The gift of giving was in the air, which is generally a benevolent gesture, but isn’t conducive to winning basketball.
The Panthers made the proper adjustment in the second quarter.
Two picturesque reverse layups by Madison Chatman sent Platt on a surge that ended with a 44-24 victory over the visiting Warhawks in an interdivisional CCC clash at the Henry Zaleski Gym.
“We began playing like a team,” Platt coach Tina Gonyea said about the reversal. “We’ve only had 12 days of practice and so have they. We’re all in the same boat.”
Turnovers punctuated the first quarter, a common problem in season openers. Bloomfield got a baseline jumper from Jayanna Whitt (team-high 8 points) to take the early lead and the Panthers went five minutes before Martha Chatman scored on a short jumper.
A nifty inbounds pass from Julia Misner to Kiara Lopez gave Platt a lead, but Bloomfield’s buzzer-beater by Jalah Turner left the contest tied like a Christmas ribbon.
“Having Kiara back is a wonderful thing,” Gonyea said about her center who opted to leave the team last winter.
Lopez was hindered by foul trouble Monday, but showed signs of becoming a major presence in the low post.
Madison Chatman (game-high 13 points, 8 rebounds) promptly changed the tone with her confident play. The defense stiffened, holding Bloomfield without a field goal. Martha Chatman scored in transition. Freshman Elizabeth Franco came off the bench to deliver an inbounds pass to the cutting Misner for two more.
Platt held a 21-14 at the break.
“I told them after the tipoff that I was glad they were nervous — better nervous than cocky,” Gonyea said. “I like nervous. I’m always nervous. Once you get a few times up and down the court, you’re okay.”
With confidence soaring, the Panthers continued to thrive in the third quarter. The mistakes diminished, teamwork improved and there was no looking back. Madison Chatman began with a bunny. Misner (11 points, 4 assists) sliced in for a layup and Martha Chatman (5 steals, 7 points) converted in transition off her older sister’s rebound.
The glowing stretch ended with Misner feeding Madison for two points and a 31-16 lead. The Panthers led 34-18 with eight minutes to go.
Two assists and a hoop by Misner enabled Platt to increase the lead as the fourth quarter elapsed.
“Julia will do anything I ask her to do,” Gonyea said. “If I need her to play the point or the post, she’ll do it.”
The news also broke that last year’s leading scorer Jayleena Gordils, who had transferred to Capital Prep, is back at Platt and eligible to play immediately, according to sources in the Panthers’ athletic department. CIAC regulations state that because Gordils played soccer this fall, she will serve her 10-game suspension during the 2018-19 fall campaign.
“We’re going to make it a positive thing,” Gonyea said. “I hope and pray that it all works out.”