Cougars top Lancers, advance to sectional final

CAMPBELLSBURG — Come tournament time, it doesn’t matter if a team draws a opponent it beat by 50 in the regular season, every group comes to play to win.

While there wasn’t an upset victory, Edinburgh gave Trinity Lutheran’s girls basketball team all it could handle Friday night. The Cougars, ranked No. 9 in Class A, used a big run in the fourth quarter to defeat Lancers 50-33 and advance to the Sectional 62 Championship at West Washington.

Trinity (20-5) will play the host school tonight for the team’s first sectional title since 2014 and its third overall in school history.

Both teams turned over the ball four times in the first four minutes, but the Cougars were able to open game to a quick 5-1 lead, with all their points coming from Abby Hackman, by the 3:18-mark. A 3-pointer by Piper Acton extended the lead to 8-2 before a pair of free throws by the Lancers’ Taylor Tatlock cut the lead to four. Back-to-back baskets by Sydney Jaynes and Savannah Harweger and another score from Hackman gave the Cougars a 14-6 advantage at the end of eight minutes.

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Edinburgh (9-14) was aggressive in the opening quarter, drawing four Trinity fouls, but hit just 4 of 8 free-throw attempts. The Lancers went on a 5-0 run to start the second quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from Destiney Ramey, to cut the deficit to 14-11 with 5:49 left in the half. The teams exchanged baskets down the stretch, and the Cougars would hold onto the lead at 22-17 at halftime.

At the break, Edinburgh had shot 4 of 12 from the free-throw line. Hackman accounted for 13 of Trinity’s points at the break.

Lancers coach Amy Schilling was pleased with her team’s defensive effort in the first half.

“We have really been working on blocking out and on different zones,” she said. “They had us on the height advantage in the post. We were just trying to body them up. I think my girls did a great job at that. Trinity did get some second shots, but I don’t think it was nearly as bad as the first time.”

Out of intermission, the Cougars scored five unanswered points before a pair of scores by the Lancers’ Destiney Ramey cut the deficit to 27-21 with 4:36 left in the third quarter. In the final two minutes of the period, Trinity went on a 6-0 run, behind four points by Hackman and a field goal by Acton, to lead 35-25 going into the final quarter.

From the 6:12 to 2:06-mark in the fourth quarter, the Cougars strung together 13 unanswered points to build the lead to 50-29. With the double-digit lead in hand, they worked the clock in its final ticks.

“In the fourth quarter, we couldn’t find the basket,” Schilling said. “We didn’t have great shooting tonight, and we stuck with them through three quarters. I think we tried rushing things too fast and pressing, which they broke. They’re a great, disciplined, team. My girls played hard, and I can’t fault anything they did.”

Hackman led Trinity with 24 points, and Harweger chipped in 12. Tatlock, Ramey and Sidney Beier led Edinburgh with seven points each.

The Cougars won the rebounding margin 30-22.

Lang said that tonight’s match up should prove a good one. The Senators, ranked No. 10 in Class A, beat Trinity 61-55 on Jan. 4.

“This place is going to be loud and packed,” Cougars coach Mike Lang said. “We need support, and that’s what I’m asking for. They’re going to see a great basketball game down here.”

The Lancers return 10 players from the roster next season, with seniors Vanessa McManaway and Mary Franklin graduating from the program.

“We will miss the seniors. They were good leaders,” Schilling said. “We have a lot of young players. Sometimes, we had two or three sophomores and juniors on the floor. It’s encouraging. I think it will give them confidence for next year.”