Dateline – Clarkston, Ga. The Lady Cougars began their regular season concluding road trip by wandering into the lair of the Atlanta Area School Lady Panthers riding a seven game winning streak. Playing the third consecutive game in as many days, finding the match delayed by 45 minutes due to a schedule mix up with the officials, and enduring I-285 traffic, the contest began with a strange, and potentially distracting vibe. The visiting Cougars started off somewhat slowly, but soon shook off the cobwebs to take care of business in claiming a 44 – 25 victory.
After the delayed tip off both sides exchanged a few stymied offensive forays before Finley Love scored on a steal and go. From there, senior Alyssa Briggs took over, scoring eight points on the strength of determined drives into a packed lane, and through a grab and go. ASD retaliated with their All Star center Booker’s two hoops scored deep in the paint. The second quarter presented a virtual carbon copy of the first sight minutes. This time sixth grader Grace Workman came off the bench to connect on consecutive layups, accounting for her team’s first four points. Briggs and Love both scored on offensive rebound put backs, and Briggs picked up another bucket on a power drive. Again, ASD struck back with two Booker post shots the two teams duplicated their first quarter scores.
After the half, the TCS press showed signs of wearing down their hostesses as a plethora of steals and turnovers allowed the Lady Cougars to light up the scoreboard with 17 points, while Moore again managed four points of her own. With the game now broken wide open, the visitors went with some rather unconventional personnel moves, such as checking All Star center Booker with seventh grade guard Bonnie Bolton-Hogg. ASD used determined offensive rebounding and more fluid offense to punch in 13 last quarter points, while TCS tossed in 7 more on the strength of a Love three pointer, a Workman bucket, and a Natalie Taylor banker.
Next week the Ladies travel to Atlanta Jewish Academy to play a final out of conference game, before going to The Howard School to close out the regular season in a contest fraught with tournament seeding implications.
Kendall Betzer, Malia Richards and Eleanor Gaffneystone anchored the frontcourt relief throughout the contest. Betzer had a couple of opportunities, and two free throws, but the basketball gods conspired against her efforts to break into the scoring column. Betzer did gain a rebound, grab a steal, and assist on a basket. Similarly, Richards’ patented rainbow jumper did not connect, but she corralled 2 rebounds (one from each end) and added her customary energy and defensive play. Gaffneystone applied defensive pressure, helped to tie up a loose ball, and patrolled the passing lanes.
Sara Tolchinsky and Grace Workman checked in to spell the guards and to maintain the frantic pace on defense. Tolchinsky mercilessly chased the ball handlers all game long. She scored four points on the receiving end of passes to finish fast breaks. She also recorded two steals and 2 rebounds (one offensive). Workman hit the 10 point plateau for the second time this week. She used open court layups, an offensive rebound, jumpers, and an exciting grab and go steal to account for those points. She also came up with 5 rebounds (1 offensive), an assist, and 3 steals.
Bonnie Bolton-Hogg gained the starting nod. Her most impressive play involved the frequent second half match up against Moore. Not ready to concede anything to her much taller and more experienced foe, Bolton-Hogg continued to land the defensive hammer on the Lady Panther’s best offensive weapon. Bolton-Hogg recorded a rebound, and an assist for her night’s work.
Natalie Taylor and Gabby Pressnall represented the other portion of the “Youth Movement” on display in the starting lineup. Taylor primarily bodied up against Moore, in what clearly stood out as a re-occurring defensive theme. Taylor banged her way to 3 rebounds (2 offensive), blocked one shot, helped herself to 3 steals, and also scored 2 points. Pressnall did not score in this contest, but often distributed the rock from the point position. She chased down an offensive rebound, threaded the needle for 2 assists, and picked the Lady Panthers for 5 steals.
Veterans Finley Love and Alyssa Briggs rounded out the starting lineup. Love chipped in 7 points, to go with 4 steals, 3 assists, and 6 rebounds (2 offensive). In her last game in the friendly confines of AAS, Briggs knocked down 21 points for the second time inside of twenty-four hours. The offensive fireworks did not overshadow her defensive play, where her 10 steals led all players. She also yanked down 5 rebounds (2 offensive).