December 19, 2012 at 1:28 AM
CHATHAM, N.J. - This is no longer a one-girl gang for the Chatham girls basketball team.
With the graduation of Amanda Berntsen, the Lady Cougars are making opponents remember their name and the 2012-13 Chatham girls team likes it.
This year's Chatham team will never forget Berntsen, an All-New Jersey player, but they like the 'team' effort that this team is and will demonstrate.
The Chatham team effort was on display Tuesday as the Lady Cougars jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter en route to the 59-29 home win over Morristown.
Cougars senior center Grace Conroy led the team in scoring with 19 points, 15 coming in the first half.
"We're kind of a different team this year," Conroy, who was part of the team with Berntsen last year that finished with a 27-4 record to go along with a NJAC and state sectional title, said. "I think with four seniors in the starting five that we play more of a team game."
But for Conroy she was not taking a swipe at Berntsen. "She is awesome," Conroy said.
Along with Conroy, the other three seniors in the starting five are Kendall Davis, Jean DeBiasse and Haley Myler, to go along with junior Natalie Washuta.
Along with Conroy's 19 points against Morristown, Davis notched nine points.
"I think this year we are flying under the radar," Davis said about the talk in Morris County, especially the county tournament where Chatham lost in the finals last season.
But for Conroy and Davis who have played together since sixth grade, they are not even looking down the line to the Morris County Tournament and the state tournament where they lost in the Group 3 semi-finals last season to Teaneck.
"We are just looking at getting better in each game and winning each game," Davies said.
Against Morristown on Tuesday, Chatham emptied its bench by the time the fourth quarter came around and pretty much had the game under control by the second quarter.
Before the first timeout in the game, the Lady Cougars hit their first four 3-pointers, two of which came off Davies' shots. Washuta and DeBiasse hit the other two threes and Chatham was ahead 14-0.
After Conroy scored off an offensive rebound, Morristown finally hit a basket as Abby Schubiger put in an offensive rebound of her own, but Chatham was ahead 16-2.
Conroy put in her 10th point of the quarter and the Cougars led 27-4 heading into the second quarter.
Chatham continued to put the pressure on Morristown with its full-court press and Davies fed DeBiasse and scored off a turnover as the Cougars built their largest lead, 42-10, heading into the third quarter.
In the second half Chatham head coach Joe Gaba brought in the subs for most of the minutes.
Chatham's will get their first test of the season on Thursday when they travel to Hanover Park.