MADISON, NJ – Senior Amanda Bernsten led the Chatham Lady Cougars with 20 points, 17 of which came in the first half, and the defense allowed only four points through the first two quarters from the Madison Lady Dodgers as Chatham cruised to an easy 46-12 win on Thursday night at Madison High School to improve to 11-0.
In their most decisive victory of the year, Chatham put together at 12-0 and 16-0 run in the first half to put away Thursday night’s contest early. The team made three 3 point field goals and scored 12 points on lay ups in transition off of steals at the top of the key through the first 16 minutes of play.
“We just wanted to make sure that we came out. It’s an excellent town rivalry. I just impressed on them that I wanted to play defense and I just wanted to execute on offense, which I think we did,” Chatham Head Coach Joe Gaba said after the game.
Chatham’s leading scorer this season Bernsten, who also holds the school’s basketball record for most career points, did most of her damage in the first half when she outscored the entire Madison team by 13.
She scored the first five points for her team off a three-pointer and a lay in after a steal. One of the best plays in the game came when she hit a layup after being fouled going while going up by Madison’s Tori Ellis. Bernsten would hit the ensuing free throw to complete the three-point play.
The senior guard would score the last six points of the half when she made two lay ups and yet another three ball. She finished the game with three made shots from long distance.
“On offense we did a really good job of moving the ball around and getting our open shots. That really helped us from the beginning and we kept adding to that,” Bernsten said.
“I picked up on what they were doing on offense and I was just able to anticipate their passes just as other players on our team were able to do to. We did a good job of anticipating as a whole to get steals and get transition points,” Bernsten commented about her team’s defense.
Because the game was out of reach in the second half, many of the Chatham bench players were able to contribute as they got to play more minutes than in a usual game. Caroline McCann finished with four points for Chatham and four other players off the bench each came away with two points.
For Madison, they could not get things started from the get go. Ellis scored the first two points of the game off a short jumper, but they only converted on one other shot in the first quarter when Gaby Fuchs hit a running jumper.
The team was held scoreless through the second quarter of play, but continued to fight as they scored the last four points of the third. Fuchs hit a pair of free throws and Winnie Caetta put in a layup after an offensive rebound to make the score 10-33 heading into the final quarter of play.
“Madison’s very young. They play hard. They always give us a game,” Gaba said. “I think they’re going to have a pretty good future. One thing you have to say is they play hard right to the very end."
Chatham has a had a relatively easy time thus far throughout their season as they have played only one game that came down to the wire, a two point win over Pequannock last week.
However, going forward in the season, players and Coach Gaba know things are going to get more difficult. They face perhaps their biggest test thus far this Friday when they host conference and county rivals Morris Catholic, who currently boasts a 7-1 record.
“We are just keeping our momentum going from the beginning of the season. We just have to have a really good practice tomorrow and just get ready. It should be a good one,” Gaba said.
“They're one of the top teams in our conference so it should be a really tight, good game,” Bernsten added.
That game will take at 7 p.m. at Chatham High School.
Madison is now 1-7 and will look to rebound when they play host to the Academy of Saint Elizabeth this Friday at 5 p.m.
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