A goal of Trinity Lutheran girls basketball coach Mike Lang is to go 6-0 on the West Washington court this season.
The Cougars increased their lead throughout the second half to defeat West Washington 47-38 on Saturday for school’s fourth Class A girls basketball sectional title.
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Trinity (24-3) is 4-0 on the WW floor this season and will battle Loogootee at noon Saturday after Lanesville and Tecumseh play in the first game.
“It’s always a team effort,” Lang said. “There’s not one person that is more important than the other. The defense we had going out there was great tonight on their shooters. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The Cougars held the Senators to 10-for-43 shooting from the floor, while Trinity shot 16-for-40.
Kailene Cockerham had one of her best offensive games of the season as she scored the Cougars’ first five points for a 5-0 lead, and Sydney Jaynes followed with a basket for a 7-0 margin. Trinity led 9-3 at the end of the first period as the Senators didn’t score a basket until there were two seconds left in the period.
A free throw by Jaynes boosted the Cougars’ lead to 15-5 at 5:10 of the second before the Senators used 3-pointers by Sara Stice and Kassidy Keltner to tie the game at 15. The tie lasted only 17 seconds before a basket by Bailey Tabeling put the Cougars on top for good.
“We got a little stagnant when Hannah (Sabotin) got in foul trouble, and we sat her the whole second quarter,” Lang said. “We felt good going in with the lead at halftime. We just needed to keep aggressive going to the basket because they were going to call fouls, and we finally got (to the free throw line) in the fourth.”
The Cougars shot 12 free throws in the fourth period, but were only 13-for-23 for the night.
The Cougars led at the half despite just two points from leading scorer Tabeling and zero points from Sabotin.
Cockerham added another 3-pointer in the second period, and Emma Schepman had a basket in both the first and second periods and had three rebounds in the half.
The Cougars got into their regular offense going in the third period as Tabeling, Jaynes and Sabotin scored Trinity’s first three baskets of the quarter and combined for 13 of their team’s 15 points for a 34-24 lead at the end of the quarter.
Tabeling topped the Cougars with 16, Cockerham scored 12, Jaynes had nine, Sabotin six and Schepman four.
Senior starters Sabotin and Emma Goecker said the sectional is a special feeling.
Sabotin said cutting down the net is one of the best feelings.
“I got to cut it down my sophomore year,” she said. “It’s just such a good feeling knowing you won and you have something to remember it by. I wish we could cut the net down in volleyball. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Goecker said this sectional “is definitely more special because I’m more involved in the varsity side of it. The feeling is just incredible this year. I’m so proud of us. Our defense is incredible as long as we get a stop and we get a bucket on our next possession.”
Jaynes topped the Cougars with 12 rebounds while Sabotin had 11 to help Trinity hold a 33-21 advantage in that department.
“The basketball sectional feels amazing,” Jaynes said. “It feels so great to do it with this group of girls. They worked so hard, and I’m just so proud of them.
“The start was huge, but mostly, it was our defense throughout the whole game,” she continued. “We were up on them the whole time, and they didn’t know what to do. I’m so proud of both guards because they let them have it the worst. Emma Goecker, Kailene Cockerham and Bailey Tabeling are just so great, and Hannah worked hard down low, so our defense was really the game changer.”
Lang has coached Trinity to sectional titles in 2013, ’14, ’18 and this year.
Keltner was high scorer for the Senators with 11 points.