Blanc Big First Half Leads Chatham to Girls Basketball Win over Columbia at Cougar Classic

Veronica Kelly scores in the third quarter for Chatham Credits: TAP Chatham
Chloe Blanc drives the lane for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Michelle Connolly looks to pass for Chatham vs. Columbia Credits: Ron Frary
Liz Ford heads to the basket for the Lady Cougars Credits: Ron Frary
Freshman Maddie Hartnett finishes off a layup for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Liz Ford launches a 3-pointer for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary

CHATHAM, NJ - The goal was to dominate the game from start to finish and that's exactly what the Chatham girls basketball team did in its 55-24 win over Columbia on Tuesday night in the Cougar Classic.

Junior guard Chloe Blanc had the hot hand in the first half, scoring 13 of her game-high 15 points as Chatham (4-2) rolled to a 33-9 lead over the first two quarters.

"Our goal was to dominate from beginning to end," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. 

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After losing a close one to Hunterdon Central on Monday night, Gaba went over adjustments that needed to be made for the Columbia game.

"We addressed this morning about not settling for jump shots and getting to the rim by gapping defenders, and we did that," Gaba said. "If we had only done that last night. We didn't handle ball pressure well last night and tonight we did and went to the basket. The defense was good, passing was good, everything was good. And we played unselfishly. It's all things that we can control."

Blanc was active from the start, grabbing an offensive rebound and driving for two points to open the game. Liz Ford then drove to hit a scoop shot and Michaela Ford cut in from the baseline and completed a three-point play after her layup dropped in. Blanc sank two free throws and Veronica Kelly scored off a pass from Camryn Davies to give Chatham an 11-0 lead just 3:14 into the game.

Chatham's defense forced 11 Columbia turnovers in the first quarter alone and the Lady Cougars took advantage.

After Columbia scored to break its drought, Michaela Ford made two foul shots, Blanc scored on a follow-up of a missed shot and Kelly put back an offensive rebound. Freshman Drew Coxson scored her first varsity points with a free throw and Michaela Ford sank another foul shot to make it 19-2 heading into the second quarter.

The 6-1 Kelly finished with 10 points, five blocked shots and six rebounds for the Lady Cougars. Kayla Anderson led Columbia (1-4) with 10 points.

Chloe Blanc talks about her 15-point effort for Chatham vs. Columbia

Veronica Kelly scores inside off a pass from Camryn Davies in the second half

Chatham meets Summit 6 p.m. Thursday in its Cougar Classic finale.

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