CHATHAM, NJ - When Chatham misfired on nine straight shots in the opening period, it only reinforced how good a defensive team the Cougars are.
The Chatham girls basketball team is known for its defense and Gov. Livingston was the latest opponent to discover that a cold shooting spell isn't going to rattle the Cougars one bit.
Chatham did miss nine straight shots in the first period but was buoyed by the play of senior Shannon Donohoe, who scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in the first half in sparking the Cougars past Gov. Livingston, 48-26 on Friday in the opening round of the Cougar Classic.
"We're going to come out and play halfcourt man-to-man defense and try and make you earn your points," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. "We had every open shot we wanted, they just weren't going in. Fortunately for us, our defense lets us weather that. Shannon had a huge game. A real good confidence booster for her. She came out and played and the shots went in."
On the defensive side, Gaba was just as impressed with guard Tess Ford, whose task it was to contain Skylar Dowling of Gov. Livingston. Dowling scored five of her team-high 12 points in the first half when Chatham moved to a 28-10 lead.
"Tess had a huge game," Gaba said. "This was one of Tess' best all-around games, shooting the ball, going to the basket, distributing the ball and finding open people. Obviously, her defense in the first half on Dowling was tremendous.
"Tess is kind of morphing into Chae (older sister Michaela Ford) as our lockdown defender. The last few games we played, she's really locked down the top player on the other team."
Shannon Donohoe and Tess Ford talk about Chatham win over Gov. Livingston
Chatham (4-0) put away the game in the third quarter. Ford opened the second half with a 3-pointer and followed with a drive to the basket (see the video below).
Maddie Hartnett (13 points) then put together a personal run of eight straight points, hitting two straight 3-pointers (see video below) and then sinking two free throws in staking Chatham to a 41-12 advantage.
Carly Frohnapfel's follow of her own miss (see video below) started the fourth quarter, handing the Cougars a 45-17 advantage.
Chatham meets Oak Knoll in the 6 p.m. game of the Cougar Classic on Saturday.