Dateline – Buford, Ga: The MS Cougars resumed their road schedule with a trip to North Gwinnett County to face the Stallions of Sugar Hill Christian Academy. Not only did this match represent the first hoops action for the MS Lady Cougars since Thanksgiving Recess, but the game broke new ground as no Cottage team ever clashed with this GAPPS member school before.
The Lady Stallions used offensive rebounding and jailhouse style defense to open an early lead. Their sixteen first frame outburst gave the home town squad confidence, and margin to play with. Despite some reasonable looks at the bucket, TCS could not buy a basket. Eighth grader Finley Love accounted for her squad’s first half output when she stripped a white jersey near the three point line, and outraced the stampeding Stallions to convert on a layup.
After a halftime pow-wow, the Lady Cougars put together an efficient second half. Over the last two quarters, TCS surrendered a total of 10 points, while retaliating with 8 of their own. Greater court awareness, finding the open player, and scrounging for loose balls and steals made for a much more competitive half of basketball.
The MS Ladies will take the experience earned on the road this night, and apply it to their first ever encounter with Atlanta Classical Academy at the Cougar Center on Wednesday afternoon.
The four MS teammates constituted 4/5 of the starting line-up. Addison Nowakowski made her starting debut, operating from the post. Nowakowski took responsibility for the high post in the zone scheme, and kept her hands up to obstruct the Stallion’s view of the rim, deflecting a couple of balls in the process. Reagan McMillin and Hannah Katz resumed their positions on the wings, where they helped to push the ball around, while providing defensive cover on the perimeter. Katz secured a rebound, as her sixth grade teammate recorded her career first assist on a deft fourth quarter pass Finely Love. Love handled the point, where she responded with 9 rebounds (3 from the offensive glass), 2 blocked shots, 5 steals, and 6 points.
To round out the roster, the coaching staff drafted two HS players. Lillian Travis assumed sixth man duties, seeing action as a guard, and a rare appearance in the post. Travis executed a textbook assist while also knocking a ball loose for a steal. Celeste Jeoffroy nailed the center position and served as the designated inbounder for most of the night. Jeoffroy added 6 rebounds to her team’s total. She also blocked a shot, stole 3 balls, and scored 4 points on the strength of a steal and breakaway layup, and from an offensive rebound put back during the third quarter.