Cougars fall flat in sectional finals


The opportunity for the Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team to repeat as sectional champions came to an end Saturday, as West Washington captured it first sectional trophy since 1999.

The Senators moved on top 18-7 in the first period and never gave up the lead in a 59-35 Class A Sectional 62 win.

Trinity coach Mike Lang said his team ran into a hot team.

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“(Coach) Darrin (Russell) had his team prepared,” Lang said. “West Washington was hands down the better team tonight. Losing is never any fun.”

The Cougars held a 5-4 lead following a free throw by Sydney Jaynes three minutes into the game.

The Senators went on a 14-2 run the remainder of the period to lead 18-7 at the end of the first stop.

After the Senators scored the first five points of the second period, Trinity scored seven straight points, and Savannah Harweger’s rebound basket at the 4:40 mark cut the difference to 20-14.

The Senators came back with a 7-0 run and held a 27-16 lead at the half.

Trinity shot 7-for-29 in the first half, while the Senators made 10 of 27 shots during that time.

Any hopes the Cougars had for a comeback went out the window the first two and a half minutes of the third period, as the Senators went on an 11-0 run to open a 38-16 lead.

Sara Stice scored eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, in the first two minutes of the period.

Jaynes made two free throws and Hannah Sabotin and Emma Schepman scored layups in the third, but the Cougars were outscored 23-6 in the quarter and trailed 50-22 entering the fourth. Trinity shot only 2-for-8 and had five turnovers in the third.

The Cougars (17-10) finished shooting 15-for-52.

“We wanted to attack, and we didn’t get a chance to get out there and attack as much as what we wanted to,” Lang said. “They spread us out. (Maddie) Bowsman hit some early shots, then we started losing track of their guards. We would help out, and they just kept burying the 3s.”

Stice finished with five 3s and topped all players with 19 points, Kassidy Keltner scored 15 and Bowsman scored eight pulled down 12 rebounds.

Harweger was the only Cougar to reach double figures in points with 11, and Sabotin scored eight to go along with the same number of rebounds.

Trinity had 12 turnovers. Some were caused by the Senators’ pressure defense.

“It was nothing we hadn’t seen all season. I don’t want to say the moment was too big, but we’ve just got to collect ourselves,” Lang said. “When the guards overplayed us, we wanted to go back door, and we didn’t get the back door. Next season starts tomorrow, and we’ve got to figure out what we want to do so we’re not feeling like we do right now.”

The Senators will take record of 17-9 into Saturday’s Springs Valley Regional and face Tecumseh. The other game matches Lanesville and Vincennes Rivet.