Dateline – Roswell, Ga. The Lady Cougars, knocked back on their heals from a pair of post-quarantine losses renewed their focus with a victory (and a first ever season sweep) against the Jaguars of Atlanta Jewish Academy.

The first quarter witnessed a new variation on an old zone theme, as TCS came out of chute with a new defensive scheme. The results did not manifest themselves immediately, as AJA largely avoided turnovers in their early possessions, and took full advantage of early looks to maintain a lead through much of the first four minutes. A commitment to distributing the ball across the court allowed five different Lady Cougars to hit pay dirt in the first, led by Alyssa Brigg’s straight away three pointer from the top of the arc, as well from a more conventional drive into the paint. At the end of the initial eight minutes, the home towners stood on top with a narrow 12 – 8 edge.

The second quarter took on the character of a country fair tractor pull held at the height of monsoon season. Each team seemed mired and unable to fluidly execute much on the offensive end, and in the moments when solid looks at the basket materialized, the ball invariably drew nothing but iron or glass. The new look defense did generate turnovers, and helped TCS extend their lead by two more points.

Dissatisfied with the pace of game, Cottage opted to spice things up during the halftime pow-wow. Reverting to a man defense, and picking up for full court, Cottage hoped that the amped up pressure would result in a flurry of turnovers and some quick baskets. The approach was just what the doctor ordered, as AJA ended up losing the dime to the pick-pockets of Roswell. The main beneficiary of the larceny turned out to be none other than Briggs, who bossed her way to 10 third quarter points, as her team outscored their guests 16 – 6.

Intent in not letting their lead slide, the Lady Cougars maintained their focus, even as new players and lineups entered the fray. In particular, Celeste Jeoffroy put on a defensive clinic as she continually ended up guarding the player tasked with bringing the ball up the court. Quick feet, active arms, and a determination to stay on point allowed Jeoffroy to continually disrupt and short circuit any attempt to initiate the offense. On the other end of the court, Galya Kysar swept the glass clean, and took over Brigg’s role as designated gunner, as she pumped in 6 points in the final frame.

In the end, TCS found themselves back on the winning track with a 46 – 27 victory.

GAME NOTES

Now back at nearly full strength, TCS enjoyed the luxury of a true bench. Middle Schoolers Finley Love, Hannah Katz, and Reagan McMillin all logged time in the backcourt. Katz logged her second blocked shot of the season, disciplining an uppity Lady Jaguar who took liberties with the ball a little too close to the TCS basket. McMillin deflected a pass, while Love knocked down a first quarter bucket, stole 4 balls, and followed shots for 3 offensive boards.

Two sophomores provided the balance of the Lady Cougar punch from the pine. Lillian Travis squeezed off three good looks, and also bounded in to collect a loose ball. Celeste Jeoffroy powered in a banker from deep in the post, hauled in a pair of ‘bounds, and gathered two steals. Most significantly, Jeoffroy jump started the second half defense as she marked up on her opponent with full court pressure. Although much more accustomed to action near the hoop, Jeoffroy marked up on the lady tasked with bringing the ball up the court, offering more on ball pressure than any coach could hope for.

For this match junior Anika Helm and usual super sub Ana Mills began the game holding down the post responsibilities. Helm mixed it up in the trenches, winning 6 rebounds (three on each side of the ledger), while also dishing a nifty assist. Mills scored in the first and last quarters supplementing those 4 points with 5 rebounds (including 4 offensive), a few deflections, and a steal.

Once again the starting backcourt delivered the offensive fireworks. Alex Nebel canned an early free throw (the first score of the night for the Lady Cougars), and piled in three more shorts for a total of 7. She also stepped into the passing game with an assist, while forcing 4 steals of her own. Galya Kysar connected on five shots: fast break finishes, and acrobatic field goals from the high post area, for a total of 10 points. Kysar also stood out as the game leading rebounder, cleaning the glass for 12 rebounds, including 8 from the offensive end. Her three blocked shots, three steals, and 2 assists further illustrated her worth to the team. Knowing that she previously lit up the Lady Jags with 22 points, Alyssa Briggs approached this game with all of the anticipation of a child awaiting a trip to the candy score. Briggs responded with a very loud 21 point effort, scored on everything from a three pointer, foul shots, fast break finishes, daring drives to the rim, and to standard jumpers. When not leading her offensive assault, Briggs stole 5 basketballs, handed out 3 assists, and fought her way to 8 rebounds (3 offensive).

The Lady Cougars take a trip to Sugar Hill Academy in Buford tomorrow!