Dateline Roswell. Ga. – In Tuesday night basketball action the Lady Warriors of the storied Oak Mountain basketball program made the trek to the Cougar Center. In the three seasons since their last encounter, Oak Mountain continues to set the standard for their GISA region, earning playoff berths and typically advancing deep into the annual tournament. Unfortunately the visitors quickly put aside aspirations of a “David” style upset against the Oak Mountain “Goliath” as they executed their rebounding and defensive game plans to near perfection.
The first stanza of play featured scrappy play by the home town team. Several short circuited fast beak attempts and some clever steals combined to keep Oak Mountain from operating at anywhere near peak efficiency. The Lady Warriors did grind out 12 points in the period, on the strength of five field goals with a pair of free throws. Although freshman Anna Mills got to the foul line, the hoops gods conspired to keep her shots out of the rim, but fellow substitute Alex Nebel did connect on one of her patented three point splashes from a foot behind the arc. At the close of the first eight minutes, OMA held a 12 – 3 lead.
The Lady Warriors defense took it up a another notch in the second frame. The best TCS forays occurred on fouls drawn in the act of shooting. A hard drive from Maria Knezek, and an emphatic power move by Shakirah Wazeerud-Din both earned trips to the line. However, the tight rims continued to deny the Lady Cougars any additional points. A commitment to fast break basketball helped Oak Mountain to overcome their offensive log jam, granting them a degree of separation from their hosts, as they extended their advantage to a 32 -3 edge at the halftime respite.
In the second half, defensive adjustments allowed Cottage to put the breaks on the Oak Mountain fast break, as TCS only surrendered 11 second half points. The third quarter finally broke the TCS offensive draught as Knezek banged her way to a leaner to finish off a steal, and as Alyssa Briggs canned two shots from the charity stripe.
The game ended with a 43 – 7 Oak Mountain victory. The Lady Cougars have two days to break free from their Halloween induced coma, in order to face their first conference foe of the young season. One and all are cordially invited to the Cougar Center Friday afternoon as the Lady Cougars tip it off against the Mustangs of Mills Spring Academy.
Shakirah Wazeerud-Din, sophomore Tracy Li, and freshman Leighton Braglia all combined to serve as the “three headed” center for TCS on this evening. Wazeerud-Din earned a trip to the line, banged her way to a couple of sound looks from the low post. She also fought her way to three rebounds, while also blocking two shots in a most emphatic fashion. Li also patrolled the boards, corralling 3 defensive, and 1 offensive rebound, while also recording her first blocked shot of the young season. Braglia also held down the fort on the blocks while claiming 2 rebounds for herself: one on each side of the court.
The first three players off the bench demonstrated suburb versatility as all put in time on the perimeter and on the post. Anna Mills forced the issue on a power drive, earning two shots from the charity stripe. She also gathered 4 defensive rebounds, and spent an uncharacteristic amount of time near the hoop, as opposed to her accustomed position on the wings. Emmi Dillehay found herself somewhat hobbled by injury, but demonstrated a commitment to transition defense, while also coming up with some loose balls, to add extra possessions for her team. Alex Nebel led in team in scoring on the strength of her first period three point harpoon. She also snaked her way in to nab 2 offensive boards while also getting in on the Cougar’s “block party,” when she rejected a fast breaking forward’s layup attempt, defending her basket in a most athletic fashion.
The Lady Cougars received a great deal of help from their bench in the form of backcourt relief. Seventh grader Finley Love saw action in both halves, and scooped up a rebound for her stat line. Similarly, sixth grader Malia Richards logged minutes in both the second and fourth quarters. She helped to bring the ball up the court. Maxine Moore saw time in the frantic second period as she inserted some defensive savvy into the mix. Another middle school addition, Eleanor Gaffneystone keyed her team in the second half. Freshman Lillian Travis checked in for her longest stint of the first three games, demonstrating offensive heads up play, while getting back on defense.
Freshman Emma Altermatt received her starting nod and helped to lock down the paint. Natalia Hoeve came back from the injured reserve list to gain a steal as she provided consistent perimeter defense throughout the night. Alyssa Briggs often drew double team pressure from the experienced Oak Mountain players. Despite the tough pressure, Briggs managed to force the issue on offense, generating penetration into the lane on more than a few occasions. Along with her 2 points, Briggs thieved the ball twice, and also led her team with 5 defensive rebounds. Maria Knezek also chipped in 2 points, while gaining a game high 9 steals, and also leading her team with a game high 6 rebounds (2 offensive).