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Cosby splits with Knoxville Ambassadors and GCA

Cosby junior Sarah Conard fights for possession of the basketball with Ashley Jackson of the Knoxville Ambassadors in Thursday’s victory. Conard scored nine points in the win.
Published: 5:57 PM, 12/08/2013 Last updated: 6:01 PM, 12/08/2013

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

KNOXVILLE—The opening day of the annual Grace Christian Academy Invitational produced a pair of close contests for both Cosby High School teams.

The Lady Eagles, after leading by double-digits for most of the game, had to hold on to stave off a late run by the Knoxville Ambassadors to take a 45-39 win.

Meanwhile the Eagles had to fight to tie the game both at the end of regulation and at the end of overtime before falling 70-65 in double overtime to the Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors are a team comprised of home-schooled athletes from the Knoxville area.

Lady Eagles hold on

In a game where their offense struggled to post points, the Cosby Lady Eagles were able to hold on down the stretch over a dangerous Lady Ambassadors squad.

High off their upset win over Oneida High School on Tuesday, the Lady Ambassadors played tight with Cosby for a half, trailing 21-18 at the intermission, closing the second quarter on a 10-3 run over the final six minutes. The Knoxville Ambassadors used a 47-point night from Ashley Jackson in their Tuesday win over Oneida, who earlier in the year topped Cosby 66-62.

The Lady Eagles (5-3) got off to a hot start in the third quarter, as they worked to reestablish their double-digit lead over the Lady Ambassadors.

Dessie Shaffer and Bethanie Williams hit back-to-back three-point baskets to go up by seven points in the first 90 seconds of the second half. The duo, which each scored 11 points in the game, hit two more three-point shots in the quarter, which gave the Lady Eagles a 36-26 edge at the end of the period.

Williams was 3-of-6 on three-pointers, which was part of a 6-of-14 night from long range for the Lady Eagles.

Despite the momentum gained by Cosby, the Lady Ambassadors were able to mount a rally over the final stages of the game. Trailing by 11 after Williams got a steal and score with 3:28 to play, the Lady Ambassadors used a 6-2 run to trim the lead.

Missed free-throws, turnovers and fouls by the Lady Eagles allowed their opponents to creep back into the game. The Lady Ambassadors however would only get as close as the final margin down the stretch.

Lexiey Williams led the Lady Eagles with 12 points in the game, while junior forward Sarah Conard scored nine. Brooke Schreder also had two points in the win.

Eagles rally, but unable to win

The woes for the shorthanded Cosby Eagles (3-6) continued on Thursday evening. Despite rallying from late three-point deficits late in regulation and in overtime, the Eagles were eventually overtaken by the Ambassadors in the second overtime.

Cosby held slim leads throughout the game, holding a 33-32 advantage at halftime and a 44-42 edge after three quarters.

However, the Ambassadors were able to score the first five points of the fourth period in a 45-second span to take the lead back from the Eagles. The two teams exchanged the lead four times and tied the game two other times in the final quarter.

Cosby trailed by three points with under two minutes to play, but Austin Ford nailed a basket with 1:43 to play to cut the lead to one and a steal with just over a minute remaining led to a Keenan Phillips three that gave Cosby a 56-54 lead.

The Ambassadors however rallied to tie the game and a shot by Kyal Clevenger, who was cleared to return to play earlier on Thursday from an ankle injury, was blocked just before time expired.

In the overtime period, the Eagles fell behind early and after missing on two three-pointers with a minute to play, they found themselves behind 62-59 with 26.9 left. However after missing a three-point shot and getting an offensive rebound, Bryson Valentine tied the game with a long range basket with four seconds to send the game into double overtime.

In the second extra period, the Ambassadors went up by four points early, which gave them the edge, as the Eagles were never able to catch up. Cosby missed a pair of free-throws in the final minute down two, but got a stop on defense to still have a chance to tie or win. However, the Ambassadors came away with a key steal and score with 20.9 left to take a four-point lead on their way to a win.

Up Next Cosby returned to action on Friday evening at the Grace Christian Invitational, playing the host school. The Lady Eagles were able to capture a big win over the Lady Rams, a Class A sectional team last season. Cosby won the game by a 54-41 margin. The Lady Eagles were led in scoring by Dessie Shaffer with 14 points, Bethanie Williams with 12 points and Lexiey Williams with 10.

The Eagles dropped a 79-54 decision to the Rams on Friday night.

The Eagles next play at Pigeon Forge on Tuesday night. Tipoff of varsity action against their rivals is slated for 6:30 p.m. 

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