Cougars headed to city final

Katie
Katie Brickman
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A massive second quarter was the difference maker for the Caronport Cougars.

Diana Lumbala of Central goes in for a lay up but is fouled by Emilie Peters (1) and Leah Hundeby (11) from Caronport during senior girls high school playoff basketball action on Wednesday night. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

After a slow start — only scoring 12 points in the first quarter, the Cougars made some adjustments that helped them pull off the 82-65 victory over the Central Cyclones in senior girls high school playoff action.

“We came out with the press and the press didn’t work for us,” said Leigh Wolverton, head coach for Caronport. “We weren’t making good decisions so we had to pull out of it and figure out a what they were doing and what we could take away from them.”

That change was shutting down Central’s post players and forcing their guards to shoot or turn the ball over.

“Once the defence started working for us, the offence started working,” said Wolverton. “Diana (Lumbala) had scored 14 points in that first quarter, so we needed to make sure that she didn’t get the ball, so Leah (Hundeby) went on her.”

It was a disappointing week for the Cyclones, as they lost at their regional tournament and then this semifinal game, but the coaches are happy with how they came out in the first quarter.

“I think the positive in that we had a rough emotional weekend, so for them to come out flying like that is awesome and I was really proud of them executing their game plan,” said Jocelyn Wigmore, head coach for Central. “Caronport made some changes and we just didn’t react very well to that.”

It was that change on defence to shut down Lumbala, who scored14 points in the first quarter and finished with 19 points. That change seemed to also shut down the Cyclones.

“They took our easy pass away into the post and then we started forcing passes inside. We weren’t attacking from the perimeter and we stopped hitting our shots and they started hitting everything,” said Wigmore. “Once you get momentum and the crowd got in our heads, we couldn’t rally back.”

The Cougars gained confidence in their shooting other players jumped in for baskets.

“Once we realized that we could stop them on defence, we got more opportunities and more baskets and it snowballed,” said Wolverton.

This ends the basketball season for the Cyclones and they will have four athletes — Marissa Wilson, Hayley Henrickson, Paige Newans and Gabby Lorge — that will graduate from the program.

“We are very proud of what we accomplished this year. I think that is something to hang our heads high about,” said Wigmore. “It was a pleasure coaching these girls and it is just too bad that it is over.”

The Cougars will now focus on the league final against the undefeated Peacock Toilers.

“We have nothing to lose. It is now just being mentally prepared because we can play with them,” said Wolverton. “Peacock is going to be the toughest game for us down the stretch.”

Marissa Hartman has 19 points in the win for Caronport.

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