CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls basketball team is now off to its best start to a season in seven years after its 55-33 win over Oak Knoll in the Cougar Classic on Saturday.
"I think it was 2012 the last time we were 5-0," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. "That's one of the hardest-working 20-point wins we've ever had. They made us work on every possession. It's good preparation. Watchung Hills (Monday's opponent) is going to be the same thing, they're going to make us work for every point."
Chatham (5-0) got off to a slow start on the offensive end, which was complicated by the fact that leading scorer Maddie Hartnett picked up two fouls in the opening period. But Gaba kept Harnett active in the offensive scheme, using her on offense and having Emma Frohnapfel sub in for her on defense.
"That's the earliest I've ever gone offense-defense with a kid," Gaba said.
Hartnett scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the first half when the Cougars moved to a 27-11 lead. Guard Tess Ford finished with 13 points for Chatham, which also got eight points each from Shannon Donohoe and Carly Frohnapfel and seven from Meja Jaegerskog.
"When teams try and take Maddie away, you see players like Tess start to step up, you see Shannon continue to step up," Gaba said. "Carly Froh broke out a little today and went to the glass and got some offensive rebounds and some easy buckets. When teams start to take Maddie away it opens up a lot of avenues for Shannon and Carly to hit the boards hard and get some opportunities."
Maddie Hartnett and Carly Frohnapfel talke about the win and being 5-0
Chatham did not score until there was 2:15 left in the first quarter, breaking the drought on freshman standout Jaegerskog's basket (see below) that she turned into a 3-point play.
The Cougars put the game away with a 12-point run in the third quarter that improved their advantage to 41-15. Donohoe ignited the streak with two free throws and Harnett converted a steal. Carly Frohnapfel then scored on the break off a pass from Ford and then connected with an offensive rebound (see below). Donohoe scored inside before Ford capped the burst with a bank shot off an in-bound pass (see below).
COUGAR NOTES: In its 5-0 start, Chatham is allowing an average of 28 points per game ... Chatham hit 15 of its 20 free throws in the game ... The 55 points were the most Chatham has scored in the young season ... Cougars take on Watchung Hills (3-0) in the finale of Cougar Classic, 6 p.m. Monday.