Cougars hold off Senators comeback

Trinity Lutheran High School’s girls basketball team edged West Washington in a 46-45 decision Thursday at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

It looked as though the Cougars would cruise to victory, as the team boasted a 43-33 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the game, but the Senators stormed back.

The visitors used a series of quick baskets, made free throws and a deep three pointer to bring the score within two with a minute left.

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The game ended when the Senators had the ball and found Maddie Bowsman alone under the basket.

She scored an easy lay up, but the Cougars inbounded the ball to Emma Schepman. Schepman held onto the ball for the remaining three seconds, sealing the victory for the Cougars.

The Senators are a potential Sectional 62 match up for the Cougars, and Coach Mike Lang said it helps getting a victory at this point in the season against the team.

“I think this helps out confidence,” he said following the game. “At this point, we do know we can beat them.”

Seeing his team let the Senators back in the game was frustrating, Lang said, and missed opportunities late from the free throw line hurt the team.

The team went 3-for-6 late in the game from Kailene Cockerham, Sydney Jaynes and Savannah Harweger. The team went 14-26 overall from the line.

“You’ve got to step up and make those free throws because no one is guarding you; you’re wide open,” Lang said.

The Cougars (12-5) were led by Jaynes, who scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds. Jaynes also contributed defensively, blocking the ball and recovering a few turnovers.

Harweger and Hannah Sabotin had 12 points in the contest, too.

Each team struggled to establish an offensive flow in the first part of the opening quarter. Each team had issues with ball handling, poor passing and turnovers.

Turnovers were an issue for the Cougars in the first half, giving the ball up 12 times to the Senators’ seven.

The offensive side of the game progressed for each team late in the first quarter, and quarter closed with each team tied at 11.

Sara Stice scored eight points for the Senators in the opening quarter.

The Senators scored quickly on a three pointer from Rian Russell. The Senators had an opportunity to add another quick basket, but missed two shots.

That’s when the Cougars turned up the pressure on the Senators, storming on a 9-0 run, bringing the score 20-14 in favor of Trinity.

That forced a time out by the Senators to regroup.

That stretch was led by Harweger, who made a short jumper from the base line and a three pointer from the right wing.

Jaynes added a basket, and Sabotin made two free throws during the run.

The Senators broke the run on two free throws from Bowsman at the 4:27-mark in the quarter.

Jaynes led the Cougars with nine points and six rebounds in the first half. Sabotin also had six points and six rebounds in the half.

The third quarter opened with the Senators make a free throw from Russell.

The Cougars answered back with a free throw from Harweger and 3-pointer from Cockerham to bring the score to 28-22 in favor of the Cougars.

The two teams exchanged baskets and went cold. In the first six minutes, the Cougars went 2-for-10 from the field, and Senators went 2-for-9.

The Cougars then managed to go up 33-26 and looked like they were going to build a larger lead, but the Senators forced two turnovers and scored another basket.

The quarter ended with the Cougars leading 33-28. The Cougars outscored the Senators 9-7 in the third quarter.

The Cougars struggle with turnovers, recording 25 during the game. Lang attributed that to the fact the two teams know each other so well.

“They know everything we’re going to run where it’s almost a mirror of playing ourselves,” Lang said. “Darrin (Russell) does a great job with them, and they almost know everything we’re going to run, so that always forces turnovers.”

It also can be attributed to the sectional rivalry the two have. Both faced each other in last year’s Sectional 62 championship, which was won by the Cougars 55-34.

“In a rivalry game, they’re going to play the full 32 minutes,” Lang said.