On Thursday and Friday night The Cottage School Cougars played host to region foe, Fulton Science Academy then followed with conference rival, Mill Springs Academy. As Coach Richie Briggs stated after dropping three games in a row, practice was the most important component to get back on track. Coach Briggs spoke after the wins, “Time to shoot, work on our offense, but most importantly the boys were able to bond while at practice. Suroy and I knew this was what we needed and it showed. We have not reached our potential, but are back on track.” Cottage used the valuable Wednesday practice time to their advantage, producing over fifty points. TCS is known for their defense, often holding teams below the half century mark. When they score over fifty it most often results in wins. On Thursday, the Cougars beat FSA (GISA region 5AA) 52-38 and came right back the next night with a 56-26 AAC victory over MSA.
The Fulton Science Academy Mustangs have similar size and talent to TCS. Offensive execution was imperative for the Cougars to have confidence throughout. Cottage had a brilliant opening quarter, scoring 14 points but despite a strong defensive effort the Mustangs were able to match with 12 points. In the second frame, the TCS defensive effort did not go to waste wearing down the Fulton Science guards. Cottage held FSA to just four second period points and took a 26-16 edge at intermission.
Coach Briggs made a comment during the break, “We make one more strong stand like that quarter, this game will be over before the start of the fourth.” The Cougars followed suit with their best offensive frame of the night. Cottage went on a 15-6 run and held a commanding 41-22 lead at period’s end.
The Mustangs made a valiant effort for a comeback and did not quit. With just over three minutes remaining, FSA cut the TCS lead to twelve points; 47-35. After a Cottage timeout, they were able to stop the Mustang momentum and finished FSA off with the 52-38 win.
Aidan Briggs recorded another double-double with 17 points and 10 boards and had another night with just one turnover.
Kyle Kimble had his best performance on the court since the AAC championship game back last February. He put in 14 points and snagged 4 rebounds.
Alex Hogg, along with Briggs, shut down the paint. He led his team with 14 rebounds and added 9 points, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Andrew Dorsey put in all six of his points in the fourth quarter to finish off the Mustangs.
The Cougars’ strong performance carried over to Friday where they defeated the green Mustangs of Mill Springs, 56-26. The Cottage Senior Night is a big one that celebrates all the seniors at TCS. Because of Covid, it has been postponed to a hopeful outside home soccer game sometime in April. As tradition, TCS still wanted to honor their seniors as planned. Coach Suroy Henderson and Richie Briggs started all three; Javier Cremer, Nick Smith, and Ruslan van Kesteren (who has not suited up all season but has been on the roster in hopes of making a return-what a night did he have).
The contest could not have begun any better for the Cougars. On Mill Springs’ very first possession, Javier Cremer steals the ball followed by a pick and roll with Aidan and Alex. Briggs feeds Hogg with a timely bounce pass that opened up Alex for a two handed jam! Mill Springs and Cottage duked it out evenly to finish the frame with a slim TCS 9-8 lead. Identical to Thursday’s game, Cottage cranked up the intensity level on defense in period two. The Cougars held the Mustangs to just two points as they took a commanding 30-10 halftime advantage.
Cottage continued excellent team play extending their lead to 45-17 after three periods and the end result was never in question. The most important part of tonight’s game was to honor the seniors and hope they played well. The Cougars were unselfish and tried to get each player scoring opportunities. All but two scored, but they did have every chance. TCS went on to win 56-26 and as a result will host the AAC Championship on 2/11 at 6:30 PM, taking the #1 seed. The TCS girls won on a forfeit loss so both championship games will be at TCS on 2/11. The girls will play first at 5:00PM.
The Cougars are now 10-5. They are 2-0 in AAC (no other team played because of Covid but MSA) and 2-2 in GISA R5AA. Cougars still have two games versus Furtah Prep before the region tournament is seeded. Cottage will travel all next week, starting with their first game at Cross Keys at 5:30PM on Tuesday night. No fans are allowed so tune in live on Facebook.
As stated above, senior Ruslan van Kesteren has not played a game yet and what does he do on Senior Night? Ruslan led the team with 11 points (knocking down 3-6 three pointers) while grabbing 6 boards, stole 4 balls, and dished out 2 assists.
Nick Smith has not scored all year…until now! The team jumped for joy as he put in a slashing layup from a pass from Briggs. Smith also snagged 3 rebounds and had an assist and a steal.
Javier Cremer misfired on all his shots but still played well. He pulled down a rebound and had a career high; 3 steals.
Aidan Briggs set the tone on both ends of the floor. His efforts almost earned a triple-double. He finished with 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 8 points, and 4 steals.
Alex Hogg finished with 9 points, 7 boards, 4 steals, and 3 blocked shots.
Kyle Kimble also scored 9 points and added 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Blake Lackey corralled 6 boards, had 4 steals, and put in 6 points.
Andrew Dorsey put in 8 points and had 7 rebounds.