Austin held a 35-25 lead against Trinity Lutheran at halftime of Tuesday night’s girls basketball game.
Cougars coach Mike Lang drew up a play for his team in the locker room at halftime, since Trinity had possession of the ball at the start of the third quarter and Austin forced a turnover on that play, then went down and scored.
That started the Eagles on 12-0 run and onto a 62-48 win.
“It was a combination of things,” Lang said of what led to the 17-9 scoring margin in the third period for Austin.
“It’s a combination of us having some youth in the backcourt and not recognizing Austin’s 2-2-1 press. They guarded our corners pretty hard. We had a play set up coming out the first possession and the kids didn’t recognize (Austin’s defense). So that goes back to focus, and these are things we worked on in practice in our walkthrough. That was tough that we didn’t recognize and we kind of played right into their hands.”
Cougars Freshman Maddie Roark made a free throw with 3:48 on the clock to make it a 47-26 game.
The only Trinity field goals in the period were a pair of 3-pointers by Katelyn Wright which was followed by a basket by Roark, all in the final 1:30 as Austin held a 52-34 lead going into the fourth period.
The Cougars played without regulars Piper Acton and Hailley Peters, both of whom missed the game because of sickness.
“Not having Piper and Hailley had a big effect on our rotations, and then Sydney (Stuckwsich) picking up a couple of fouls, we dug deep into the bench tonight,” Lang said. “But, as I told the girls before the game ‘we are who we are, and you’ve got to believe in yourself and the system,’ and I thought the effort was good tonight. The first quarter was one of the best quarters of basketball we’ve played all year.”
Roark’s third basket of the game put the Cougars on top 10-5 with two minutes remaining in the first period.
Another Roark field goal of the quarter put the Cougars on top 12-8 before the Eagles scored the final five points to take a 13-12 lead.
A free throw by Angi Bergstedt left the Cougars trailing 20-16 midway through the second period before the Eagles increased their lead to 35-25 at the break.
Roark topped the Cougars in scoring with 19 points, while Bergstedt and Stuckwisch were high in rebounds with 6 each.
The Eagles (4-3) were led in scoring by Holli Reynolds with 24 points.
“I kept telling the girls, ‘Regardless of what the score is out here tonight, we’re going to play the game,’” Lang said. “If things aren’t going well on one end of the floor, we can always play the other end. If you give 100 percent, sooner or later good things are going to start happening, and I think they did. We came back at the end of the third and we played them even in the fourth. Outside of some mental lapses we were there tonight.”
The Cougars (2-6) will play host to Oldenburg Academy on Saturday night.