DENVILLE _ Chatham got off to a slow start but it didn't take very long for it to right itself.
Senior Camryn Davies’ three 3-pointers in the first half helped facilitate the Cougars’ rally en route to a 38-28 victory over Mendham in the quarterfinal round of the Morris County Tournament at Morris Knolls on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Third-seeded Chatham will face second-seeded Morris Catholic in the first game of a semifinal doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 at County College of Morris. Morris Catholic advanced with a 33-24 decision over 10th-seeded West Morris.
Sixth-seeded Mendham (11-11), playing without junior Joey Meyers, showed no signs of missing its top player when it opened with the game’s first eight points. A drive by freshman Anna Lasorsa, Jess Hall’s short jump shot and layup and Mackenzie Conroy’s rebound and layup 3:37 into the game gave Mendham the early advantage.
After a timeout to regroup after Conroy’s bucket, Chatham (16-6) was able to close out the first half on a 24-2 tear for a 24-10 lead.
"Playing here, at this gym and in the quarterfinals, we were a little nervous," Davies, who finished with nine points, said. “We didn’t start out very well but then we started moving the ball around, finding the open shot and playing better defense."
Senior Veronica Kelly, whose 10 points led the Cougars, started the rally with a layup with 2:36 left in the first quarter. Davies followed with a 3-pointer and Tess Ford closed out the quarter with a layup for her only two points of the game to get Chatham within one, 8-7.
Kelly’s score from close range 1:39 into the second quarter gave Chatham, winners of four in a row and 12 of its last 13, a lead it would never relinquish at 9-8.
"At that timeout, we just thought it was enough,” Davies said. "We knew that we had to settle down and play the way that we were capable of."
Davies 3 for 5 from the floor for Chatham and was also a factor on defense.
"Even though we were down 8-0, we played good defense and Mendham made some tough shots," Chatham coach Joe Gaba said. "Once we were able to score, we were OK. Camryn shot well and her 3-pointers were big for us, but she also had some big steals that helped turn things around.
"Playing in this environment in the county tournament, there’s a lot on the line and maybe the girls felt that pressure in the beginning of the game but they were able to settle down."
Sophomore Hannah Kelly finished with nine points for Chatham, Chloe Blanc and Michaela Ford delivered three apiece and Maddie Hartnett, a sophomore, scored two.
Hall led Mendham with nine points, Conroy had eight, Taylor Lasorsa scored seven and freshman Anna Lasorsa delivered four points.
Meyers, who injured her ankle in Mendham’s 43-29 loss to Chatham on Feb. 6, was averaging 18.1 points a game.
"Obviously, it’s a different game without Joey,” Mendham coach Mark Gnapp said. “But we played as hard as we could and I liked the effort. Getting out to that early lead was great but then we went so long without scoring and that really hurt us."
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