Cougars rout Hauser in season opener



It’d be reasonable to think the Class A No. 4 Trinity Lutheran Cougars might suffer from a slow start during their season opener against Hauser.

After all they’ve had just five practices with their full team with their top trio of players just getting back from their volleyball state runner-up season a weekend ago. In turn, the Jets were playing in their fifth game of the season and looking for their fourth win. 

Yet, it was the Cougars who looked like the team in mid-season form, getting started with a 19-0 run propelling them to a 77-41 win over the Jets. 

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Cougar coach Mike Lang explained he’s got a lot of talented kids suiting up this year and their raw ability allows them to take over games.

"We’ve got a lot of experience on the floor and a couple of kids that have played a lot of basketball," he said. "They’ve come out and let their talent and ability take over."

Those two kids were freshman Bailey Tabeling and junior Sydney Jaynes, who scored 58 of the Cougars’ total points against the Jets. Jaynes also pulled down 13 rebounds to start the season with a double-double.

Still, even with so much talent, Lang didn’t really expect his girls to be up 21-1 after a quarter, but knew his kids were ready to get started. 

"If you were in the locker room before the game, these kids were bouncing around," he said. "They were ready to go."

The trio of Jaynes, Tabeling and Hannah Sabotin handled all the scoring for the Cougars in the first half up until the final two minutes of play. Jaynes and Tableing had 16 and 17, respectively, while Sabotin had seven in the first 16 minutes.

Kailene Cockerham and Emma Goecker each drilled a 3-pointer towards the end of the second stanza, but most often the ball was in the hands of one of the Cougars’ top-three scorers.

Lang states he’s got more girls that can score, but when Tabeling, Jaynes or Sabotin have the hot hand, the ball is going to them. He did, however, say that Cockerham is going to be another option that develops for them as the season progresses. 

"Kailene is capable of scoring 10 [points] a game," Lang said. "She just wasn’t looking for her shot and she had some good looks that just didn’t go in in the first half. A lot of those are going to start going in for her and we just told her to keep taking her shot."

What makes the duo of Tabeling and Jaynes so hard to guard is their abilities to both get to the rim and spot up to knock down long jumpers.

If a Hauser player stepped up to face guard one of the two Trinity dynamos, she drove right around them. If they sagged off, she set her feet and knocked down a 3-pointer.

"I’m glad I’m not coaching against them," Lang joked.

Though it felt like the Cougars couldn’t miss on Saturday, any time they did the ball was picked up and put back in by Sabotin, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds. 

With her underneath the basket, it’s almost as if the Cougars are incapable of taking a bad shot because they know she’ll be there to give them another chance. 

"She’s a tireless worker down low and if it’s not falling in, we’ve got Hannah down there to clean it up," Lang said.

As well as Trinity Lutheran played against the Jets, Lang still found some things he wants his group to work on. They’ve got a lot of goals they want to accomplish this season and, to him, he needs his team to play the entire 32 minutes each night.

He noted his girls taking plays off towards the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth. He wasn’t at all happy and reminded them that if they want to go far into the tournament this year, they’ll need to play until the final whistle.

Trinity gets back to work on Tuesday hosting Jackson County rival Brownstown Central at 7:30 p.m. 

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Box Score” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Trinity Lutheran 77, Hauser 41

Trinity Lutheran;21;25;19;12–;77


Trinity Lutheran (1-0): Emma Goecker 1 0-0 3, Hannah Sabotin 4 3-4 11, Bailey Tabeling 13 3-4 31, Kailene Cockerham 1 0-0 3, Sydney Jaynes 10 5-7 27, Emma Schepman 1 0-0 2

3-point goals: Trinity Lutheran 6

Rebounds: Trinity Lutheran 39

Turnovers: Trinity Lutheran 16

Junior varsity

Hauser 37, Trinity Lutheran 18


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