CHATHAM, NJ - The message has been consistent lately from Chatham girls basketball coach Joe Gaba to his team: "Don't settle for the jump shot."
It was advice that the Lady Cougars took to heart during the third quarter with a wave of drives to the rim that sent Chatham to a 57-22 romp over Summit in its Cougar Classic finale on Thursday.
Chatham (5-2) scored the final nine points of the second quarter and then began a charge to the basket in the third quarter - led by Camryn Davies - that turned into a 23-2 run and a 46-16 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Davies scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the third period.
"We have a tendency to settle for the jump shot and (Gaba) always tells us to drive," Davies said. "Today, we really took that to heart and kept going to the basket and it worked out for us. Today, we really saw what we can do when we move the ball quick and not just stand there."
Camryn Davies talks about the halftime pep talk coach Joe Gaba gave the team
A basket by Christina Richson had tied the score at 14-14 for Summit (2-4) midway through the second quarter. But the Lady Cougars closed out the half with a 9-0 streak taht made it 23-14 at the break. Junior Veronica Kelly, who ended with 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots, got the run started with a turnaround jumper and then banked in a shot off a pass from Liz Ford.
That set the stage for Davies, who drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 54 seconds left and then drove the lane to score with 3.7 seconds left. Including those five points and the 11 she scored in the third quarter, Davies hit for all 16 of her points in a span of about eight minutes.
"When we came into the locker room, (Gaba) told us to put them away in the third quarter and I think we got really excited and pumped to do it," Davies said. "We had really good ball movement and basically took them out of the game right from the start."
The third quarter started with a basket inside by Kelly. Davies made a steal and passed to Chloe Blanc, who finished the fast-break layup. Davies then scored on an offensive rebound before Grace Keegan interrupted with the only basket of the quarter for Summit.
Davies countered with a hard drive for left-handed layup and Kelly continued the onslaught by sinking a shot off a pass from Davies. Blanc and Michaela Ford each dribbled in for baskets of their own before Davies drained a 3-pointer.
Liz Ford hit two free throws before Davies capped off the whirlwind attack with two fast-break layups for a 30-point advantage.
"Once we got rolling, we got some transition baskets," Gaba said. "Cam (Davies) had a great drive to the basket. She caught it and ripped through the lane and then she hit a kick-out three. Once the momentum started going, it continued to go.
"The beauty of our team and the beauty of our offense is that it truly is and can be a different kid. I told them in the offense that they are their first option. We need to create 2-on-1 situations. The offense is designed to get everyone involved."
Lost in all the scoring was the defense Michael Ford played on Richson, Summit's dangerous 3-point threat. Richson was limited to six points and did not make a 3-pointer.
"Michaela has turned into a pretty good lock-down defender," Gaba said. "We wanted to make sure we limited the amount of touches she had."
Chloe Blanc finishes off a fast-break layup off a feed from Camryn Davies in the third quarter
Camryn Davies scored two of her 11 points in the third quarter on this put-back
Chatham travels to play Morristown, 7 p.m. Tuesday