Dateliune – Roswell, Ga: A little “home cooking” helped the Lady Cougars to rebound from their road woes, as they outlasted Atlanta Area School by a score of 44 – 26. The game marked the first AAC game of 2021-2022 campaign, and the first basketball match between the two programs since the Covid pandemic erased the last season for the Lady Panthers.
Although the final score indicated free and easy offense, the game began with all of the fluidity of trench warfare circa 1915. Nearly three and a half minutes elapsed before TCS broke the ice with bucket. After that initial score, the Lady Cougars began to heat up as they poured in eight more points, anchored by two three-point harpoons nailed by Ana Mills. At the close of first quarter action, the scoreboard revealed that the home town heroines built a proud 10 – 2 advantage. During the second stanza the offensive bug proved contagious as the Lady Panthers piled on 9 points of their own. Despite cutting the lead to four points, the Lady Cougars responded with a late rally to push their advantage to eleven points at the half. Mills served as the main scoring threat, singeing the nets for eight of her team’s twelve points.
Atlanta Area School attempted to right the ship in the third by keying their defense on Mills. In a sense the strategy worked, as Mills did not pump in any third quarter points. However, others stepped up as Anika Helm, Alyssa Briggs, and Celeste Jeoffroy all got into the scoring act, principally by taking care of business on the offensive glass, and by receiving timely feeds from the guards. The lead stood at eleven as the match entered into the final quarter. The foul situation began to play against the Panthers as star offensive player Lexi Strothers fouled out, and as a re-energized Mills again made her presence felt with some authoritative drives to the basket, nailing 10 fourth frame points to put the game entirely out of reach. The Lady Cougars earned an early season share of the Atlanta Athletic Conference lead with a rousing 44 – 26 final score.
Hannah Katz, Finley Love, and new comer Julia McCauley served as the reserve force on this evening. Katz squeezed off a couple of sound shots on the goal, consistently disrupted the Panther ball handlers, while gaining a steal, and deflecting a pass. Love earned a couple of steals of her own, while banging her way to 5 rebounds (1 offensive) and two points. Freshman Julia McCauley answered the call in the fourth quarter by cutting to the foul line, receiving a pass from Briggs, squaring to the basket, and nailing a jumper to put an exclamation point on the proceedings.
Staring guards Lillian Travis and Alyssa Briggs helped to set the defensive tone early. Travis recorded a career high 3 offensive rebounds, while also serving as a defensive disruptor on the visiting guards. Briggs assumed the role of the Artful Dodger, sneaking her way to a game high 8 steals. She also handed out three assists, nabbed 6 rebounds (3 offensive), and nailed down 6 points.
Anika Helm and Celeste Jeoffroy again chipped in with stalwart efforts in the paint. Jeoffroy ended up with 9 carooms (3 offensive), to go along with 3 steals, and 4 points from deep in the post. Helm also operated for 6 low post points, while also gathering 8 rebounds (3 offensive), along with a steal, and yet another emphatic blocked shot.
Junior Ana Mills turned in a career game, and on the very night that she took on a new position. With her offensive game clicking on all cylinders, Mills used the three point homerun shot, daring drives to the bucket, foul shots, and mid range jumpers to account for 24 of the Lady Cougars’ points. She also claimed 4 steals, passed for an assist, and asserted herself for 11 rebounds (4 offensive) to round out an eye-popping stat line.
The Ladies extend their mini home stand Friday afternoon when they play hostess to the Covenant Christian Rams of Cumming.