Rahway's Quick Start Knocks Chatham Girls out of State Basketball Tournament

Freshman Hannah Kelly drives the lane for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Veronica Kelly scored a game-high 22 points for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Michaela Ford drives to the basket for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Shannon Donohue grabs a rebounds for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Olivia Mathern makes a pass for Chatham vs, Rahway Credits: Ron Frary
Camryn Davies heads to the basket for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Michelle Connolly makes the steal for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Michelle Connolly goes in the layup for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary
Senior guard Liz Ford hits a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter for Chatham Credits: Ron Frary

CHATHAM, NJ - It's hard to believe that a four-point game was lost in the first quarter, but that was the way Chatham coach Joe Gaba saw his team's 55-51 loss to Rahway in the opening round of the NJSIAA girls basketball state tournament on Tuesday.

"We paid the price of giving up 22 points in the first quarter," Gaba said. "You can't give up 22 points, that's the bottom line. You can have poor shooting nights, but you can never have a bad defensive night."

During a timeout in the first quarter, Gaba pleaded with his team to play with some urgency, warning them that the end of the season was staring them in the face. 

Sign Up for E-News

"I think for a state tournament game, I thought our lack of intensity in the first quarter was kind of atypical of teams that I normally coach," Gaba said. "They did show a lot of heart in that second half of trying to overcome that by putting in a lot of effort in to get it down to two points. That shows the kind of character those kids have."

Samirah Henderson finished with 21 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals in sparking Rahway (15-11), which moved to a 22-9 lead in the first quarter and held a 30-20 advantage at the half.

Junior Veronica Kelly scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half for Chatham (13-13) to keep the Lady Cougars in the game. Camryn Davies provided a sign of hope for Chatham with her 3-pointer from the top of the key that cut the deficit to 10.

In the third quarter, Veronica Kelly, a 6-1 forward, teamed up with her younger sister, Hannah, a freshman, combined to fuel a 13-7 surge that brought the Lady Cougars to within 37-33. Veronica Kelly scored six points and Hannah Kelly hit for five, including a 3-pointer, in that stretch. Michaela Ford's steal and drive to the basket for two points capped the burst for Chatham.

"We finally started playing with a sense of urgency in the second half," Gaba said.

Rahway built its lead back up to 44-33 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Lady Cougars were not done. Senior guard Liz Ford nailed two 3-pointers and Davies hit a basket and a 3-pointer to key a 14-5 run that was capped by Hannah Kelly's two foul shots, making it 49-47 Rahway with a minute to play. 

The last gasp was Michaela Ford's driving basket that sliced it to 51-49 with 37 seconds left. But Henderson scored again with 11.2 ticks showing for a 53-49 lead that Chatham could not overcome.

The loss was the fifth straight for Chatham, all coming after junior guard Chloe Blanc was lost for the season with a knee injury just two days before the Morris County Tournament quarterfinals. The 13 wins represented the fewest in a season during the 20-year Gaba era, dating back to his 13-10 team in his first season.

"Chloe kind of did everything for us; she handled the ball, she defended, she was able to score and she was able to get to the basket," Gaba said. "Just trying to find that piece that would pattern those qualities was impossible."

Veronica Kelly scores two of her game-high 22 points for Chatham 

Camryn Davies drains a 3-pointer for Chatham in the fourth quarter that cuts the deficit to five points


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cranford High Student Competes at U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier

June 20, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Cranford soon-to-be senior Johnny Bush took his shot to qualify for a USGA championship on Wednesday.

Bush shot a 6-over-par 76 (38-38) to finish in a five-way tie for 21st place in a U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier at the par 70, 6,558-yard Shackamaxon Country Club in nearby Scotch Plains.

65 golfers, including 54 from the Garden State, took a ...

June 22 Concert Moved Indoors Due to Weather Forecast

June 22, 2018

Due to the weather forecast, tonight’s concert originally located at Echo Lake Park is now MOVED INDOORS to the Main Stage of the Union County Performing Arts Center, at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway.

Come an enjoy an evening with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at this beautifully restored 1920's era former vaudeville hall. Concert begins at 7:30 sharp (sorry, no yoga ...

Shakespeare in the Park Returns to Union County, Sunday, July 8

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the return of Shakespeare in the Park this summer. The first performance will be presented on Sunday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Raymond Wood Bauer Promenade in Linden.

The Shrew Mechanicals Troupe from The Shakespeare Theatre of New jersey will present an hour long performance of “Powerful Trouble,” a stirring ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, September 22, 8:00 PM

Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway

SOLE Defined

Arts & Entertainment

Small Business Ownership vs. Entrepreneurship

Written by: Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column, Published on 6/18/2018

Tags: Business, Community, Crowdfunding, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Small Business

Source: So, which are you – a Small Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? We compare the similarities and differences between the two, so you can ...