Chatham may have had a height advantage when their girls took the court against the Jefferson Lady Falcons in the Morris County Tournament final game on Friday night. But they didn’t have Sammy Lapszynski. She was the weapon the Falcons needed to defeat Chatham 57-40 to take home the county title, their first ever.
Lapszynski scored 12 points in the first half of the contest, on her way to a 28-point night and the tournament MVP award. But it wasn’t quite enough to assure the Falcons an easy evening. Jefferson gave up a 25-15 lead near the end of the first half, and went into halftime up by only one point at 25-24.
“I told the girls at halftime that we still had 16 minutes left to play, and they had to make good decisions and watch our passes,” said Jefferson head coach Jim O’Connor.
The Falcons heeded O’Connor’s advice, never relinquishing the lead throughout the second half.
“We were happy to be able to play against Chatham. They are a very good team,” O’Connor said. “It just feels great. The first one is sweet.”
The Lady Falcons went to the quarter-finals of the tournament two years ago and the semi-finals last year.
“We just wanted to win this game,” Lapszynski said. “We knew we had come too far to not win.
“I didn’t know for sure that we were going to win until about the last 30 seconds,” she continued. “I wasn’t looking at the score, then suddenly I looked up and people were smiling, and I looked at the scoreboard.”
Lapszynski also said she was honored to receive the MVP award.
“There were so many great players in this tournament, and this award really could have gone to so many other girls. I’m very honored to have won it.”