Dateline-Roswell, Ga.: Coaches, players, and fans alike often describe a basketball contest as a series of draughts and surges. Friday’s return game from the HS quarantine served to affirm this maxim, as the Lady Cougars broke their quarantine enforced hiatus from the hardwoods to host a brand new opponent, Atlanta Classical Academy.
In the opening period of play, the visitors hit the accelerator first, relying on a fast breaking mentality to enforce their will upon the game. The Lady Cougars showed great success in holding ACA to next to nothing when able to contain the Lady Cavaliers in the half-court game, but insistent commitment to breaking up the court at every opportunity allowed them to pump in 11 early points. On their offensive end, the Cougars secured some early looks, but could not find a way to pull the lid off the basket. Two free throws by Junior Galya Kysar accounted for the only TCS points in the early going.
The next quarter witnessed an abrupt change, as the free and easy offense disappeared, and the affair settled into an attrition style defensive struggle. After sneaking in for a couple of buckets, Atlanta Classical found themselves limited to only one more bucket for the half. TCS retaliated with six points of their own, on the strength of a an Emmi Dillehay muscle move on an inbounds pass from Alyssa Briggs, a Kysar floater on an assist from Alex Nebel, and a strong drive by Briggs. The half closed with the visitors still boasting a nine point margin.
After the halftime break, the Lady Cougars shot out of the gate with a big run of their own. Cottage opened their offense into high gear on the strength of Kysar’s unrelenting assault on the rim. Checking in with 9 of her team’s 14 third quarter points, Cottage’s surge allowed them to close within two points as the buzzer ended the frame.
Just as the crowd adjusted to the new storyline, ACA wrested control, re-establishing their fast breaking offense as they piled on 17 last quarter points to salt the game away. At least for this evening, the cardiac kids of Cottage could not respond with their typical late game heroics.
Tomorrow afternoon the team hits the road for Cobb County in their first ever match up against Dominion Christian High School.
The continued middle school quarantine and some untimely absences made for a very shot bench for this game. Emmi Dillehay served as the sixth man, in order to provide some depth and punch. Dillehay saw playing time in all four quarters, responding with 6 rebounds (including 2 offensive), the previously mentioned bucket, 2 steals, and more floor burns than you can shake a stick at. Lillian Travis provided relief for the guards in second and fourth quarter action. She claimed an offensive rebound, and matched up in the man to man defense. Making a command performance in light of their diminished numbers, TCS cross country standout, swimming phenome, cheerleader, and former varsity Lady Cougar Bri Worrell made a return to the hardwoods to lend a hand. In an understandably difficult situation, Worrell needed to digest new offensive sets, and an entirely new defensive philosophy in about an hour’s time. Worrell spelled the front court, ran the floor effectively, muscled up on the ACA post threats, and pulled down an offensive board.
Celeste Jeoffroy and Anika Helm both anchored the starting post positons. Helm pushed her way to 4 boards (2 on each side of the court), along with 3 steals, and 2 emphatic blocked shots. Although she did not score, Jeoffroy mixed it up under the boards, deflected some passes, and deterred reckless drives into the lane.
On this night, the three backcourt players carried the scoring load. Alex Nebel nailed a deep three in the third quarter to pull her squad to within five points. Nebel also grabbed 4 rebounds, handed out 2 assists, and stepped into the passing lanes to thieve 8 balls. Alyssa Briggs suffered from a tough shooting night, but tossed in 5 points on drives to the hoop and a foul shot. She stepped into the passing game with 3 assists, gained 2 steals, and bossed her way to 8 rebounds (including 2 plucked from the offensive glass). Galya Kysar also experienced a cold shooting night, but somehow willed her way to a game high 16 points, tallied on a mix of foul shots, drives, fast break finishes, and medium rangers. Kysar also committed herself to the wiping the glass clean, as she hauled in 11 defensive and 6 offensive rebounds. If that was not enough, the junior guard also recorded an assist, blocked a shot, and forced 7 steals.