Cougars edge Spirits

Katie Brickman
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Potential playoff match up in a few weeks

Leah Hundeby from the Caronport Cougars jumps up to block a shot from Amanda Miller from Vanier during senior girls basketball league action on Tuesday evening. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Vanier Spirits had two solid chances of getting the come-from-behind victory, but they just couldn’t close the gap against the Caronport Cougars.

With some of their key veteran players back in the line up, the Cougars were able to hold on for the 55-42 victory over the Spirits in senior girls basketball action on Tuesday evening.

“It was an entertaining basketball game and the girls worked really hard,” said Vanier’s coach Bob Gottselig.

The Spirits are a young team that seem to panic often, especially when double-teamed or when faced with a press defence.  The Cougars were able to take advantage of that and created turnovers and fast break chances throughout the match.

“Turnovers and rebounds are an issue with this team. Panic sets in and we turn the ball over,” said Gottselig.

The Cougars were able to outrebound the Spirits despite the difference in height that Vanier has in their post players.

“They have a bit of height on us, so we had to do a better job of boxing out. If we didn’t box out, they were getting inside shots,” said Caronport’s coach Leigh Wolverton.

These two teams faced each other just 14 days ago and the Spirits were able to squeak out a win against an injury-depleted Cougars team. Although they still lost the game, the team has grown.

“In December, we lost to this team twice more than 30 points and tonight (Tuesday) it was 13 points,” stated Gottselig. “We beat them last time, but they were missing some very important girls on their basketball team. So, that wasn’t a very fair measuring stick, but I’m sure they had everyone there that they wanted.”

The Spirits came within five points in the third quarter, but the Cougars pulled away. Vanier again pulled with five points late in the fourth quarter, but Caronport put their press back on and the Spirits couldn’t hit the basket.

“It was a five point game with less than five minutes left to go,” said Gottselig. “It became a 13-point game because they hit two shots and we had similar shots and missed them.”

The Cougars only like to bring the press out sparingly and when they have the proper lines out there, but Wolverton is happy that he has two lines and is able to utilize the press when needed.

“I am pleased that we are at the place where we can rotate because our team needed to make some improvements,” he said. “I try to use the press sparingly, but at the end, with the rotation, it allows us to have the energy and the legs. It is nice to pull that out when we need to.”

The Cougars will play two more regular season games and the Spirits have one more game left before these two teams could potentially meet again in the playoffs.

“I think it is almost a guarantee that’s who we are going to meet in the playoffs,” said Gottselig.

In other senior girls basketball action, Peacock defeated Assiniboia by a 95-43 score.

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