Dateline: Roswell, Ga – In a re-match of the season opener, the Lady Saints of Johnson Ferry Baptist made a return trip to the Cougar Center. In a stunning reversal of the first match-up, the visitors found an offensive flow in the early going and piled on the points early, as evidenced by a 12 point first quarter, and an 11 point second quarter. Although TCS forced their fair share of turnovers, it seemed as though the offense could not slide out of low gear for the entirety of the first half. Seniors Shakirah Wazeerud-Din and Maria Knezek both ground out 4 points apiece in first half action to account for all of their team’s production.
Halftime provided the Lady Cougars with the opportunity to re-group and to re-tool. Extenuating the positive, TCS re-committed to applying their defensive pressure, and to taking the ball hard to the basket. The new found aggressiveness paid off as the hostesses seemed determined to write a storyline of their own – “A Tale of Two Halves.” During the final 16 minutes, Cottage generated turnovers, and outgunned their foes by seven points.
The third quarter in many ways proved the most entertaining. Cottage committed to the driving game, pumping in a total of 9 points. During this eight minute run, Knezek and fellow guard Alyssa Briggs put on their Batman and Robin act. Knezek electrified the crowd as she completed an “and one” in heavy traffic. The “Thief of Roswell” struck a second time in similar fashion, but without the benefit of the foul call. Briggs also forced the issue, scoring on two drives that began at the top of the key, and ending with contested shots near the block.
Having narrowed the once commanding Lady Saints advantage to nine points, Cottage retaliated in the fourth quarter by returning Wazeerud-Din to action. The senior center responded with 4 more points down the stretch. Briggs again attacked the basket in another kamikaze style blitz through the paint, inspiring an Alex Nebel re-creation just moments later.
When the dust settled, the Lady Saints came away with a 33 – 25 win.
The Lady Cougars take their show on the road for the first time this semester, as they will ride to Millner to face GISA region power St. George’s Episcopal Academy. This exciting match-up will mark the first time in school history that the two squads will take to the hardwoods against each other.
The Cottage trio of centers all shared post duties this evening. Sharkirah Wazeerud-Din matched her season high of 8 hard fought points, all from deep in the paint. The veteran center also matched her season high of 14 rebounds, including an astonishing 10 grabbed from the offensive end. The “Wizard of Waz” also chalked up 3 steals and 3 blocked shots. Tracy Li and Leighton Braglia spelled relief from the bench. Braglia helped to close out first half action by chasing down a rebound, while Li grabbed 3 carooms from both ends of the court. Li did not connect on her two shot attempts, but she did step int the passing lane to nab a steal.
A variety of players stepped in to provide support for the backcourt. Finley Love stepped in for a spell in both the first half, and in the third quarter. Maxine Moore also logged time in the first half, helping to maintain Cottage’s defensive pressure. In the wild and wooly third quarter of play, Hannah Katz and Lillian Travis both stepped into the fray, running the court effectively. Eleanor Gaffneystone performed the same function during the furious fourth frame.
A set of players filled the swingman role, alternating between post and perimeter responsibilities. Ana Mills again gained the starting nod fighting her way to 3 rebounds, disrupting the Saints with 3 steals, and handing out an assist. Sophomore Emmi Dillehay ran down two rebounds, claimed a steal, and provided a physical boost for the Cougar attack. Alex Nebel did squeeze off a Stangelovian harpoon late in the game, but entered the scoring column with an old fashioned, devil may care, drive to the basket. Nebel also forced 2 steals and grabbed one board from each end of the court.
Emma Altermatt stepped up into the offensive flow by firing up two shots. She also snuck her way in to lay claim to an offensive rebound. Alyssa Briggs checked in with an intriguing, and balanced stat line. On the rebounding side of the ledger, Briggs bossed her way to 8 rebounds (5 offensive), 6 points, 4 steals, and 3 assists. Fellow backcourt mate Maria Knezek led the way for her team by scoring 9 points. She also threaded the needle to pick up an astute assist, while also hauling in 4 offensive ‘bounds, and stealing a game high 6 thefts.