CHATHAM, NJ - For most of the season, it's been "Maddie, Tess...and all the rest."
The Chatham girls basketball team has leaned heavily on the offensive talents of senior guard Maddie Hartnett and junior guard Tess Ford in its "defense-first" philosophy.
But with each step Chatham has taken toward its goal of winning a second straight state sectional crown, other Cougars have stepped in to lighten that load.
That was the case on Friday night when Hartnett, Ford and senior forward Shannon Donohoe all scored in double figures for the Cougars in their 44-27 win over West Morris in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state tournament semifinals.
Top-seeded Chatham (23-5) will try and defend its 2019 championship 7 p.m. Tuesday when it plays host to No. 2-seeded Warren Hills in the sectional final.
"It's important for us moving forward that we have everyone that can contribute," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. "To rely solely on Maddie it gets hard and teams will just start keying on her. So when we can spread it out and become diverse, we're much better."
Hartnett finished with a game-high 15 points, Ford scored 11 points and handed out four assists and the 6-1 Donohoe recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Tess Ford, Maddie Hartnett and Shannon Donohoe talk about the win
West Morris (13-15), which split two regular-season games vs. Chatham this season, took a 10-8 edge into the second period and led, 13-10, before Chatham closed out the first half with an 11-0 run.
Sophomore forward Carly Frohnapfel sparked the streak for the Cougars with a drive to the basket and freshman forward Meja Jaegerskog sank two free throws and followed with a baseline jumper. Hartnett then nailed a 3-pointer off a feed from Ford before Ford closed out the half with her drive to the basket (see video below).
West Morris closed its deficit to 21-19 at the start of the third quarter before Chatham regained control of the game with an 11-1 burst that put the Cougars in front, 32-20.
Ford hit a shot in the lane to ignite the spurt before Hartnett received a pass from Carly Frohnapfel, driving through the lane and scoring as she drew the foul (see below).
Hartnett hit the bonus free throw to complete the three-point play and Ford nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Donohoe then hit a foul shot before Hartnett culminated the run with a steal that she took to the rim for two points (see video below).
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham will be facing Warren Hills in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state championship game for the second straight year on Tuesday. Last season, Maddie Hartnett scored 15 points for Chatham in the 48-40 sectional championship win over Warren Hills ... Warren Hills defeated Mendham, 47-43, in its sectional semifinal on Friday ... Chatham's five losses have come against three teams this year and Friday night two of those opponents - West Morris and Montville - were eliminated from the Group 3 tournament. In two home wins vs. West Morris, the Cougars outscored the Wolfpack by a combined score of 104-52 ... Chatham nemesis Montville was knocked from its undefeated perch in the North 1 semifinals by Sparta, 62-47. Montville finishes at 27-1, which included three wins over Chatham this season. No. 3 seed Sparta (24-4) travels to meet top-seeded Ramapo (26-3) in the North 1 sectional final on Tuesday.