The Cottage School Cougars fell on the road at Brandon Hall on Wednesday by a final score of 58-18. The Cougars fell into an early hole and were unable to recover, but their second half effort was truly impressive.

Brandon Hall jumped out to an early lead against the Cougars. TCS turnovers and lapses in defensive focus allowed the Panthers to score a number of easy chances right around the basket. Though the Cougars played hard, their inability to protect the ball and stay with cutters was their undoing in the first quarter. Elijah Joiner provided an offensive spark with several aggressive drives to the basket. Matthew Placide and Alex Yager battled for rebounds and Grant Osgood and Ben Gardner provided ball movement on offense.

The Cougars were more focused defensively in the 2nd period, holding the Panthers to 11 points. Dustin Bartolome-Behrens, Bryce Dickerson, and Javier Cremer all provided great energy off the bench. Austin Schwartz, Nate Dunbar, and Andrew Marriott played smart help defense. Elijah Joiner continued to lead the way offensively, with Matthew Placide also chipping in 2 points after a strong drive to the rim. At halftime, the Cougars trailed 32-7.

The second half was a much more even affair. Liam Walsh scored 10 points and Dustin Bartolome-Behrens added a free throw. Reese Silverman and Hunter Cool were aggressive at both ends of the floor. The Cougars defensive pressure forced the Panthers into a number of turnovers, and the entire half was played at a fast pace. Ultimately, the Cougars were unable to recover from their early deficit and the Panthers emerged victorious.

The Cougars certainly showed signs of rust in their first game after the Thanksgiving break. Once they got up to the speed of the game, though, TCS was competitive and showed great spirit. The Cougars will look to bounce back against William & Reed next Tuesday.