Dateline – Atlanta: The Lady Jaguars of Atlanta Jewish Academy snapped a four game losing streak to Cottage due to their decisive fourth quarter push. The first quarter of the contest set the tone, as neither team could find the formula to impose their will upon the game. Junior Ana Mills gave her team the early lead when she knocked down a jump shot to record the first points of the night. For the first five minutes the Lady Cougars managed to nurse a lead the spanned from one to four points. The Lady Jags capitalized on some turnovers and offensive rebounds to jump to a 10 – 6 lead at the close of the first eight minutes of play. Despite persistent trouble in running the offense with fluidity and efficiency, TCS managed to keep the margin close, and closed out the final minutes of the first half with a mini flurry of their own. The rally reached its crescendo when sophomore Alyssa Briggs forced the issue on a drive to the hoop, and drawing the foul with less than one second showing on the game clock. Draining one of her two free throws, Briggs helped the team to inch to within two points.
The third quarter witnessed yet another eight minutes of nip and tuck action, as neither team could generate any real degree of separation. The points for both sides were earned in a most grudging fashion as AJA netted 8, while the Lady Cougars scratched out 7. Despite the offensive challenges, the Lady Cougars spread the wealth with four different players getting into the scoring act. The hard fought points came in all manner of ways, from a Briggs three point bomb, to foul shots, conventional jump shorts, or fast break finishes. By the fourth stanza AJA’s advantage in depth against Cottage’s short bench finally caused the dam to burst. The Lady Jags poured in 11 points, while TCS retaliated with 3 points, all courtesy of Junior Celeste Jeoffroy. In the end the hometown Lady Jaguars outlasted their guests by a 37 – 26 score.
The TCS youth movement provided Cottage’s bench strength for the night. Eighth grader Hannah Katz logged playing time in both halves of play, spelling frontcourt starters, while freshman Finley Love checked in to spell the guards. Katz and Love both took some sound shots at the hoop. Love connected on a conventional jumper, and on a foul shot converted after being fouled while following an offensive rebound. Katz ran down a rebound and recovered two loose balls. Love added 3 rebounds (2 offensive) and 3 steals to her team’s efforts.
The frontcourt found themselves paired against AJA’s primary scoring threat. Senior Anika Helm sacrificed herself, picking up her fifth foul midway through the fourth quarter. For the game, Helm scored 2 points, hauled in 7 rebounds (3 offensive), and rejected 3 shots. Junior Celeste Jeoffroy scored 5 points, used her speed to gather two steals, while coming up with 6 rebounds (2 offensive).
Point forward Ana Mills leveraged a three, a foul shot, and a bucket to amass 6 points. She also blocked a shot, stole 4 balls, passed for an assist, and grabbed 7 rebounds (2 offensive).
Lilllian Travis and Alyssa Briggs held down backcourt duties for the game. Travis gained a steal, while also banging her way to 3 rebounds. Briggs led the squad in scoring with 10 points. Her eclectic stat line featured 4 steals, numerous deflections, 1 blocked shot, 2 assists, and 6 rebounds (2 offensive).
Next Tuesday the Lady Cougars return to campus for a little home cooking as they play host to the terriers of Lyndon Academy.