The Cottage School JV Cougars came minutes away from earning their first victory of the season on Friday. They ultimately came up short, as AAC conference rivals Howard emerged with a thrilling 33-26 win.

The Cougars started slowly on Friday, in what is becoming a troubling trend. The Hawks sprinted out to a 10-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter, and they pressed their lead to 14-1 by the middle of the second quarter. The Cougars finally scored their first field goal of the game after roughly 11 minutes of action. Towards the end of the half, Nate Dunbar drained a long 3 point shot, giving the Cougars hope heading into halftime. Howard led 14-6 at the half.

The Cougar offense awakened in the second half. Liam Walsh, Grant Osgood, and Dustin Bartolome-Behrens each contributed multiple scores. Matthew Placide was unstoppable in the paint as he fought for rebounds and played impressive help defense. Ben Gardner was all over the court and seemed to corral every loose ball. As the Cougars turned up the defensive pressure, Reese Silverman, Andrew Marriott, and Michael Coryer all provided integral time off the bench. Hunter Cool, Javier Cremer, and Alex Yager battled in the paint at both ends of the court and secured several crucial rebounds.

As the Cougars attempted to mount a comeback in the 4th quarter, the Cougar center roared to life. The Cougars’ full court defense gave the Hawks fits throughout the second half, but the Hawks managed to conjure just enough composure to escape with a win. The Cougars are once again disappointed by the result but encouraged by their performance. They are eagerly anticipating the next matchup with Howard in Midtown.