CHATHAM, NJ - The top two seeded teams for the upcoming Morris County Tournament met for the second time this season and Montville reconfirmed its No. 1 seeding with a 41-35 girls basketball win over No. 2 Chatham on Thursday night.
Half of the losses this season for Chatham (13-4) have come at the hands of the Mustangs (16-0), who moved up a spot in the NJ.com state rankings to No. 11 this week.
The difference between victory and defeat for Chatham appears to be its offense. When the Cougars score at least 40 points they stand 13-0. In games in which Chatham scores less than 40 points, it is 0-4.
"We had a lot of really good looks that we need to finish, and we need to hit our foul shots," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. "The game comes down to making shots.
"I'm not displeased with our defensive effort. We followed the defensive plan. They had a couple kids who hit shots that they normally don't, so you have to give them credit."
Montville placed three players in double figures, led by Emma Wax with 15 points, Dani Vito with 11 points and Bella Vito with 10.
Back-to-back 3-point baskets by Dani Vito and Wax staked Montville to its biggest lead of the game, 33-22, with 3:45 left in the third quarter. But Chatham put together a 10-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters, slicing the deficit to three points.
Freshman Meja Jaegerskog ignited the Chatham burst when she scored inside off a pass from Tess Ford. Jaegerskog then kicked the ball out to Carly Frohnapfel for a 3-pointer (see below).
In the fourth quarter, Shannon Donohoe scored off a feed from Maddie Hartnett (see below) and Ford drained a 3-pointer make it 35-32 game with 3:29 to play.
After Montville pushed its lead to 37-32, Hartnett's fourth 3-pointer of the game put Chatham to within two points, 37-35, with 1:27 to go.
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham dropped a 38-33 game at Montville on Jan. 8 ... the Mustangs hit 11 of 13 free throws on Thursday night compared to 5-of-8 shooting from the line by Chatham ... Shannon Donohoe fouled out for Chatham with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter ... Cougars play host to Hanover Park in the first round of the Morris County Tournament, 5 p.m. Saturday.