CHATHAM, NJ - There was no need for an extensive strategy session for the Chatham girls basketball team at halftime of its game against Mendham on Saturday. When a team shoots 22 percent from the floor over two quarters, it's obvious what needs to be done.
"I told them to make a shot," Joe Gaba, Chatham coach, said. "I actually did tell them that. Mendham came to play, they did a good job with their 1-3-1 (zone) and they got a ton of deflections. They played really well."
Chatham, however, forced its will in the second half, finally breaking out of its offensive slump as Tess Ford, Maddie Hartnett and Shannon Donohoe started to shoot straight in the Cougars' 48-37 win over the Minutemen.
Ford ended with a team-high 14 points, which included four 3-pointers; Hartnett hit three 3-pointers in her 13-point effort and the 6-1 Donohoe collected 10 points and 10 rebounds for Chatham (9-2).
"In the second half, we did a little better job of attacking them after makes and misses," Gaba said. "There were a couple of times in transition where we just didn't let the defense get set and they lost Maddie twice in the corner, and they got Shannon on a low-high and that kind of gave us a little bit of separation."
Tess Ford and Maddie Hartnett talk about the turnaround in the second half
Mendham (3-5) took a 15-13 edge into the halftime break after the Cougars hit just four of 22 shots from the floor and two of its four free throws. Chatham opened the second half with a 6-2 burst as Ford nailed a 3-pointer, Carly Frohnapfel drove the baseline for two points (see video below) and Hartnett followed her own miss for a putback basket.
Donohoe's layup off a pass from Hartnet with 27 seconds left in the third quarter set the stage for a 22-point outburst in the final quarter for Chatham. In the final quarter, Ford and Harnett hit two 3-pointers apiece in a stretch of four straight 3-pointers for Chatham (see videos below).
"Everyone knows Maddie, Maddie, Maddie when it comes to hitting the 3-pointer, but when both Tess and Maddie are on, we're really hard to guard," Gaba said. "Tess had a monster game today. With Tess on and Maddie on, Shannon got some open looks and that really gave us some separation."
Donohoe scored off a pass from Meja Jaegerskog (see video below) and turned it into a three-point play when she was fouled, boosting the Chatham lead to 42-29 with 3:10 to go.
Chatham plays a 7 p.m. game at Morristown on Friday.