Chatham girls use patience to defeat Mount Olive in Morris County Tournament

Chatham girls use patience to defeat Mount Olive in Morris County Tournament

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Chatham girls use patience to defeat Mount Olive in Morris County Tournament

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DENVILLE

Patience was a virtue for Chatham in a 44-29 victory over Mount Olive in the quarterfinal round of the 40th Morris County Tournament at Morris Knolls.

Fourth-seeded Chatham will face No. 1 seed and defending champion Morris Catholic in Friday night’s semifinals at FDU-Florham. In the other semifinal matchup, No. 2 West Morris plays third-seeded Randolph. The trip to the semifinals will the seventh in the last eight seasons for Chatham.

Chatham (11-7), led by 15 points from Cassandra Falone, played at a deliberate pace to combat Mount Olive’s fast paced style. And a by product of the slower pace was some additional time for Chatham’s shooters, who connected on seven 3-point shots, to take aim.

“We really moved the ball well,” Falone, who hit three 3-pointers, said. “When we moved the ball, we got some good looks. Our coach said that if the shot is there on the first pass, it will be there on the fifth too. To have that extra time when we moved the ball really helped me with my shooting today.”

Ahead 14-9 at halftime, Chatham used a 15-8 advantage in the third quarter and established a 29-17 lead. Mount Olive (15-4) scored the first four points of the second half on a basket from Katie Murray and two free throws by Morgan Torstenson (10 points) to pull to within 14-13. Chatham closed out the quarter on a 15-4 run with 3-pointers from Shea Matta and Liz Ford, seven point from Falone and a bank shot by Emily Walczyk to open a 29-17 lead.

A layup from Sarah Wells (nine points) with 1:45 left in the game enabled Mount Olive to close to within 36-26. Chatham scored the game’s next eight points from the free throw line with two shots by Colleen Mulvaney and then Natalie Washuta (nine points) twice went to the free throw line and converted both ends of a one-and-one. Falone sank two free throws with 28 seconds remaining to give Chatham a 44-26 lead.

“We stuck to our game plan and that was to control the tempo,” Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. “Mount Olive likes to speed up the game and we wanted to take that away from them. We tried to have more than one pass per possession. By passing the ball around five, six and seven times, we controlled the tempo and we also had a lot of good spot ups for our shooters. We had great ball movement and our shooters were wide open.”

Defensively, Chatham’s man-to-man helped to contain Wells and Torstenson.

“Those two are great players and our scheme was to help a lot off screens and limit their points,” Gaba said. We did a great job of that today.”

Walczyk finished with seven points and Matta scored six for the Cougars.

“We knew that controlling the pace of the game would work in our favor,” Falone said. “To make it to FDU is a big deal for us. We’ve heard stories of how awesome it is to play there and we can’t wait.”

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