Thursday night was one of those times when the ball didn’t go through the hoop often enough for the Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team.
A jump shot by Maddie Bell gave the Cougars a 37-34 lead with 5:50 remaining before New Washington went on a 10-2 rally over the final 5:25 to leave the Bollinger Athletic Complex with a 44-39 win.
“I think tonight’s game was really lost on the offensive end, and us not executing our offense and knocking down some shots when we had some open looks,” Cougars Coach Mike Lang said.
This marked only the third time this season that the Cougars failed to score at least 40 points.
“Some nights the ball just doesn’t go in and the other team outworks you,” Lang said. “Hats off and credit to New Washington. They had a good game plan and they came out and executed it. They deserved to win because they worked harder than we did.”
A basket by Piper Acton with 2:30 remaining pulled the Cougars to within 42-39 but that closed the scoring for the home team.
The Mustangs made 4 of 7 shots from the floor in the fourth period with Madison Fields hitting 3s at 4:30 and 3:35 to put the visitors on top 42-37.
Lang said he was generally pleased with the defense.
“The couple times it broke down they ended up hitting 3s, and that really hurt us, but I don’t think our defense was bad overall,” he said.
The 44 points was only 6.5 points above Trinity’s defensive average for the season, while the 39 points is 14 below their offensive average.
Trinity made only 4 of 17 shots from the floor in the first half, including shooting just 1-for-7 in the second quarter.
“We really struggled in the first half getting into the sets that we wanted to be in, and quite honestly we didn’t run it, not one time,” Lang said.
“We talked about it in practice and we ran it well in practice, and we got out here to the game and I think our minds were moving a little bit too fast. What we wanted to do, we wanted to get the corner isolated with Abby (Hackman) and we just didn’t get it done tonight.”
Trinity held a 10-6 lead following a basket by Acton with 1:30 left in the first period and led 10-9 going into the second period.
Acton added a 3-pointer at 6:50 of the second period to give her team a 13-9 lead but the Cougars could only make six free throws the remainder of the half.
The Cougars improved their play in the third period by outscoring the Mustangs 14-9 to hold a 33-32 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Sydney Jaynes had two baskets, Hackman had two baskets and two free throws, and Jodi Goecker and Acton each had a bucket during that period.
Jaynes and Acton topped the Cougars with 10 points each, while Makynsie Barger led the Mustangs (10-8) with 13 points.
The Mustangs made six 3s to only one for Trinity. Trinity shot 12-for-20 at the line while New Washington made 4 of 5.
Jaynes had 10 rebounds to help the Cougars out-rebound the Mustangs 25-24.
Trinity (16-4) is schedule to host Brown County at noon Saturday.