With the Morris County Tournament Finals this Friday versus top-seed Montville, Chatham (20-4 • 10-3 NJAC) head Joe Gaba said that his team needed a good test to prepare it for its upcoming battle.
And for the first half, Villa Walsh (16-8 • 10-6 NJAC) did just that, trailing the visiting Lady Cougars, 24-21, at the break.
But Chatham kicked it up a notch in the second half, executing a much better defensive scheme, one in which included keying on Karin Brett, Gaba said, helping it secure a 53-35 victory over the Lady Vikings Tuesday night.
“We played much better in the second half. For us to give up 21 points in a half is a lot. I though we did a much better job with our help rotations in the second half. I though we contained the dribble on number 12,” Brett, who finished with a team-best 12 points.
The Lady Cougars, behind a stellar defensive effort from senior forward Shannon Donohoe, started to distance itself from Villa Walsh, ending the third period ahead, 40-30.
“She tremendously can play help defense,” Gaba said. “Shannon is probably the best forward that I’ve had that hedges on screens. She just knows when to pop out, not to commit the foul, and she does a really good job of not letting guards turn the corner.”
Chatham outscored the Lady Vikings, 13-5, in the fourth quarter to help lockup the tilt.
Senior Maddie Hartnett drained a game-high 16 points and Donohoe posted a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds as Chatham won its seventh straight contest to capped the regular season on a winning note.
Junior guard Tess Ford chipped in with 11 points, behind three treys, and Carly Frohnapfel added eight in the Lady Cougars’ winning performance.
Senior Daniella Jambrina and sophomore Maggie Crimmins scored eight points apiece for Villa Walsh.
Chatham will face Montville Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the County College of Morris for all the MCT championship marbles.