Chatham's Natalie Washuta looks for an imbounds play during Monday's game against Mountain Lakes. Credits: Tim LeCras
Chatham and Mountain Lakes fight for a loose ball in the fourh quarter of the Lakers win on Monday. Credits: Tim LeCras
Chatham head coach Joe Gaba watches the final seconds of the Cougars loss to Mountain Lakes on Monday. Credits: Tim LeCras
Chatham's Late Comeback Falls Short Against Mountain Lakes
Monday, February 4, 2013 • 11:34pm
CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls' varsity basketball team fell just short in Monday's 35-31 loss to conference foe Mountain Lakes.
The Cougars overcame an eight-point first half deficit, as well as a six-point second half disadvantage, but could not find the bottom of the net in the final minutes.
"Mountain Lakes is 13-4 now," Chatham head coach Joe Gaba said. "They're a great team, they play great, and they're one of the few teams to held us in the low 30s. They did a good job taking Kendall [Davies] out of the game. They did a great job of taking Grace [Conroy] out of the game. We just couldn't get some baskets at the end."
Chatham found themselves trailing 26-20 with five minutes to play in the game. With strong defensive pressure on Davies and Conroy, the Lakers left Jean DeBiasse free to shoot, and shoot she did.
DeBiasse hit back-to-back corner 3-pointers to tie the game with 3:55 to play.
"That was poor coaching on my part," Mountain Lakes head coach Bill Nieman said. "I knew in the scouting report that she's capable I was just hoping that because she hadn't shot in a while, she wouldn't be that hot. I thought wrong."
The Lakers took the game's momentum right back two minutes later when Sarah Bozzo converted on a layup from the right block while being fouled. Bozzo hit the ensuing free throw to give Mountain Lakes the lead for good.
Bozzo, along with fellow forward Caroline Wilson dominated the paint, scoring at will on the Cougar defense. The two "bigs" for 19 points in the game.
"That's our strength, our two forwards," Nieman said. "They do a great job getting in position. Once they get the ball, they knew they're going to take it to the rim."
Chatham never came within a point for the rest of the game.
Despite getting baskets from Davies and Conroy in the final minutes, the Lakers hit all six free throws they received in the final 58 seconds to seal the win.
"We knew it was going to be a battle because [Chatham head coach Joe Gaba] runs a very good program," Nieman said. "They are a very well-coached team. We knew we'd have to play our best to be in the game with them."
Chatham returns to the floor on Saturday when they face Randolph in the quarterfinals of the Morris County Tournament.