The Cottage School JV Cougars emerged victorious in a game for the ages on Friday afternoon, defeating Center Academy 33-32 and clinching the top seed in the upcoming AAC playoffs. In a game that was tight throughout, the Cougars displayed their will to win in the final minutes.
The first quarter started slowly as both teams struggled to score in the opening minutes. Eventually, Conner Hogue connected on two jump shots, and Will Conroy chipped in a layup. TCS 7 – 6 Center after 1.
The defensive struggle continued into the second quarter as well. Austin Schwartz, Colton Parks, and Nick Daugherty were crucial to the Cougars’ defensive effort, and Kyle Kimble and Dalton Lantz each made a layup. TCS 12 – 14 Center at the half.
Center found their offensive rhythm in the 3rd quarter and opened up a 6 point lead. TCS continued their steady offensive pace and contributions from Seth Goldberg, Toby Nwokedi, and Alex Hogg kept the game within reach. TCS 19 – 24 Center after 3.
The final quarter was the most intense and emotional of the season for the Cougars. Showing tremendous heart, TCS closed the Center lead to just a single point with a minute remaining. Tenacious defense from Conner Hogue and Alex Hogg then lead to a breakaway layup to give the Cougars a 1 point advantage. In the true back and forth nature of the game, Center answered immediately, scoring and retaking the lead, 32-31. Not to be outdone, though, Dalton Lantz made 2 enormous plays to help secure the Cougars’ victory. On the defensive end, he rotated to stop a drive and took a charge. Then, with the game on the line, he grabbed an offensive rebound and knocked down a short jump shot with less than 10 seconds remaining to put the Cougars up for good. Center’s final attempt was off the mark, and the Cougar bench poured onto the court to celebrate!
The Cougars’ focus now turns to the playoffs. All of the upcoming games will be played at the Cougar Center, with the semifinal matches on Feb 5 and the Championship on Feb 7. Game times and matchups to be announced soon.