Cougars fall in 4th quarter, but loss not without a fight


In a physical, high-energy, tight semifinals game against West Washington, Trinity Lutheran needed one solid run and a series of defensive stops in the fourth quarter to keep their season alive.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, it was the Senators who would come out on top, 51-40, in the waning minutes.

The Senators (19-6) bested the Cougars (6-18) by outscoring them 22-12 in the fourth quarter, punching a ticket to the championship game with Borden tonight for the Class A Sectional 61 title.

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In the first quarter, the Cougars’ offense sputtered as they accounted for just five points with one made field goal.

A free throw by Chad Stuckwisch and 3-pointer from Jacob Rowe halted a 5-0 opening run by the Senators with 4:58 on the clock.

Kendall White added a free throw for Trinity Lutheran before the Senators closed the quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 14-5.

The roles reversed in the second quarter, as the Cougars held the Senators to five points while tacking on 13 of their own.

The Cougars strung together six unanswered points, led by a 3-pointer from Skyler Stahl, to cut the deficit to 14-11 with 3:47 left in the first half.

Despite giving up an and-one to the Senators’ Noah Green, the Cougars outscored the Senators 7-2 in the final five minutes capped by a running hook shot in traffic by White.

At the break, the Senators maintained a 19-18 lead. They didn’t trail at any point in the first 16 minutes.

Stuckwisch buried a 3-pointer to give the Cougars their first lead at 21-19 with 6:59 in the third quarter.

Matt McKay took a charge for the Cougars at the 4:06-mark before Rowe got a 3-pointer to fall before adding another basket to put the Cougars up 28-27.

There would be just one basket in the final 2:11 in the third quarter, as the Senators led 29-28.

The Cougars wouldn’t lay down despite seven quick points by the Senators to start the fourth quarter.

Trinity Lutheran kept the game within six points in the first two minutes of the fourth until the Senators went on an 11-3 run from 5:48 to 1:28.

Down by nine with less than a minute left, the Cougars couldn’t make the comeback.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Cougars coach Brian Stuckwisch said. “They left it all on the floor and gave it 100 percent. (West Washington), yeah they’re better on paper but we had a lot of heart tonight and gave them a good scare.”

Wischmeier led the Cougars with 11 points and Rowe chipped-in 10. Peyton Walker topped the Senators with 23 points behind five made 3-pointers.

The rebound margin went to the Senators 29-26. Trinity had 17 turnovers to the Senators’ 19.

Wischmeier, McKay, Stuckwisch, White, Stahl and Sam Marksberry all graduate from the Cougars’ program.

“Those seniors mean a lot,” coach Stuckwisch said. “They promote the school very well and have good sportsmanship. I’m proud of the way they handled themselves in wins and losses this year. They’re a good group of young men that we will miss next year.”