Dateline-Roswell, Ga: As the regular season draws to a close, the Lady Cougars looked to close out the books on conference rival Mill Springs Academy, in hopes of sweeping the two game set. Fresh from a Friday victory in Alpharetta, the Lady Cougars opted to mix things up by going with a novel starting lineup and keeping a number of bench players in the game throughout the contest.
The first half started slowly for both teams, with Cottage employing suffocating defense and a modest rebounding edge to keep the Mustangs at bay, despite slogging their way to only 3 first quarter points. The green and white clad visitors staged a mini-stampede of their own in the next frame, and they rallied with two straight buckets to claim a slender lead. While the offensive remained elusive, 8th grader Hannah Katz and veteran Alyssa Briggs combined for six points to push their team ahead by 4 points at the half.
Flummoxed by their lack of firepower, the Lady Cougars resolved to increase the tempo and efficiency of their attack. The results, a twelve-point third quarter barrage that finally achieved the needed separation from the persistent visitors. While holding MSA to a grand total of 6 second half points, Cottage pumped in another 7 during the last quarter to salt the match away.
Usual starters Ana Mills and Alyssa Briggs found themselves deployed as reserves for this contest. Mills drew a foul as she stormed to the basket, earning herself a free throw in the process. The point forward also grabbed a team high 6 rebounds, handed out an assist, and blocked a shot. Briggs scored in each quarter, totaling out 10 points for the game, to lead all scorers. She also forced a steal, claimed 3 rebounds, and was awarded an assist.
Forwards Julia McCauley and senior Galya Kysar rounded out the bench action for the evening. McCauley swung between guard and forward, as she chased down 2 rebounds, blocked 1 shot, and came up with 2 steals. Taking to the hardwoods for the first time this season, Kysar checked in for just under two minutes of game time late in the contest. In her limited time, Kysar scored 2 points (connecting on 1 of 2 shots) and grabbed 2 rebounds. Her arrival at the scorer’s table prompted a raucous response from the assembled Cougar Nation.
The dynamic duo of Celeste Jeoffroy and Anika Helm handled frontcourt duties. Helm banged her way to a low post bucket for 2 points, to supplement her 6 boards, 4 blocks, an assist, and 1 steal. Jeoffroy tallied two free throws to go along with 5 rebounds.
On this night Lillian Travis, Finley Love, and Hannah Katz gained the starting nod. Katz contributed her attentive and active defense, while also launching some solid mid-range jumpers. She netted 2 points and 2 rebounds to match. Travis also recorded 2 rebounds and demonstrated her speed with a couple of hard charging drives. Love assumed point guard responsibilities for most of the game. She forced 1 steal and grabbed 4 rebounds. In a contest where the offense never flowed easily, Love metaphorically loaded the team on her back during the critical third quarter when she torched the nets for 9 points. All points came from mid-range jump shots, save for one three point harpoon!