PARSIPPANY, NJ – Guard Amanda Bernsten surpassed Chatham alumni player Julia Berger’s school record of 1,475 points as she netted 19 points to raise her career total to 1,490 en route to a 39-27 Chatham win over Parsippany High School on Thursday night in Parsippany.
Setting the school’s all-time scoring record early in the game was probably not part of Chatham’s or Bernsten’s game plan, but that is exactly what happened as she netted the first six points of the game for her team.
Bernsten scored the first basket of the game off a layup when she was fouled going up by Parsippany’s Ashley Burroughs. She converted on the free throw, needing only two points to pass Berger. A few possessions later, Bernsten stepped back and nailed a three pointer from the right center side of the key, officially giving her the scoring record at the 3:10 mark of the first quarter with 1,477 points.
“It felt good," Bersten told TheAlternativePress.com after the game. "It was good to get it done in the beginning. It feels like a really big accomplishment so I was excited. Over the past four years, I’ve matured a lot and I’ve just started making better decisions on the court.”
And maybe it is just a coincidence, but the Parsippany High School gym has been a kind place to Bernsten as it is where she has set all her important personal records. She scored her first basket, her 1,000th point and now has broken the school’s scoring record here; away from her home court.
Chatham Head Coach Joe Gaba also had nothing but kind words and praise for Bernsten, citing that she may be the most special high school basketball player he has seen throughout his entire coaching career.
“She’s a kid who certainly deserves to get it," Gaba said. "It’s nice that our best player is our hardest-working player. She just works every day on playing the game. She’s just in the gym all the time. It couldn’t happen to a nicer kid. I’m just so happy for her and proud of her.”
“We knew when she was freshman that she was a special player. I don’t know if I ever thought in my wildest dreams that it would develop into this special, but we knew early on that she was going to be one of, if not our best player coming through the program,” Gaba added.
Speaking of being in the gym all the time, Bernsten puts in a lot more time practicing on her game than most other players. The Princeton- committed senior even had a full day of practice with her brother Jon, who plays for the Chatham varsity basketball boys’ team, and her father on Christmas Day.
“We have my church gym where my brother and I and my dad are able to go to a lot," Bernsten said. "So every opportunity I get I want to go in there. I want to work on my game as much as I can.”
Bernsten would finish the first half with 11 points, scoring all but three for Chatham who held a 14-8 lead over Parsippany at halftime.
Chatham would then go on a 16-6 run during a large portion of the third quarter and held a 30-18 advantage going into the final eight minutes of play.
Bernsten’s final points of the contest came on a three pointer at the beginning of the fourth, her fourth three ball of the game. She also had the final assist of the game on teammate Samantha Kennedy’s layup near the end of the fourth.
While it was a night to remember for Bernsten personally, Gaba knows that his leading scorer is a team player and is looking at the big picture; the fact that Chatham is now an impressive 8-0 on their season and still looking to improve on their play.
“It feels really good to be undefeated. We don’t want to focus on it too much. We just want to focus on each game individually and giving our best effort,” Bernsten said after the game.
“We have to continue to get better on offense. We have to execute better and really improve on our defensive rebounding,” Gaba added.
Chatham is next scheduled to play at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth’s on Monday Jan. 9 at a time to be announced.
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