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Washuta, Defense Lift Chatham Over Par Hills in MCT First Round

By Ed Barmakian

Saturday, February 8, 2014 • 11:15pm

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham girls basketball coach Joe Gaba had his team watch the film of their 19-point loss to Parsippany Hills from 10 days ago.

In that game, Veronica Serkowska scored 24 points and her Parsippany Hills teammates drove to the basket at will.

"We watched on film (Friday) how much dribble penetration we gave them and just worked in practice about staying down," Gaba said. "We did a really good job of forcing them away from the rim."

Chatham stepped up its defense and Natalie Washuta led the way both offensively and defensively as the Lady Cougars posted a 42-32 victory over Parsippany Hills in the first round of the Morris County Tournament on Saturday.

Washuta did a great job covering the taller Serkowska, holding her to six points, and collected 10 points, five assists, four steals and seven rebounds for Chatham.

"Veronica had a great game against us," Gaba said. "She had 24 points and a lot of that came from dribble penetration and kick-outs. Veronica plays basically the guard position. It's not uncommon for us to put someone like Nattie on her to make her put the ball on the floor."

Chatham (10-6) held Parsippany Hills (10-8) to just seven points and one field goal in the second half. The Lady Cougars will meet Mount Olive in the second round of the MCT next weekend.

Chatham took control of the game late in the third quarter when Cassandra Falone (11 points) hit a 3-pointer and Emily Walczyk converted a fast-break layup off a pass from Liz Ford. That ignited an 11-2 run that carried over into the fourth quarter.

Falone sank a foul shot in the fourth quarter before Shea Matta contributed her only points by nailing a clutch 3-pointer.

"I told Colleen (Mulvaney) to look for Nattie because she was opposite, but she passed to me and I shot it," Matta said. "We played really great defense today and our zone ball movement was good, which was key."

Mulvaney followed Matta's three with a quick move to the basket that boosted the lead to 40-30 with 4:47 left.

"Shea hit a big three, Colleen had a great drop-step layup and Cass had a big three< Gaba said. "The fourth quarter was a lot of different  people contributing for us."

Cassandra Falone banks in a 3-pointer for Chatham below

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Olivia Diaz-Savedra scores inside for Chatham below

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