comprised of CHS boys who play intramural basketball: Dean Ciccarelli, Nolan Carney, Peter Schelling, Charles Cuneo and Matt Grosso.
“Yesterday, our JV girls were away for a county tournament game and we had only eight at practice,” Gaba said. “I asked the girls to find some of our intramural boys to come and be a scout team for us. A lot of Division-I teams do that at the college level. So, these guys came in and they were awesome. I asked them to be quick, long and athletic and make us work on defense. They were really awesome. Those boys helped us prep for today’s game. A little piece of this victory has to go to them.”