Dateline: Clarkston, Ga. Thursday evening the Lady Cougars and Lady Panthers of Atlanta Area School renewed their conference rivalry. Last season, the two squads clashed three times, with TCS coming away with two victories. In each of the three contests, the issue was not settled until the final minute of the match.
Against this competitive backdrop, the Panthers threw the kitchen sink at the visitors in a first quarter barrage. Feeding off of a 1 – 3- – 1 press, and the killer instinct of veteran All Star Tatiana Malone, ASD put up 10 quick points. Senior Julia Baumohl finally ended the scoring drought by connecting on a short jumper of her own. When the dust settled, ASD held a 12 – 2 advantage, and seem poised to run the visitors out of their gym.
After a quick breather between quarters, the Lady Cougars bounced back. While offensively nothing came easily, Cottage upped their defensive game, putting the leash on Malone, and holding her team to a mere 4 points over the eight minute frame. During that quarter Baumohl scored another field goal, while postmate Brandy Michelle Finnell added a bucket and a free throw of her own. The halftime score revealed a narrowing gap, as ASD nursed a nine point advantage.
The second half began with the two teams sparring against one another on even terms, but a third period three pointer by Malone seemed to turn the tide in favor of ASD. More timely conversions by AAS , coupled with and a long dry spell for the Cougars allowed the lead to reach 20 points., en route to a 42 – 19 decision. “This game clearly revealed a number of areas where we need to improve,” Commented Coach Cutchin, “however, in the second half we looked so much better on pushing the ball around in our half-court set. Showing patience, and reversing the ball stood out as a key goal for us this week. Our shooting percentage betrayed our newfound patience on the offensive end, but we proved to ourselves that we can execute this in a game situation. Building on this success will set us up for our next engagements.”
Natalia Hoeve nabbed starting guard duties for the second time this season. In the third quarter Hoeve knocked down a jumper to record her first points of the season.
Post players Julia Bamohl, Brandy Michelle Finnell, and Tracy Li combined forces to blunt the AAS frontcourt. Baumohl grabbed 2 rebounds, handed out 2 assists, made two steals, swatted back 2 blocked shots, and scored 4 points. Finnell carried the scoring load for her teammates, as she rang up a career high 11 points. Finnell also hit the boards for 11 rebounds, dished for an assist, and gained a steal. Li mixed it up with the redwoods in the paint, hit the hardwoods in pursuit of two loose balls, and broke free in some halfcourt and inbounding sets.
Emily Daugherty continues to make her case as sixth woman of the year with another big performance off the bench. Daugherty scored 2 points on a banker, snaked her way in for 10 rebounds (an eye popping 7 of them plucked off the offensive glass), while also knocking the ball loose for 3 steals, and recording 1 assist
Analin Merchant, Maxine Moore, and Findley Love also provided relief off the bench. Merchant .handled inbounding duties, and the perimeter assignment in the zone. Moore took on wing responsibilities, while Love closed out the match as the point guard. Love gained a steal and a rebound during her foray.
Maria Knezek and Natalie Yager held down guard duty, and faced the unenviable task of trying to put the breaks on the hard driving Malone. Knezek led the game with 6 steals, hauled in a rebound, and was credited with 2 assists. Yager played a hardnosed game, as evidenced by her 11 rebounds (6 offensive), 4 steals, 1 blocked shot, and 1 assist.