Dateline – Buford, Ga: In a rematch of the instant classic December 10th overtime clash between the Sugar Hill and the Lady Cougars (won by TCS 37 – 32), Cottage paid a visit to “the Corral” in Buford. Although determined to start a new winning streak, the visitors knew that their formidable opponent would lie in ambush, but the Lady Cougars did not come with the intention of playing the role of the Clanton boys in this western style shoot out.
Senior Alex Nebel started the Cottage out on the right foot, as the quick draw duelist uncorked a couple of bang. . .bang jumpers in the early going. Unfortunately the restless Stallions did not allow the visitors to get comfortable in their new confines. Unleashing an effective pressure defense, and taking advantage of determined offensive rebounding, Sugar Hill retaliated with a mini-stampede of their own, nailing down a 12 – 4 edge at the as the first eight minutes expired. Although game to resume action, TCS found themselves continually wrong-footed: shots refused to fall, the Stallions continued to win the battle of the boards, and untimely lapses allowed Sugar Hill to extend their lead to a solid 19 points. Only determination on defense, and determined desperado drives by Galya Kysar and Alyssa Briggs prevented the game from turning into an all-out rout.
To continue the overlabored western theme, it sure looked as though the folks in “white hats” were both out-manned and out-gunned. Of course, everyone knows that in such dire circumstances, the cavalry will charge in for the rescue. In the frantic third quarter both teams upped their game, with TCS fighting for survival, and the Stallions bound and determined to salt the contest away. For Cottage the cavalry came in the form of greatly improved team rebounding, crisper offensive movement, and the hot hand of “Sherriff” Kysar who blazed her way to 6 third quarter points. When the dust settled, the Lady Cougars trimmed two points from the home team’s lead. The fourth quarter witnessed more of same as both squads went at it hammer and tong. With 1:34 left on the clock, Cottage freely substituted to give the starters a well-deserved rest. The Stallions edged out the “Battle of the Fourth” by a single point en route to their 42 – 27 win.
The visitors certainly enjoyed numbers for the first time in weeks. Lillian Travis, Reagan McMillin, Finley Love, Emmi Dillehay, and Celeste Jeoffroy constituted the reserve force. Travis and McMillin chipped in for backcourt duty. Travis hauled in a rebound, and the guard duo maintained the man pressure. Love same early action in the first quarter as she showed confidence taking the ball off the dribble against opponents blessed with both speed and “reach.” Jeoffroy and Dillehay spent the contest freely subbing in for post relief. Jeoffroy narrowly missed a power move, blocked a shot of her own, and gathered a rebound. Dillehay also found herself stymied on a couple of looks at the hoop, while also besting her opponents for 2 offensive rebounds, and wining a steal.
Ana Mills and Anika Helm contributed as the starting frontcourt tandem for the second consecutive game. Helm hit the boards hard, pulling down 5, and also harassing Stallions into 2 steals. Mills connected on a textbook “flash and finish” during the frantic third frame to tally 2 points. She also helped herself to 2 offensive caroms, and also stole 2 balls.
The bombardier, Alex Nebel, started her team out right with 4 quick first quarter points. She also snaked her way into the paint to lay claim to 4 rebounds, while also thieving 3 balls, and making an ESPN highlight reel quality blocked shot. For the second game in a row, Alyssa Briggs led her squad in rebounding, coming down with 11 (5 offensive), to go with her 9 points. . .all earned on foul shots or buckets from strong drives. She also stole the ball six times, and also dished out 2 assists. Galya Kysar provided punch in all facets of the game: coming away with 6 steals, 2 blocked shots, 1 assist, 8 rebounds (four on each end of the court), and a team high 12 points.