Cougars fall short of regional final to Loogootee



Trinity Lutheran junior Sydney Jaynes drove the lane and scored, tying the regional semifinal game against Loogootee at 38 just 48 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Then the Class A third-ranked Cougars went cold.

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Turning the ball over four times and missing two shots over their next six possessions, the Cougars allowed the top-ranked Lions to go on a 12-0 run to blow open the game. They were never able to recover, as the Lions roared to a 61-43 victory in the first game of the West Washington Regional.

Jaynes finally broke the Cougars’ scoring drought with a pair of free throws with three minutes to go. Yet, it was too little, too late, as the Lions outscored Trinity Lutheran 23-7 in the final period.

Prior to the final eight minutes, the game between two of the class’ top teams was neck and neck. Neither team could establish much of a lead, and if they had it, it didn’t last for long.

“I don’t think the score is indicative of how well we played and how competitive it was,” Trinity Lutheran coach Mike Lang said. “They move the ball extremely well, and we worked on that 1-3-1 trap all week. They still came out and got us at times. I just don’t think you can duplicate the pressure they put on you. Plus, I think the environment got to the kids a little bit, and we couldn’t hang onto the ball.”

Lang was especially disappointed in the result for his seniors, Emma Goecker and Hannah Sabotin, who he said worked tirelessly throughout the year.

Turnovers were the key stat in the game for the Cougars, especially in the fourth quarter.

They had six turnovers in the fourth and 15 for the game, while the Lions didn’t have any turnovers in the fourth period and six for the game.

Trinity Lutheran finishes the season with a record of 24-4, setting a season mark for wins. The 2017-18 team held the previous record, going 22-6.

“I’m proud of them,” Lang said. “We had the lead late in the third, and right at the end, we lose a shooter, and it seemed like the momentum went right out of the gym.”

Even if the season didn’t end the way they’d hoped, Lang still said it will be memorable.

“I hate it for the whole team because this isn’t the way we wanted the season to end,” he continued. “We lost to a great team today, and we had a great year.”

Jaynes topped the Cougars with 14 points, Bailey Tabeling scored 13 and Sabotin had 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds as the Cougars held a 23-15 advantage in that department.

Goecker, Kailene Cockerham and Emma Schepman rounded out the Trinity scoring with two points each.

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