CHATHAM, NJ - In case anyone was wondering if the Chatham girls basketball team was going to change its style this season, that was put to rest during the second and third quarters when the Cougars held Morristown to a total of six points.
The defense took Chatham to the Group 3 state final last season and that was a prominent part of the season-opening 40-20 win over Morristown on Friday night.
"That's how we're built," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. "We are always built defense first."
Senior guard Maddie Hartnett led all scorers with 14 points and junior guard Tess Ford hit for 11 points in pacing the offense for Chatham. Senior forward Shannon Donohoe scored all nine of her points in the first half for the Cougars, including the first seven points of the game for her team.
Tess Ford, Shannon Donohoe and Maddie Hartnett talk about opening win over Morristown
Chatham opened the third quarter with a 9-1 burst that increased the lead to 32-12. Ford opened the third with a 3-pointer (see video below), Carly Frohnapfel sank two free throws, and 6-1 freshman Meja Jaegerskog scored the first points of her varsity career when she scored inside off a pass from Donohoe (see video).
Hartnett capped the run for Chatham with a side jumper (see video below) that boosted the lead to 20 points with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
Donohoe sparked the offense in the first quarter for Chatham, scoring the first seven points of the season for her team, including two three-point plays (see videos below).
Hartnett scored seven points over the final three minutes of the first half, including the 3-pointer in the video below, to help give Chatham a 23-11 lead at the break.
When Chatham has Carly Frohnapfel (5-11), Donohoe (6-1) and Jaegerskog (6-1) on the floor at the same time, Gaba believes it will be a big advantage this season.
"We're going to be bigger than most teams when we roll out Carly, Shannon and Meja," Gaba said. "Having those three on the floor is going be a tough matchup for most teams. Meja can alter shots and she's a very good rebounder."
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham had two members of "Froh Nation" in the starting lineup with 5-9 senior Emma Frohnapfel and her 5-11 sophomore sister Carly Frohnapfel. The two combined to score just two points, but their value on defense was noticed by coach Gaba.
"Carly and Emma, what they give on the defensive end, you just can't ignore, especially in the way we want to play," Gaba said. "Emma's effort on the floor was great. She may not show up in the scorebook tonight, but her defense was tremendous."
Freshman Meja Jaegerskog entered the game with 1:49 left in the first quarter and quickly drew cheers when she cleared a rebound. The 6-1 forward scored four points and was a force on the defensive boards ... Donohoe scored the first seven points of the game for Chatham, including two three-point plays and had all nine of her points in the first half ... Chatham hit five 3-pointers (Ford 3, Hartnett 2) while allowing one to Morristown ... Cougars meet Old Tappan 11 a.m. Sunday in the Pascack Valley Invitational.